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3 Tips for Renting Out a Boat Slip in Southwest Florida

by Scott Myers

 Finding a resting place for a boat isn't as easy as finding a parking spot for a vehicle, especially when it comes to the right location. This is why renting out a boat slip can be a lucrative passive income for both owners of private docks and slips at marinas. In an effort to help, let's discuss 3 tips for renting out a boat slip in Southwest Florida.

 Related Blog: The Top Ten Most Popular Dock Accessories

Is there a demand for boat slip rentals in Southwest Florida?

 An article found on Florida Today called: "Boat numbers slowly recovering in Florida, Brevard after economic downturn", written on May 27th, 2017 by Jim Waymer and Wayne T. Price, explains:

"There were 95,593 fewer registered vessels in Florida in 2016 than 10 years ago, a 9.3 percent dip. Florida's registered vessels topped 1 million in 2007. But as the economy stalled, boats bottomed out at 896,632 in 2013, according to statistics recently released by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Boating has gradually eked back over the past three years, to 931,450 vessels."

Waterfront development and real estate investments have decreased the number of marinas and boat slips available in Southwest Florida. In 2007, this amounted to 2,500 boat slips being lost per year in Florida. This combined with the baby boomer generation retiring and the economy recovering has increased the demand for boat slips.

This has given private dock and marina boat slip owners the incentive to rent or lease their boat slips out on a temporary and permanent basis. Peer-to-peer technology platforms are helping to facilitate this; one of these companies is called Dock Skipper.

According to (boat slip peer-to-peer rental company):

"...90% of boat docks go unused every day in the United States. Most homeowners are paying a yearly property tax for something they don't regularly use."


1. Formulate Usage Parameters and Business Objectives:

 Renting out a boat slip at a private dock or at a marina differs, yet both require the owner to formulate usage parameters and their overall business objectives. Owners of marina boat slips will have to abide by the marina's rules and regulations around renting.

Here are some usage parameters to determine:

    • long or short term rentals (or both)
    • live in or vacant parking
    • boat size limitations
    • store on a boat lift or not
    • defining amenities
    • rules concerning waterfront property access, etc.

 The type of private dock or marina boat slip will determine many of these questions; private dock boat slip owners will need to define these more clearly. Mainly, boat slips are needed by owners to permanently park their vacant boats; the location of the boat slip is their biggest concern.


 2. Create Rental Agreement:

 Renting out a boat slip is a great opportunity for owners to make a mostly passive income from a resource that's not being regularly used anyway. In order to capitalize on this, owners must first cover any liability issues.

They can do this by creating a rental agreement and making sure they have the proper insurance for their specific business objectives. This rental agreement will ensure owners aren't liable for any damages or injuries of renters and their boats.

When using peer-to-peer platforms to rent a boat slip, much of this liability will be covered in the user terms, yet having all renters sign a rental agreement will ensure no surprises for owners. Owners can create their own rental agreements by looking at those of a local marina and/or working with their lawyer and insurance agent.


3. Marketing Tactics:

 Now that boat slip owners have defined their usage parameters and covered their bases with legal and insurance issues, they can now begin to market their boat slip rental business. There are a number of ways this can be done effectively.

Here are the main ways:

    • list through peer-to-peer technology platforms (like Dock Skipper and Snag A Slip)
    • list through local classified papers and online publications specifically for boat slips (
    • place fliers at local boat clubs and marinas; place online ads on their websites
    • list through local newspaper classified ads
    • business cards and word of mouth

 Likely, these marketing tactics will be enough to stir up business, especially, considering the limited availability of boat slips in Southwest Florida.

Private dock boat slip owners can market the security and location of their rental, while marina boat slip owners can focus on marketing the amenities included. Location is key for both, as boat owners often look for a boat slip in relation to their home or residence.


 Renting out a boat slip is a great way to make a mostly passive income from a resource that's not being regularly used anyway. The demand for boat slips in Southwest Florida and the desire by boat owners to find the right location to park their boats are both great reasons to start renting out a boat slip.

After defining usage parameters and creating a rental agreement, owners will be ready to market their boat slip rental and start making money -- innovative peer-to-peer platforms are making this even easier.

If Southwest Florida residents are interested in building, upgrading, or improving a private dock or seawall for a boat slip rental business, contact Duncan Seawalls today.

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