The ocean — ever since the dawn of man, it has held an attraction for us, primarily for relaxation, fun and sport. The big obstacle up to now has been finding an easy way to do it. Many people who love boats are not in a position to own one, while others just want an occasional day on the water without having to learn the rudiments of sailing or powerboating.
A solution to this dilemma is Boatbound, an online company with over 10,000 boats in various U.S. harbors. Boatbound covers lake boating areas such as Havasu and Big Bear Lake, as well as ocean ports. Boatbound is much more than a boat rental company, it is a lifestyle changer. Boats are available as bareboats, where the experienced boater can take their boat of choice out for a half day or over a week. This is an excellent way to enjoy the ocean without the expense and labor of boat ownership.
A second alternative is for those who may want to just crew on a sailboat or even just take a leisurely ride around Newport Harbor or even across to Catalina for the day. Some of the boats are available with a Captain who can take you out and bring you back with the guests onboard doing as little as they want. This is an excellent choice for the person who just wants a day on the water and who either has never handled a boat before, or for the special date where a boat trip complete with appetizers, a romantic view of the ocean and mai tais is the perfect way to prepare for a fun evening.
Photo essay at end of article
On a recent trip through Newport Harbor, and then a leisurely cruise down past Laguna Beach, Aaron Hall, founder of Boatbound, explained that one of the keys to the success of their rental system is the rapport and involvement they have with the boat owners. The owners are the ones who approve the requests for use of their private boats, and they are usually the ones who captain the boat if that is requested. Each boat owner has the flexibility to set their own prices and determine if they feel a person is qualified to take a boat out on their own.
One such owner is Ariel Gabriel, who has a few boats in the program. His boats are based in Newport Harbor, and show real pride of ownership. His 2012 27′ Sea Ray is a gorgeous boat and fast too, perfect for a nice harbor cruise or a quick dash to Catalina, Long Beach or Dana Point. He is happy to Captain the boat or let an ‘old salt’ take it out themselves. Before they can enter the program, boats like Ariel’s must pass age, safety and other requirements to ensure that the boats are in great shape. Generally, only boats newer than five years are accepted into the program.
Boatbound’s website is a large part of what makes the program work. Ratings are given for each boat and guests can review their experiences. All information necessary is on the website for each vessel, including whether a captain is available or not. The website is very user-friendly and covers most areas between Boatbound’s two main offices in San Francisco and Miami.
Plenty of photos are on the website, so you can see exactly what the boat looks like. Other necessary info, like start and ending dates and the ability to directly message the boat owners, make the site extremely practical to use. Plus, searches for each harbor/city make it easy to find a boat in the area you wish to voyage from.
And now, take a look at some pictures of what you can see on the cruise out of Newport to Laguna Beach.