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- Jaclyn Baumgarten founded Boatsetter, a peer-to-peer boat-sharing platform in the US, in 2012.
- Baumgarten was named to Inc.’s top female founders list this year, alongside women like Magnolia’s Joanna Gaines and Bumble’s Whitney Wolfe Herd.
- Boatsetter’s clientele skews younger and more female.
- The reasoning is two-fold: Baumgarten says Boatsetter makes the activity of boating, which historically has had a higher monetary barrier to entry, more accessible to all. That inclusion, coupled with Boatsetter’s extensive insurance policy and safety measures, allow women, in particular, to feel more at ease using the service.
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Boatsetter, a peer-to-peer boat-sharing platform in the US, has over 17,000 rentable boats in over 600 locations. Some are bigger yachts, others are smaller power boats; there are half-day charters and multi-day rentals; most come equipped with a captain and some even have an easily identifiable purpose.
“This yacht is great for bachelorettes!” pops up across multiple listings on Boatsetter’s website.
“We have a ton of those requests,” founder Jaclyn Baumgarten told Business Insider of Boatsetter’s popularity for bachelorette parties.
According to Boatsetter’s internal data, more than half of its clients are millennials and roughly half of those younger clients are female.
“We aren’t doing anything to particularly target [millennials and women]; they are naturally gravitating toward this service because it aligns with the way they want to enjoy experiences,” said Baumgarten, who was named to Inc.’s top female founders list this year, alongside women like Magnolia’s Joanna Gaines and Bumble’s Whitney Wolfe Herd.
Millennials are not looking to own anything
Boatsetter has a similar owner-to-renter model as Airbnb, with additional insurance and safety measures thrown in the mix. It makes it possible for people to experience an afternoon on the water, complete with a captain, without having to commit to the high-cost reality of being a boat owner.
“Boats are the definition of an underutilized asset,” Baumgarten said. The National Marine Manufacturers Association estimates boats were used an average of 28 days per year in 2010. Baumgarten contended that number has dropped lower since.
Millennials, as Business Insider’s Hillary Hoffower recently reported, are saddled with student-loan debt and sky-high housing prices. If they are planning to rent homes forever, why would they turn around and buy a nonessential, typically underutilized asset like a boat?
Boatsetter provides millennials the overall experience of boating without the headache of ownership heading into an affordability crisis.
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Women prioritize safety
All Boatsetter captains are licensed by the US Coast Guard and vetted by Boatsetter, “which makes boating not only accessible but safe,” Baumgarten said. That safety aspect, according to Baumgarten, is most likely what attracts so many women to the platform.
It’s no secret women put a premium on safety: Business Insider’s Graham Rapier previously reported that women pay up to $50 more in public transit each month to avoid harassment and ensure personal safety. “Women’s safety” is even one of the five attributes that factors into the annual US News best country ranking.
As far as Boatsetter is concerned, there is also an extensive insurance policy pioneered by Baumgarten and underwritten by Geico that protects all parties involved in the boat rental. Even with the necessary insurance, rates for boats on the platform start as low as $200 for an afternoon.