The boat share
Ever thought about sharing a boat with friends? Paul describes the experience of three couples and their joint venture with a Sea Otter 26
It was a plot cooked up by the men: Dave, Louis and Paul. On various walks we began to mull over the idea of buying a boat together. We were all enthusiastic. The only problem was how to convince our wives that this was an excellent idea.
When I had surreptitiously introduced the idea into a conversation with my wife Mary, the response was not exactly encouraging: “Boats are damp. They smell damp. I don’t do damp.” More thought was required.
However, after a few months, Janet, Julie and Mary began to realise that this was becoming a real prospect and not just men dreaming. We had a meal together with a couple of ‘serious boaters’ to seek their advice. At the end of the evening, we had decided to go for a 26ft river cruiser such as a Freeman.
We were focused and not going to spend more than £16,000. However, on one of our sorties to Walton Marina, we spotted a cute little green Sea Otter 26. We all fell in love with it, even though it was nearer to £30,000 and a narrowboat rather than a river cruiser. But it didn’t smell damp and that was the clincher.
We formed the ‘Boat Club’ which involved all three families meeting together over a meal and plenty of wine. We drafted a constitution and divided roles. In March 2008, we became the proud owners of Camval, which had been commissioned and owned by one family since 1997. We were all set and made our mooring for the first year at Penton Hook Marina, near Staines.
The great thing about a private boat share is that all finances are divided by three. It also meant that the boat would be used much more from March to November. With three partners, our initial costs to purchase Camval were £10,000 for each family, and then a monthly contribution of £90 from each family for all ongoing expenses: mooring, insurance, Thames licence, diesel, gas, contingencies etc.
The boat share also meant that we could plan for longer trips which involved a carousel. One family would set off leaving their car in the marina. The next family would pick up the boat in ten days’ time and their car would be