How to Rent a Private Dock Anywhere // Airbnb For Boaters

, How to Rent a Private Dock Anywhere // Airbnb For Boaters

Boaters Were the First Airbnb’ers 

The best innovation ever for boaters and waterfront homeowners is here; the ability to search for privately-owned dockage worldwide using an online system similar to Airbnb for finding a slip for your boat. It’s called PierShare, and can you even imagine the benefits and the advantage this provides for boaters. In fact, it’s even better than the benefits of home sharing. 

For boat owners, sometimes finding dockage is not nearly as easy as travelers on land finding a hotel. Airbnb and other similar homesharing companies put people in touch with places to stay temporarily. 

Beneficial to boaters hesitant to anchor out; dock-to-dock jumps will open new cruising grounds to them. Also, for seasoned cruisers traversing busy areas, the ability to find temporary dockage will open areas previously precluded will allow them to plan voyages more easily.

The pros and cons are many, and in some cases, wildly different from the pros and cons for boaters. If you already understand the benefits and drawbacks, jump toward the end for a comparison of the five main listing options for renting private docks. 

, How to Rent a Private Dock Anywhere // Airbnb For Boaters

The Brilliance of Sharing Piers

Here’s where we get to the greatness; starting in the 1960’s, dockage in South Florida began to become dear as boat production increased rapidly with the addition of fiberglass construction. 

Boaters probably were the first “Airbnb’ers” as captains for decades have been knocking on doors inquiring about empty docks in areas where they would like to tie up. That’s definitely not been the case with land travelers! 

It’s very unlikely for someone to knock on a door and ask if someone has a spare bedroom for the night. Since the number of boats in production rose in the mid to late 1900’s, docks have been in high demand and boaters often do knock on doors and ask about slippage

Boaters already are more accustomed to this practice of sharing a property with the owner, so, the initial reluctance that travelers had for staying in the home of a “stranger” will not be an early hurdle to growth of sharing docks. Dock owners also are more used to the idea of someone borrowing their dock temporarily. 

Added that we’re talking about a place to tie up – not a more personal bed and bathroom – it’s less personal, and no house cleaning necessary!

, How to Rent a Private Dock Anywhere // Airbnb For Boaters

Home Sharing Versus Dock Sharing

The main difference between home and pier sharing is that on land, a traveler or short-term visitor usually can find alternate accommodations in an immediate area. They can seek a hotel, a rental, or even try couch surfing. 

For boaters, until now, if space was not available in a marina; that left anchoring out, mooring, or going somewhere else. It’s not as easy as “any port in a storm” because boats have additional constraints – they need sufficient depth, clearance under bridges, distance for swing room in a crowded anchorage, and more.

These height/width/depth needs limit the number of places available for vessels to spend the night outside a marina. Proportionally, there are far fewer mooring-to-boat opportunities than hotel rooms-to-traveler. 

While anchoring out is far nicer than sleeping in your car, there are limited spots in anchorages, and depth and channel constraints could completely preclude a vessel from anchoring exactly where they are come nightfall, far unlike a traveler on the road.

, How to Rent a Private Dock Anywhere // Airbnb For Boaters

More Differences

Another difference between home sharing and dock sharing is a boater is more likely to want to look at the area before committing. With Airbnb, usually the first view is during check in, but for boaters, that might not work. They might need to swing by and verify depth, bridge clearances, and overhanging trees.

One place I dock has an oddly-positioned palm tree that if I accidentally allow my shrouds to touch, fire ants rain down on everyone and everything. Sailboaters and large powerboats may need to see the area around the pier in advance of committing to several months there.

Usually, Airbnb guests are booking a night, a couple nights, or a week. Long-term bookings of six months or more are not as common with home sharing applications.

, How to Rent a Private Dock Anywhere // Airbnb For Boaters

Docking Options Increased

Now boaters, captains, and boat owners can have a much larger number of docking options available to them. There are three main companies coordinating dock sharing at this time. But first, I want to go over some pro’s and con’s of pier sharing that you might not have considered.

