Get your boat rental business prepared before the boating season starts.

Do you own a boat rental business or want to start one this summer? If so, now is the perfect time to get started. With the boating season quickly approaching, ensuring your business is in tip-top shape when customers come knocking is important.

According to the National Marine Manufacturers Association, over 16 million recreational boats are registered in the United States alone. That number continues to grow each year. This means more and more people will be out on the water looking for places to rent boats or other related services.

With proper preparation, you can take advantage of this growing market and turn your rental business into a profitable venture! Here are some tips on preparing your boat rental business before the boating season starts.

Update your license

If needed, submit all of your necessary paperwork to obtain a business license, inspection, or any other permits that may be required. You should also check your existing licenses and ensure they are up to date before the start of the boating season.

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Make sure your insurance is up to date.

Business owners should ensure they have the right insurance policies before the boating season starts. Boat rental businesses need general liability coverage and specific coverage for watercraft-specific accidents, like capsizing or collisions. Consult with an insurance professional to ensure your policy is tailored to the needs of your business.

Update contracts

Update customer contracts to include rental fees, rules, and regulations. For example, be sure to include a clause that outlines any late fees or extra charges that may be incurred if the customer fails to return the boat on time. Additionally, make sure you’re aware of all state and local laws.

Revise your pricing

When was the last time you took a look at your pricing structure? Ensure your pricing is competitive with other boat rental businesses in the area. Consider offering discounts or promotions to attract more customers and keep them returning.

Invest in safety equipment.

Invest in quality safety equipment such as life jackets, flares, and whistles. Ensure all safety equipment is up-to-date and in proper working condition and order. Clean and restock life jackets, anchors, rope, and other items needed on board.

Inspect the boats

Ensure all boats are inspected for maintenance and repairs before putting them on the water. Make a heavy equipment inspection checklist for yourself. You can also download a vehicle inspection form and customize it. This can aid you in your inspection process. Check all cables, hoses, and hardware to ensure everything is in working order. Test the engines and see if any parts need replacing or repairs. It is important to do a complete inspection of the engine on each boat before renting it out for safety reasons.

Keep an eye on fuel.

Ensure the boats are fully stocked with fuel and necessary supplies before renting them out. You want to ensure each boat has enough fuel for a full day of boating and any extras they’ll need while out on the water. Also, review your fuel contracts and order extra supplies if necessary.

Repair the boats

Repair any damages to the engine compartment or boat from the last season. Check engines are functioning properly and service if necessary. Also, check the body for any damages, paint chips, and cracks that need repair.

Clean The Boats

Get your boats ready to rent again by cleaning them thoroughly. Wash away saltwater stains and dirt from the exterior of most parts of the boat, remove debris inside the cabin or cuddy, clean upholstery, and replace any parts that need to be replaced.

Check boat trailers

Check all trailers’ condition and ensure they are in good working order. Ensure the tires are properly inflated and the brakes, wiring, cooling system, and lights function correctly. If any repairs need to be made, take care of them now instead of waiting until your customers arrive with their boats.

Cleaning supplies

Stock up on cleaning supplies for after customers use the boats. This includes paper towels, sponges, glass cleaners, and all-purpose cleaners. You may also want to include a few rags in case any spills or messes need cleaning up. The right cleaning supplies are essential for keeping your boats looking their best throughout the boating season.

How about snacks and drinks?

Stock up on snacks, drinks, and other supplies to have on hand during rentals. This will help keep customers happy, especially if they’re out on the water all day. Consider stocking items such as snacks, drinks—both alcoholic and non-alcoholic—sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, life jackets, emergency supplies like flares and a first aid kit, and any other items you think your renters would need or appreciate. You may also want to provide some coolers that customers can use during their rental.

Establish safety rules and regulations.

Before the boating season begins, establish clear safety rules and regulations that customers must follow while renting a boat from you. These safety issues should include age restrictions, how many people can be on board, speed limits, and other rules about your area. Ensure you communicate these rules clearly with customers during their rental process—and ensure they understand them!

Use technology

Switch from pan and paper to a cloud-based boat rental software for booking reservations, tracking customer information, and managing finances. This will make it easier to track all the details of running a rental business, including billing customers and collecting payments. It will also help you stay organized during peak times when customers book multiple boats simultaneously. Look for software that can integrate with other systems, such as accounting software and customer relationship management (CRM) platforms.

