Seattle Boat Share
Study a map of northern Manitoba, where I grew up, and you’ll see nothing but a tangle of interconnected lakes snaking all the way up to hulking Hudson Bay. Water has always been comforting to me, and anytime I’m near it, I feel a sense of home. That said, boat ownership has always been daunting. They’re large, they’re expensive, they require regular maintenance. And unlike a car, they’re foreign territory for me. Yes, although I grew up around lakes, we weren’t a boating family, so my experience with boats was limited to invitations from friends.
Ever unaware of the practicalities of life, however, my kids have been begging for a boat. Add that to a long list of time consuming, headache-inducing items like a horse, bird, hamster, and sheep. That boats aren’t living and breathing is a huge plus. Also, considering we live on the coast, it seems like a basic familiarity with boating is probably important. I do admit, there is an appeal to zipping (or drifting or bobbing) around in the water and docking in the various quaint towns that dot the Pacific Northwest coast.
So, I hunkered down and did some online research, and lo and behold, I found my compromise at www.seattleboatshare.com. Seattle Boat Share allows ambivalent boating enthusiasts (can you be ambivalent and enthusiastic at the same time?) to purchase a sharepass. The number of sharepasses sold is limited, so that the boats are readily available to members. There are 30 boats to choose from, of varying sizes. While a sharepass is not exactly “cheap” at $3200 for a season, I will argue that for Seattleites who would have to pay to store or moor their boat, it is cheaper than ownership. The best part? Seattle Boat Share takes care of all the maintenance, and they offer boating lessons as well.
When share pass members want to go boating, they simply reserve online and pay a dock fee (between $80-$200 depending on the boat) to have the boat fueled and ready to go. You then pick up the boat at their location in South Lake Union, have fun with it, and return it to the dock at the end of the day. Essentially, all the enjoyable parts of boating with far less commitment. No, we won’t be able to sell our boat one day, but since boats lose their value quickly, that wasn’t a huge factor in our decision. We also like knowing that if there is a summer that we are traveling a lot, we can just decide to forego it that year (or rent by the day, which they also offer). Likewise, if money becomes tight in the future, there is no commitment beyond one season. If family is visiting or for an overnight trip, families can choose a larger boat or one with sleeping quarters. What we really needed simplicity and flexibility, and this is what we got. Unfortunately, Seattle Hamster Share yielded no relevant search results.