With decades of experience in the boating community, and years of extensive travel utilizing Airbnb; the benefits and drawbacks of home sharing have intrigued me always, and I’ve written several articles about the topic. Adding boating to the mix – this is heaven!

, How to Rent a Private Dock Anywhere // Airbnb For Boaters

Similarities of Home and Dock Sharing Benefits For the Owner

For homeowners, the main benefit is augmenting or creating income from renting out a home, apartment, or space in their home. In fact, for dock owners; this is the same benefit. 

Another possible benefit is a pretty boat upon which to gaze, “yard art;” as long as it doesn’t block your waterfront view and infuriate your neighbors.

, How to Rent a Private Dock Anywhere // Airbnb For Boaters

Similarities of Home and Dock Sharing Benefits for the Transient

Benefits to the traveler or visitor on land are the availability of far more options than only hotels and motels with the addition of private residences for overnight stays provide.

Yet another draw is Airbnb’s original concept; experiencing an area “like a local” by avoiding the hotels and staying in a residential area. I’ve even met people who were renting an Airbnb “long term” for a couple months due to job transfers. That gave them time to slowly and deliberately conduct a house-hunting search. 

All of these considerations are similar with boaters – there’s more availability outside of marinas when you open up the option of staying in a residential area and temporarily docking while seeking a permanent slip. 

I’ve written a lot about how to choose a great Airbnb, and even reviews of some of the outstanding properties and hosts we have experienced. Dockage is the same – there are different experiences, different properties, and different management styles. Now the world of docks is opening for online searches.

Benefits to the boater are an increased availability of dockage in popular areas where everything is booked. Another benefit is the likelihood that there are very few boats on the dock, so less foot traffic. The ability to rent short-term is another huge benefit for boaters, and the flexibility of last-minute bookings. 

, How to Rent a Private Dock Anywhere // Airbnb For Boaters

Drawbacks of Home Sharing Are Similar to Dock Sharing Concerns

Some of the drawbacks are having people in your home or on your property are just that – people underfoot; that’s the same.

Also the same drawback in both cases is the need to tether yourself to computer or phone to communicate, handle bookings, answer questions, and even solve problems. A lot goes into establishing an Airbnb property; not just furnishing the place and figuring out how to lock the doors. Whether home or pier; that’s going to be the same.

Another aspect is that just like neighbors of Airbnb hosts, waterfront neighbors could possibly be rather unhappy to have a boat blocking their expensive view. Some might see the addition of a boat or two at picturesque. But, I’ve talked to waterfront homeowners in South Florida who were very dismayed at having their view blocked. 

In either instance, the additional traffic and potential noise in their neighborhood concerns homeowners. Parking and traffic concerns also figure; more cars and traffic in residential areas do not please permanent residents. 

, How to Rent a Private Dock Anywhere // Airbnb For Boaters

Dock Lenders Have Fewer Variables to Consider

For a dock; there’s so much less for the homeowner to worry about physically. In the listing, either there are or are not lights, water, and electricity. Other aspects are out of their control, like depth of water at the end of the dock or proximity to an inlet. 

Unlike expectations from marinas, no one expects a homeowner to provide bathrooms, laundry facilities, a ship’s store, restaurant, loaner vehicle, fuel, holding tank pump out, haul out, and so on. I suppose dock owners offering any of those will rise to be “super hosts” or whatever the dock-side equivalent will become.

Damage to the dock is a possibility, but beyond that; there’s far less worry for the dock lender. No appliances, furniture, smoke alarms, and definitely no snacks or toiletries expected – so there are far fewer details to fuss over. 

, How to Rent a Private Dock Anywhere // Airbnb For Boaters

Boat Schedules Are More Fluid

Where the difference will show up for the dock owner is in timing. Boats are even less reliable than people engaged in air or car travel. There are so many additional factors that can delay the arrival of a boat; wind, tide, waves, bridges, currents, mechanical failures, and so much more. 

