Borrow a boat in five straightforward steps
The process of borrowing a boat
Borrowing a boat is simple and for everyone: people with plenty of boating experience and for people with none whatsoever. Whether you were born into a sailing family or the only boat you’ve been aboard is a ferry to France, Borrow a Boat was designed with you in mind. We’re passionate about getting people out on the water and making boating accessible to all. In this post, we outline the steps to borrowing a boat, from what you need to decide before you book to how it works from our perspective.
Step 1: Group size and dates
The first step is to choose your shipmates and when you’d like to get away. We always suggest booking in advance to avoid disappointment. Having said that, with 13,000 boats available on our platform, the chances of the boat you’re after being used by other borrowers or the owner themself on the exact dates you want to go is relatively slim. There’s plenty of choice for everyone.
You can spend your entire trip on a boat but there’s also the option to supplement an onshore holiday with a couple of nights on a boat. This way, you can see if boating is for you or if you’d rather stick to onshore accommodation. We’re of course biased… but we’ll be surprised if you come away uninspired by what sailing has to offer.
Step 2: Destination
With your fellow sailors and voyage date locked down, it’s now time to fantasise about where you’d like to go, then see if we have boats there. We list boats in over 50 different countries, so there’s a pretty good chance you’ll be able to find what you’re looking for. Be sure to check the sailing conditions at the time of year you’re looking to go, as this could have an impact on your destination decision.
If you’re having a tough time deciding on a destination (we don’t blame you, there’s a lot of sea to cover), have a browse through the country guides on our blog. We’ll give you a feel for some of the most popular destinations so you can decide on the best option for you. Alternatively, speak to friend and family for ideas – personal recommendations are always helpful. Failing that, scroll through the endless stream of idyllic holiday inspiration on Instagram. Just make sure you do your research before settling on a destination, to make sure it’s exactly the kind of holiday you’re looking for.
Step 3: Boat type
The next step is to choose the type of boat you’d like to borrow. You may need help here and it’s fine if you do. Our team of advisors can help you find the right boat for you and advise what the owner requires from you as a trusted borrower. Send your queries via an online form or – if time is of the essence – get in touch with the team instantly through our online chat service.
What you need to know:
- Skipper or no skipper
- Voyage or sleep only
- Experience required
Generally, the experience required to take off with a boat is at the discretion of the boat’s owner. For boats over a certain size however, some European countries do require an ICC certificate (equivalent to RYA Day Skipper). If you’ve done a lot of boating but never taken a qualification, don’t worry as you can submit a sailing CV. Smaller boats will need less experience, but boat owners will usually like to know that you’ve at least handled a boat before.
If you’re not looking to control and take responsibility for your own voyage, book a skipper for the trip. This way you can sit, back, relax, sunbathe on topdeck, make a gin & tonic, look out for dolphins, make a sandwich below deck… sorry we got distracted there. Hiring a skipper has the benefit of allowing you to take a break from planning with your family and friends whilst someone else gets you from A to B. If you’ve never sailed before and want to learn, skippers can double up as informal tutors for speedy on the go lessons.
Hosts are also available for meal provisioning, and full crews for larger boats. Check out the optional extras on each individual boat listing to see what’s available.
Step 4: Browse holiday options
With at least an idea of the destination and boat type you’re after, it’s time to see what’s available. Search by any combination of destination, boat type or trip dates to find what you and your group fancy. With our filtering system, you can fine tune the location, boat size, layout, age, equipment you want on board and optional extras including hosts, skippers, a SUP board or kayak. These details should be included in the listing but you can message the boat owner if you have any specific questions or requests over timings, what’s included or anything else. You should receive a response through the messaging portal on your profile page and also by email.
Step 5: Book your trip
Boats listed as “online bookable” can be booked instantly. Pay and secure your boat booking within seconds. Alternatively you can make a request to the boat owner to book directly.
Payment protection is provided by SagePay and PayPal, and payment by credit card is possible on either. You don’t need to have a PayPal account to pay by PayPal. In the unlikely event of an issue or if there are any serious issues with the boat or it’s not as it should be, you will be automatically refunded. We will also provide another boat option as near as we can and as quickly as we can.
Your booking confirmation will be sent by email, and you will receive information from the boat owner with regards to location of the boat, parking, provisioning, extras and other details. Message the boat owner directly if you have any further questions.
Whether you’re looking to sail away into the sunset, fancy incorporating your love of boating into a holiday or you want to experience boating for the first time, Borrow a Boat is a fantastic place to explore holiday options.
Our friendly and enthusiastic team are on hand to help and advise when needed. With thousands of boats and over 60 countries to choose from you many need our online support. We’re all passionate about sharing our love of ocean adventures so don’t hesitate to get in touch.