Australian boat owners are increasingly hiring out their water vehicles to offset rising costs and boost their household income.
Sydney mum Jessica Dennis is renting out the second-hand boat she bought last year as a side hustle to keep a roof over her head.
“My living expenses, like everyone elses’ at the moment, are continuing to increase. Three interest rate increases in three months means my mortgage has gone up by about $600 per month.” she said.
“I haven’t done the maths on the cost of groceries, but it feels like they’ve gone up by about $100 a week, so even just one rental a week more than covers that and its upkeep.
“Without the income from my boat I’d have to seriously consider selling my house and potentially changing the kids’ schools. I simply couldn’t afford it.”
Boats similar in size to Ms Dennis’ are being rented out for between $400-$600 per day.
With interest rates continuing to rise, inflation nearing 25-year highs and the cost of living ballooning, Aussies are being forced to consider whether they can afford their non-essential luxury items like boats that they use on average just 28 days per year.
Boating is a way of life in Australia, with one in 10 people having a boat licence and more than 925,000 registered boats on the nation’s waterways. The $9bn industry employs almost 30,000 people Australia-wide.
Book My Boat managing director Matthew Lloyd told NCA NewsWire that new boat owner registrations on the platform had increased by 80 per cent in Australia in the last month alone, with the highest density coming from Queensland and NSW.
“The platform provides boat owners with an opportunity to turn their under-utilised boats into an income generator.” he said of Australia’s largest online boat hire marketplace.
“This not only helps them hang on to their boat during these difficult times, but it also means their boat is helping them pay the weekly bills. We are turning people’s boat-idle days into paydays.”
Kris and Shona Fothergill and their four children aged 7, 9, 11 and 12, abandoned living on land after they found “the more simple way of boat living” allowed their dollar to stretch a lot further.
“There‘s not a hard and fast budget rule, but take your land costs like your home, vehicle, education and general land-living costs, remove those from your budget and enter the new costs like boat maintenance, diesel and the occasional marina. Food and medical costs for the most part will remain fairly similar,” Mr Fothergill said.
The accountant said the best way to weigh up costs was to “take the land costs out and add in the boat costs” to give people an idea of how much they could save.
Mr Lloyd said people around the country had also been moving on to their boats, as it was cheaper than renting in many regions with a dire shortage of housing.