Boats are at the mercy of additional schedule changes. For the dock owner, this means bookings will need to be more flexible and forgiving. While airplanes are more likely to land at their intended airport within a few minutes of leeway, boaters are much more likely to come off the ocean hours later than planned, and sometimes even at a different inlet!

Arrival and departure times through travel by bus, car, and even plane are more dependable. For boats – it’s often an hourly update with the situation changing by the minute. A set check in and check out time would be 

, How to Rent a Private Dock Anywhere // Airbnb For Boaters

Limited Dockage Growth – Finite Waterfront Availability

There is no additional waterfront property being created, so the number of docks is fairly stable. Since waterfront is not being created; then there is not going to be a huge increase in the number of piers built.

Additional homes, condominiums, apartments – there are always more accommodations being built. Always, more availability of hotels or home share options. But not docks. 

, How to Rent a Private Dock Anywhere // Airbnb For Boaters

Natural Progression of the Listings

Then there are companies that manage several Airbnb properties. They actually employ property managers to oversee multiple listings. People are earning income from conducting this in many forms. This will occur eventually on the water, just like it did on land. 

First, homeowners shared a room, then entire homes and apartments were added, then organized companies began listing multiple properties in either an area or places like condominium complex or on home share platforms. 

I predict this will occur in much the same fashion on the water – first will be individual homeowners, then there will be people who undertake to “manage” several dock listings for a small cut of the profit, just like on land. Entire careers are now possible from a concept that existed 50 years ago, but was made viable when Internet connectivity rendered the world accessible.

, How to Rent a Private Dock Anywhere // Airbnb For Boaters

PierShare Backstory

PierShare and its policies will, in time, allow more people to undertake cruising, as well as make the process for existing cruisers much easier. 

Jonathan Timianko’s concept for PierShare came naturally. His parents have a dock in busy South Florida. As is inevitable for dock owners in South Florida, a boater came to them looking for a temporary slip. Initially, his parents were reluctant to rent space so close to their home. They had the predictable concerns; increased foot traffic, another vehicle in the driveway, and so on.

However, the experience turned out amenable to both parties, and Jonathan, though not a boater himself, recognized a need of boaters and an opportunity for dock owners. About now, you’re thinking “Why didn’t I think of that?” Exactly! It’s brilliant! A central booking platform for individuals with docks! Hooray!

, How to Rent a Private Dock Anywhere // Airbnb For Boaters


In essence, PierShare is the first-ever dock rental company that has  payment terms as friendly as those of AirBnb. They process dockings for any length of time. So, boaters can rent docks from day by day to longer-term month by month or even seasonally or annually.

PierShare allows boaters to pro-rate their dockage for up to 30 days during a rental anytime, which allows cruisers who are in a city for a couple nights to rent a dock by the day, or for a week or two. Also, they require boat owners to provide proof of insurance before docking at your pier. Homeowners also should check their liability insurance before renting.

Or, if boaters plan to remain in a city for one or two months to get their vessels ready for a longer voyage, they can rent a dock month-by-month and then pro-rate by the day when they are leaving, and only use a partial month’s dockage. 

PierShare has created the first technology-enabled flexible docking platform, and they say this policy infrastructure will make the cruising lifestyle much easier. (You can read more about these policies in detail if you’d like in this PierShare blog post). 

In fact, I am so excited about this – you know my enthusiasm for Airbnb if you read my blog – that I’ve asked the company to keep track of who finds PierShare from my article. If you upload a vacant dock space to the platform, here’s a link to use so they know you found them here. While using my link won’t decrease your revenue; they may award me with a small percentage to thank me for connecting you with them. Everyone wins!

, How to Rent a Private Dock Anywhere // Airbnb For Boaters

PierShare Online Platform

Upon landing on the PierShare site, there’s a search bar for entering a city. Immediately, options will display with a very clear price per month or price per foot in the upper right-hand corner of a photo of the dock. Length available and liveaboard options are listed below a brief title with location.

Filters available are: liveaboard, 24 hour access, maintenance allowed, fresh water, 120v outlet, 30 amps, 50 amps and 100 amps.

