Sailing the Waterways with Boat Sharing

CHICAGO (CBS) — Boats on Lake Michigan are a familiar summer sight.

Boating and summer go hand in hand, but for some people owning a boat is a luxury they just can’t afford.

Now, one company is offering a much more affordable solution, as CBS 2’s Mai Martinez reports.

Gary Maus loves sailing. But this isn’t his boat.

It’s one of seven in a fleet run by SailTime Chicago, a boat sharing company.

“You sign up for membership on a specific boat in our fleet, you have a guaranteed amount of time every month,” said SailTime Chicago’s Ryan Remsing. “You schedule the boat, show up, and it’s like you’re an owner.”

“We have packages from $3,700 for the season up to $12,000,” said Remsing. “It all depends on what boat you want to be on and how much you want to go sailing.”

The packages allow for three or seven sails per month during the May 1st to October 15th season.

The time slots are half a day from 10:30 in the morning to 6:00 p.m., or from 6:30 in the evening to 10:00 the next morning.

For Maus it’s a win-win.

He gets to use a beautiful 45-foot yacht worth $375,000 without the headaches or expenses that come with ownership.

“It’s amazing. There is no winterization. I show up on May 1st, the boat’s in the harbor, gassed and ready to go,” said Maus. “And then on October 1st, it’s pulled out and put away, and I don’t do anything. I just come down here and sail on it.”

Owners also benefit from the boat-sharing.

“For three to six years, we take care of it and we share the revenue 50-50 with them so all of their expenses are paid and they earn monthly income that they can apply to their boat loan,” said Remsing.

SailTime Chicago said it’s the largest boat-sharing company in the world, with 30 locations across the United States.

They’re also in Australia and have plans to open in Europe too.

If you’d like more information on the company, you can visit the SailTime Chicago website for locations, prices and membership options.