Summer in Chicago just got a little better with the official introduction of Boatbound, an Airbnb-like service that lets wannabe boaters rent a vessel for a day on the lake.
The boats currently available in Chicago -- about 22 -- range in price from $200 a day for a 15-foot pontoon boat to $2,400 a day for a 38-foot yacht with a captain and some fancy amenities on board, including a grill, a DVD player and a shower. All boats are docked in Chicago harbors, from Montrose Harbor down to the 31st Street Harbor.
The range of options allow everyone from experienced boaters with their sea legs to the woefully inexperienced to rent a boat. Of course, renters must go through a screening process to ensure the inexperienced ones wind up with boats that come with captains. Others have the privilege of setting sail on their own, if they wish.
The renting process works much like Airbnb. Renters and owners must accept each other, and owners receive public ratings to help boost their profile.
To prevent the fear of costly accidents on the water, Boatbound insures every rental up to $3 million.
Boatbound was created in 2011 to help boat owners offset maintenance costs and to give non-owners the privilege of spending a day at sea.The company currently has markets all across the country, including San Francisco, Miami, New York, Washington D.C. and Seattle.