Once the user clicks on the photo, there’s a summary, information about the area and features, rules, discounts, and a map. Options for length of stay are: transient at one month or less, short term of one to three months, seasonal for three to six months, long term of six to 12 months, or annual at 12 months or longer. Next choose an anticipated arrival date, which you can change.

Currently, the featured locations are mostly in South Florida, then scattered. I can see this taking off everywhere. Dock types available are fixed dock, floating dock, boat lift, and even moorings! Owners of docks can accept or decline requests.

, How to Rent a Private Dock Anywhere // Airbnb For Boaters

Marina Listings Through Dockwa and Snag-A-Slip

Dockwa and Snag-A-Slip brand themselves as the AirBnB/OpenTable of marinas. These platforms take what made AirBnB successful in the short-term, the one to 30 day rental market, and apply it to marinas for boaters who need transient dockage. 

The two platforms are pretty similar in that they have a directory of marinas, and then they provide back-end booking software to those marinas for them to manage the reservations that are submitted by the boaters on the front end of the website. This works sort of like where you can search all the established hotels in one area, but it’s still commercial holdings, not private residences.

Prices you see on Dockwa and SnagASlip are the same as you get by calling the marina, just like booking a cruise through a cruise consolidator vice the cruise line directly. So, these websites serve as a new online gateway for boaters to access multiple marinas instead of calling them individually. 

There are very few marina chains, unlike the prevalence of worldwide hotel chains, so boaters usually are not able to book through a single website that shows every worldwide location of a chain. Think of the Hilton Hotels website; you can book anywhere in the world since they have chain hotels all over. 

, How to Rent a Private Dock Anywhere // Airbnb For Boaters


Snag-A-Slip’s network covers more than 500 marinas from Canada to the Caribbean. They have a website, mobile app, and even a reward program for their boaters. Their sister company, Oasis Marinas, operates six marinas and offers anything from consulting services to full marina management.

Initially, they began services in the Chesapeake Bay area, then spread internationally in only a couple years. There are no booking fees, and boaters can earn one free night for every 12 nights’ stay. Their hospitality-focused emphasis, begun in 2015, is on encouraging boaters to visit new marinas and explore waterways.

As of publication, Snag-A-Slip had a Winter Special to list your dock, slip, or mooring for $9.99. Snag-A-Slip does not handle the docking fees – the owner and boater must handle the transactions. Also, I see they allow you to list docks for sale.

, How to Rent a Private Dock Anywhere // Airbnb For Boaters


Founded in 2015 also, Dockwa assists boaters by streamlining marina check-in processes, access to reviews of marinas, and ease of booking and paying for dock space and moorings.

An interesting side benefit of using Dockwa is that once a boater’s credit card is on file with Dockwa, the boater can charge sundries like ice straight to their “Boat Charges” account.

For marinas with slips they wish to fill, online docking gives the boater the ability to book slips in the middle of the night, when a marina office might not be open. That’s a great advantage for both marina and boater!

Another advantage is the security of payments, and not having to give credit card information over the phone or by email. Booking, date changes, and cancellations can be conducted online, anytime.

, How to Rent a Private Dock Anywhere // Airbnb For Boaters

Private Dock Classified Websites through Dock Skipper and Dock Search

Dock Skipper and Dock Search are dock classifieds websites. The owner of the dock pays a classified listing fee to have their dock advertised. They don’t have any customer support, and they are fairly similar to CraigsList. 

Dock owners must give their personal contact and address information. Right now, they are the top result on Google searches for people who are looking for private dock space outside marinas. However, some people might be reluctant to list here, just like being reluctant to list items for sale on CraigsList and having strangers contact them directly.

, How to Rent a Private Dock Anywhere // Airbnb For Boaters

Dock Skipper

Dock Skipper offers listings in the Southeast U.S., Mid-Atlantic U.S., Northeast U.S., Northwest U.S. Midwest U.S., Southwest U.S. including California, the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America, and Canada.

This dockage service offers private docks, marina slips, and moorings, and even docks for sale. Their search engine selections are location, boat size, and distance from selected location. Under type of listing, options are long-term rental, short-term rental, or for sale.

