Have you ever strolled around a marina, dreaming of staying on one of the fantastic super-yachts moored up there? Then a new website, described as the AirBnB for boats, could be just what you’re looking for. I spoke to Jason Ludlow from Beds on Board about how he and co-founder Peter Ogden came up with the idea.
“You could say we had one of those eureka moments,” explained Jason. “I sail with Peter and we’d just finished a regatta in Majorca. As we were coming back into the marina in Palma, Peter asked me how you could monetise all these boats, sat there doing nothing, but with amazing views in a prime location. My answer was simple – beds.”
Beds on Board lists boats in 46 countries around the world where you can stay for a night or longer. And Jason says you won’t need to know your lanyards from your lutchets. “On our website we talk in plain English, using words like the ‘front’ and ‘back’ of the boat and the ‘toilet’ not ‘heads.’ And we encourage our owners to speak in language that their potential guests will understand. Those that get it are now doing well and are getting repeat bookings.”
You also don’t need any sailing experience whatsoever, as Jason explained: “The boats don’t move. The engine doesn’t get started. And guests are given a full handover and instructions on how to use the systems on the boat. We’re trying to break down these barriers that the industry has built up over a lifetime that boating is difficult, intricate, awkward and not accessible.”
In fact, with many of the boats you might not even realise you’re on the water, said Jason. “A big, modern motorboat is no different to a luxury apartment. The light switches look like light switches. The toilets work like toilets. The kitchens work like kitchens. Some of the older boats might have quirkier system but we make sure our owners explain them to people. There’s nothing overly complicated.”
Jason told me that not all the boats are located in coastal marinas. “The main focus is the UK and the Mediterranean but it’s amazing where these boats are,” he said. “There are arteries of water running around the country – and you can stay in various cities around the country, like Bath, that you didn’t think had access to water.” And Jason said some of the boats in big city locations often get the most bookings. “We’ve got a boat in Liverpool, in Albert Dock. It’s popular with people going there for concerts and cultural events. We’ve also got boats in London, which are obviously very busy.”
But Jason says a very popular choice is located in Monaco – perfect for the annual Grand Prix event. “It’s a fantastic boat – a 60ft Italian Ferretti motorboat. It’s moored in Cap Dai Marina, right next to where the Grand Prix takes place. It sleeps six to seven people and you can rent it for around £400 a night during the event. A hotel room in Monaco will cost a lot more than that!” It seemed like amazing value, and Jason says it’s a cost effective way for a group of people or a family to stay. “It’s about economies of scale. If two people stay on a boat that sleeps six people, it could seem expensive. But if there are four people – say two couples – it can be much cheaper than a hotel.”
If you fancy staying on a boat, go to BedsOnBoard.com to search for locations and dates.