Update your marketing strategy.

It’s important to keep your marketing efforts up-to-date and relevant to boating trends. Ensure you have a website optimized for mobile viewing, so customers can easily view and book boats on any device. Create content that appeals to your target audiences, such as blog posts and videos about boating tips and safety information. Also, use social media platforms to promote your business and stay in touch with existing customers.

Spread the word

Advertise your business to potential customers, including creating a website or using social media to spread the word about your rental business. In addition, reach out to local businesses, tourist attractions, and other related organizations you can partner with to promote your services. Lastly, consider attending boat shows or other events in your area to meet potential customers and connect with industry professionals.

Update yourself

Refresh your knowledge of boating regulations and laws for the area in which you’re operating. Make sure you understand any restrictions or requirements that may apply to your business and make adjustments accordingly. Also, consider taking additional safety or boating courses to stay up-to-date on the latest techniques, equipment, and regulations.

Update your staff knowledge.

Ensure your staff is trained and familiar with local boating regulations and safety protocols. Ensure that they know how to properly inspect and maintain the boats, as well as how to teach customers proper handling techniques. In addition, make sure your staff is knowledgeable about the features of each boat and can answer any questions customers may have.

Be prepared for big days.

Be prepared for big holidays and events, like Memorial Day and the Fourth of July. Ensure you have enough staff to handle the increased demand and bookings. Also, plan ahead by stocking up on supplies so you don’t run out during peak times.

It’s time to get off the boat shoes and get a little sunscreen since summer is just around the corner! The best day celebration is here. Make a calendar so that you can have fun on the water.

These are some holidays and special events that you should look into:

First Day of Spring

The First Day of Spring is a fun event. On March 20, the Northern Hemisphere sees a special astronomical event – the arrival of spring! The vernal equinox marks this momentous occasion and ushers in longer days, warmer weather, and many colors after winter’s dark chill. This means that March 20 is a great time to begin spring commissioning on your vessel.

Newport International Boat Show (NIBS)

Newport International Boat Show is a famous show held annually in Newport. Despite its name, the city is the most important sailing city in the United States. Take a lobster tour and enjoy a last summer’s vacation in this historic town.

Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Weekend is typically one of the most popular days for boating. Because it is a federal holiday, many people enjoy it. In addition, boaters across the United States remember the many people who died for our freedom. Memorial Day weekend marks likewise the official beginning of summer for boaters throughout America, and that increases traffic on the waters.

National Safe Boating Week

Safe Boaters Week encourages everyone on the water to wear a life jacket. April 20 to June 26 are good days to check the survival clothing and jackets on the boat. A good time for training to ensure safety.

National Fishing and boating week

Summer’s here, and it’s time to make a splash! During National Fishing & Boating Week, June 3-11, 2023, enjoy the great outdoors with your loved ones. Whether you’re an experienced angler or are just dipping your toes in for fun – now is the perfect chance to cast off on new adventures together.

Fourth of July

The annual celebration celebrating American freedom is held on rivers throughout the state, and fireworks display galore. The colorful lights and festivities in the sky typically happen when the moon has gone down. However, long holidays usually see boaters rushing around the waterways at night.

December Boat Parades

December is notorious for Christmas boat parades in warmer areas. Boat owners decorate, light the boat top down with music, dress in Christmas costumes or wear Christmas clothes for Christmas celebrations. These events generally attract big audiences, which is surprisingly interesting.

Labor Day Weekend

This long holiday weekend marks the final weekend of summer. No other way to celebrate American workers like yourself will be spent aboard with friends or family. So plan barbecue parties, and boat gating parties, grab a boat, and have fun.

First Day of Summer

The summer solstice is the longest and northernmost day of the year when the sun is at high peaks. This is considered the first day of summer and a great opportunity to get on board and have some fun and long days out.

Now, it’s time to sail.

By ensuring your boat rental business is prepared before the boating season begins, you’ll be in a great position to have a successful and enjoyable summer. With these tips, you can ensure that all of your rentals go as smoothly as possible and that customers have an enjoyable experience on the water.

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