I know people are renting their RVs and campers and wondered if it was also happening with cars. I did a quick google search, "rent my car," and learned IT IS a thing! It seems there are hurdles and issues anytime an individual decides to rent their personal property. This is the first link I clicked on, and it brings up several good points that would apply to renting boats. However, it doesn't indicate if renting personal vehicles is allowed or requires special permitting in states. (State laws must be followed, whether it's a boat or a car!) https://www.legalzoom.com/articles/the-airbnb-of-car-renting-how-to-legally-rent-your-car-to-a-stranger-from-one
National Association of State Boating Law Administrators
1020 Monarch Street, Suite 200
Lexington, KY 40513
The information in this message is confidential and may be legally privileged. It is intended solely for the addressee. Access to this message by anyone else is unauthorized. If you are not the intended recipient, any disclosure, copying, distribution or any action taken or omitted to be taken in reliance on it, is prohibited and may be unlawful. Please immediately contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have received this message in error.
Coming from a federal (USCG) point of view, we are having many challenges with sites like Boatsetter, GetMyBoat, GoLakeHop, social media, etc... They are making it very easy for people (almost promoting) to offer their services or vessel outside of federal rules. The law (Passenger Safety Act of 1993) requires anyone offering their vessel for charter for at least 1 passenger (no more than 6) for hire must be federally licensed (Operator of Uninspected Passenger Vessel (aka. 6-pack license)) among other requirements such as type I life jackets, safety training and DOT random drug testing enrollment. A large portion of the people that do this are not aware or chose to operate outside those rules and take consideration ($) from paying passengers as a fish guide, charter operator or hunting guide.
In another example, many people offer their boat for "rent" or bareboat charter often on these types of sites. According to federal rules, this requires a charter agreement and all responsibilities of the operation of that vessel transferred to the charterer (crew, stores, fuel, insurance, etc...) When the owner or a representative of the owner retains control of the vessel or remains onboard, this is NOT a legal bareboat charter in the eyes of the USCG and they should be licensed and meet all OUPV/6-pack rules. On top of that, any bareboat charter is limited to 12 passengers plus 1 charterer. There should never be more than that if that vessel is "rented" out. I've told marinas this as they are going by the manufacturers placard and they are often very confused by this. If the USCG was to verify an operation operating more than 6 passengers like this or as an OUPV, the operator/owner would be charged for not being a certified inspected vessel examined and approved for passenger service annually by the Coast Guard.
So these types of sites offer an easy way for people to offer their service of vessel for hire or charter and the USCG is seeing a lot of non-compliance. In TN, we work closely with TWRA, the USCG Auxiliary and other partners to educate operators, detect non-compliance and ultimately enforce the rules. However, it is very hard to do because we have to essentially document the non-compliance in the act and be able to prove that money changed hands or that an operator is an owner or representative of the vessel owner during a bareboat charter. We rely heavily on intel collection, public education opportunities and operations w/ partners to assist in detection and enforcement of these rules.
MSD Nashville would be very willing to cooperate with you, Matt, being with Alabama Marine Patrol. We have discussed these issues with your officers in the past but need to continue to liaise with your agency in northern Alabama. Our area of responsibility (and jurisdiction) covers all of the Cumberland and Tennessee River and tributaries. I am interested to hear more about these livery vessel rules as well because they will overlap with our bareboat charter rules.
I know how insurance companies view using your car for commercial purposes. Uber for example, they (USAA) developed specific insurance for that and now they ask up front if you will be using a vehicle for ride-share purposes. I would expect just the same hesitation for boats. I would think there would be grounds for not covering claims when a rec vessel is being used for commercial (charter, ride share) purposes.
In Ohio, many of the boating laws and regulations end with the phrase "it is unlawful to operate or permit the operation of a vessel in this state in violation of the provision of this section." This allows some officer discretion to impose legal consequences not only on the operator, but also the owner where appropriate. It can be especially useful where a minor is improperly operating a higher HP motorized vessel (like PWC's) with the consent of an adult relative or friend as well as in these situations where an owner is participating in a 'casual' direct rental service.
Even though this doesn't directly impact Boatsetter, if individual owners supplying watercraft as sponsored providers for the company begin to see consequences for not validating renters' compliance with state education laws, word is likely to get back to the folks running the business (as well as other participating boat owners).
© 2019 National Association of State Boating Law Administrators
Site by eConverse Media