Boat sharing makes luxury sailing affordable

- There's a saying that the two happiest days of your life are the day you buy a boat and the day you sell it.

For many people, owning a boat is either financially out of reach, or just not worth it. If you're in either of these camps, how would you feel about sharing a boat instead? We set sail with a company selling that concept in Tampa Bay.

Leo Singleton tells us about SailTime, a boat sharing club for anyone who doesn't want to outright own one.  

"Right now we have two boats - this one right here, and one in downtown St. Pete," he told FOX 13.

It's different than joining a boat club where you get access to a fleet. Instead, a maximum of eight people shares one sailboat.

"They treat it like their own. They're gonna be back," says Singleton.

Not only can users buy into the boat-share to save money. It's also a way for the owners to finance their own boat. They get 50 percent of the boat-share fees.

SailTime member Dave Manners still works full time as a pilot, so his time Off The Clock, as his boat is appropriately named, is limited. On the days he can't get out and use the boat he says he's making money.

A boat this size costs roughly $220,000. Private boat insurance can cost $1,200 a year. Getting certified by the American Sail Association, which is recommended for safety is another $800. Add in monthly charges of $500 for the slip and $50 for a diver to clean the bottom, not to mention fuel and supplies - the cost to own a boat can add up fast.

Manners says aside from cutting costs, sharing the boat makes him feel better about the investment.

"It makes me feel good that somebody's using the boat. It's not just sitting there. A boat is meant to be sailed!" he said.

Dealers say a typical loan for this size sailboat would be 20 percent down over 20 years with a 4 to 5 percent interest rate. That puts payments at more than $1,000 a month.

SailTime charges users $450 a month for three 12-hour days of use. Even with a $1,500 initiation fee - sharing thru SailTime will save you money monthly.

Of course, at the end of the day, you're renting, not buying. But if simply sailing a boat - not dealing with owning one - is your goal, boat sharing is an option to get the luxury for less.

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