There are two schemes which will work, or a combination of the two. Additionally the Boat Buddy Community is a more informal alternative. It has to be remembered that these are private arrangements, between two friends.
This scheme is based on an agreed financial contribution. It could a payment made direct to the owner or to a third party, i.e payment of berthing fees on behalf of the owner. In return for use of the boat or for the owner to skipper a family holiday or something along those lines.
This arrangement does not necessarily involve any work for the Boat Buddy and is suited to those with time constraints. From the boat owners perspective it leaves him in total control.
It is important that the distinction is made between contribution and hire. There are no insurance complications if 2 friends share a boat and it’s running costs, or indeed if a crew member buys something for the boat. However, if the arrangement were more rigid, say 1 weeks use = £500 and particularly so if you recruited half a dozen Boat Buddys, then that contribution could be viewed as hire.
This scheme is based on an agreed level of maintenance work to be carried out by the Boat Buddy, perhaps at the start of the season to assist the owner in preparing the boat, and jobs throughout the season. In return for the use of the boat, time on the boat or for the owner to skipper a family day out for the Buddy or something along those lines.
This arrangement does not involve any financial contribution by the Boat Buddy and is suited to those who have the time and skills and are prepared to work on the boat. From the boat owners perspective and depending upon the construction of the boat and the skills and commitment of the Boat Buddy; such help can offer financial savings as well as a problem shared.
Boat Buddy Community
This is really an extension of scheme 2, but on a more informal basis. Boat Owners or Boat Buddys can advertise their requirements as before but the resulting agreements are one off arrangements.
For example a Boat Owner may advertise for help in antifouling the boat and in return offer a day out for the Boat Buddy and his partner. Alternatively he may offer payment.
Similarly a Boat Buddy could offer his services for painting, electrical or mechanical work, depending upon his skills in return for time on the boat or payment.
The idea of the Boat Buddy Community is to encourage people to help each other. There has been many times I would have appreciated some help, but who to ask? Everyone I knew was busy with their own lives. In the meantime there were individuals, often living locally that could not afford a boat, but would have loved to have helped and felt part of it all.
The real beauty of helping out in return for some boat time, perhaps crewing for the owner, is that you don’t feel like a spare part. You have earned the right to be on board and you already have some rapport with the owner, who hopefully might buy you a beer as well.
As a Boat Owner it is really useful to have a Boat Buddy living locally who can pop along to the Marina and check the boat occasionally, between your visits. Just checking the lines, see that nothing is chaffing, that the power has not failed, the bilge pump’s ok.
It’s a really great arrangement, and both parties benefit.