Types of shared ownership schemes available.
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Following the failure of boat OwnerShips sand Challenger there are no large companies (in terms of shared boats on management with them) solely managing boats on behalf of their owners.
There are several smaller companies operating in the UK on the inland waterways who manage shared ownership craft. They do this for a fee each year from each person, this fee can be fixed or variable depending on the cost to run the boat. See "advantages and disadvantages". This type of operation really started life in 1990, up until this time just about all boat sharing had been by private syndicates. Most commercial operators tend to share the boat around 12 people, or sell fixed weeks, (see also timeshare).
This is really what it sounds like. A private group running a boat. There groups can be as small as just two friends sharing a boat. See "advantages and disadvantages".
Different to the commercial operators as in general you are buying a fixed week. Often with timeshare you may end up using a different "property" to the one that you thought you were going to use. See "advantages and disadvantages".
Various companies operate a boat for their members to use, such examples being Banks, The Royal Navy and The BBC to name just three. See "advantages and disadvantages".
The advantage of a commercial company to manage your boat for you is that they do all the hard work, you just turn up, turn the key and off you go. Of course they charge for this service, most around £3000.00 per annum per boat (2010) some more, some less.
The disadvantage of buying through such a firm, apart from the one to your wallet, is that the service you get, or expect to get, is only as good or as bad as the company you are with, and by virtue of a "contract" you are tied to them for a number of years and can't just walk away.
Of course in a private syndicate the problems could be worse as, at least if you don't care for your fellow owners on your boat and you are in a commercial scheme you don't have to talk to them, whereas in a private syndicate you may well have no choice!
The great advantage with a private scheme is a cut in costs. You only have to look at the differences quoted for annual fees on the shares for sale page to see how large these can be.
Timeshare is another way of getting afloat and with a timeshare linked in with RCI then you may be able to swap "resorts" and so do other things besides boating. Generally people buying boating timeshares do it just so they can join RCI, not so they can go boating. It is suggested that the chance of you getting on "your" boat year after year are slim. It is not unknown for persons coming from abroad to not even be aware they are staying on a boat! Timeshare is, perhaps, not for those who are serious about their boating.
By far and away the best way to get afloat on the cheap is through a boating club or organisation, such as the one run for the staff of the BBC, or, say, the Royal Navy. Of course the problem here is joining one! If your company does not have a boat, and lets face it, most don't, then this is not an option most can consider. Of course this is not always the most trouble free option as some can be run by enthusiastic but meddlesome amateurs.....
To sum up.......
It is suggested that you talk to present owners with any company you are considering joining. The problem there however is that it does not take a genius to work out that you will be spoon fed to "happy" customers". Why not post a message to our board and see if you can contact any owners from commercial schemes? At least that way you can find out what such schemes are really like. Otherwise search around the net and see what you can find. This web site offers a free portal to just about all of them.
Here are a few things to consider:-
Do some companies retain a share in the boat?
What happens if the management company goes bust? The two biggest ones, Challenger and OwnerShips both went to the wall recently (2008 and 2010 respectively) but owners managed to hang on to their shares in the boats and lost only fees paid up front for management and maintenance etc.
Which booking system is right for you? If you want two weeks together just how feasible is that? How fair is a system that allows one owner three weeks and another with the same size share six for the same cost?
Why must the boat look like a floating advert for the firm? Or equally, I am pleased to have a share with....and I want their name on the boat (and another question, if hire craft are OBLIGED to show the telephone number of the firm on the craft, why aren't shared ownership companies?)
If you need school holidays how certain are you to get them.......and why should I pay so much more, and why should I have to go back to school to work out the equation as to how much more I pay?!
What do companies do to cover costs on unsold shares? Is the boat hired out. Most say no, but what really happens....?
If you are considering a fledgling company with no boats, will they ever get off the ground. Many have tried and failed. Black Prince and Stenson have tried and failed, the Anglo Welsh situation is not, at present, known. All reputable companies in their own right, but for them shared ownership just never worked. Alvechurch seem to be carrying on with Deckshare and now have another string to their bow in ABC Management looking after some Challenger and OwnerShips boats and well as building new boats in to shared ownership.
BUT the most important question of all to ask yourself is this. If I no longer want my share in my boat how easy is it to sell? There are probably well over a hundred unsold shares out there. Of course you can increase you chances by advertising your share for sale on this site, but even so.... It is not unknown for owners to have to wait three + years to sell. With a fledgling company this could be an even bigger problem, if a company only has one boat with unsold shares and you want to sell your share why would they try to sell yours when they need to sell their own (of course an advert on this site might help them in this regard).
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