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Finger Lakes boaters increase use of rental service



Rochester, New York – Boating season is in full swing for New Yorkers, but for many folks, having access to a boat is a pricey luxury.

For over ten years, Nick Sarkis has been boating, and recently he started renting his boat out to those who wish to use it. “Due to the limited available resources and people keeping their boats around here, there’s not a major influx to sell and buy,” Sarkis said. “So, therefore getting a boat is very hard.”

According to Sarkis, chartering is a solution meant for folks who can’t undertake the cost of owning a boat and all the maintenance that comes with it. “In Rochester, it can be tough because we only have so many tow boats around. There’s only so many different people willing to help or service that it’s important to have someone who knows how to fix it on-site to salvage the day then,” Sarkis said.

Sarkis charters his boats through, a platform growing in popularity in the Finger Lakes Region. The service is similar to the car rental service Uber or the home rental service Airbnb, but for boats. “It’s very rewarding,” Sarkis said. “As I’ve done this, every time, in the end, people are more enamored than they originally thought they would be. They always leave trying to decide how easy or difficult it might be to get their own boat, that’s instantly their aspiration, which quickly comes to the realization that what they just did is really the way to do it.”

Sarkis keeps his boat stocked with everything boaters may need for a day out on the water, such as toys, beverages, towels, and even a swim platform. All renters have to bring is themselves and a bathing suit. “For those who wouldn’t be able to do a boat normally under certain conditions — for example, if you’re hard of hearing, deaf, of a certain age — and you still want to get on the water, but you don’t feel comfortable renting a boat for yourself, Rochester has a very nice, limited unique opportunity with GetMyBoat to get out here, no matter your age, and be completely taken care of,” Sarkis said.

Sarkis expects this service to become even more popular within the next few years due to the implementation of Brianna’s law in 2025.

According to the law, all operators of motorized watercraft must complete a state-approved boating safety course.

The law is named after an 11-year-old Long Island girl who died tragically in a boating accident in 2005. Experts say the accident could have been avoided with proper boating safety knowledge.