, How to Rent a Private Dock Anywhere // Airbnb For Boaters

Dock Search

On the Dock Search website, I found 159 listings in the United States for boat docks. I think that was for docks for sale. My next search brought up all the docks for rent in Florida, but I had to know the zip code to narrow down my search – the ability to search by city was not an option.

State, zip code, boat length, boat draft, beam and clearance are the search parameters.

The main drawback of the classifieds versus online booking is exactly that – the classifieds give you names, email addresses, and telephone numbers, but no ability to immediately book a slip.

, How to Rent a Private Dock Anywhere // Airbnb For Boaters

More Information on PierShare Now That You Know the Differences

PierShare, just like Airbnb, allows captains to browse individual dock listings and view their details. Also available is a filter function so boaters can narrow choices to specific chosen parameters.

Dock owners can host multiple boats on one dock because PierShare calculates the amount of available space remaining on a dock. One fifty-footer, or two thirty-footers, so, there’s much more flexibility and opportunity for everyone – boater and dock owner.

Renters are screened for having boat insurance and a valid payment method as part of the dock space inquiry process. 

The payment method for the boater is flexible because dockage can be pro-rated for up to 30 days. This creates a standardized set of payment policies that can handle any docking for any length of time. Boaters pay the dockage, plus a 10% fee to PierShare.

While PierShare mostly books long-term rentals for multiple months, I predict the ability to book shorter-term docking is going to catch on like mad with the annually transient boaters. 

The under 30-day pro-rating capabilities makes single day reservations possible. Also, you know, with boats there’s often a delay in departure due to waiting for a weather window. With pro-ration available, this allows boaters to rent for a part of a month, day by day, until their departure.

One caveat – be sure on the “availability” drop down menu while you are conducting search, that you note if you are on “available later” or “available now.” I like to look for what’s available in an area, then narrow down my dates depending on what swell places I find. If you are date-constrained, make sure to choose “available now.” Humorously, I got the “Uh oh, looks like you’ve run aground! We don’t have any docks that fit what you’re looking for.” message during one search.

, How to Rent a Private Dock Anywhere // Airbnb For Boaters

We Don’t Go Anywhere Without:

  • Stream2Sea Reef Safe SPF 20 or 30 mineral, regular or tinted sunscreen, mask defog, shampoo, conditioner, rash guards and more reef-safe supplies. Use my code “DeepWH” for 10% off. The packages are biodegradeable – not just recycled and recyclable.
  • Crisis Medicine Tactical Casualty Care Course knowledge so we can help ourselves. With code “DeepWH” you save 20% on the TC2 course
  • MyMedic Individual Bleeding Control Kits, this link and my code “DeepWH15” will save you 15% on your purchase. We take ours everywhere.
  • North American Rescue CAT tourniquets. Use code “MAY25” for 20% off through midnight on 5/31/20. This is a huge savings!
  • Cycle Booty Citrus Cleanser and Post Ride Cream.
  • Airbnb, “Kimberly gave you up to $55 off your first trip.”
  • Airbnb says, “Deep gave you up to $415 off your first adventure.
  • Uber gives you $2 off your first three rides.
  • Travelex is our trip insurer – click for a free quote.
  • Girls That Scuba – members discount card for all things diving.
  • REI Co-op for great sports equipment and travel clothes.
  • Sailo for $100 off your next boat rental! Discount Code: “KimWa1”
  • PierShare to rent your dock out or rent a dock.
  • BoatUS for your boat towing insurance! Code: “HEWAF88”
  • RoadId for $5 off your cycling/running/kayaking/travel id.
  • Dazer Ii Ultrasonic Aggressive Dog Deterrent Repeller Dazzer – keeping dogs at bay while we cycle.
  • Guardline Security Wireless Driveway Alarm – alerts us when someone approaches. Less expensive directly from the company.
  • Thank you for using my links – your price does not change, but they may gift me a small percentage of your sale in return for my mention, which allows me to continue to bring to you fun content.
  • AD: affiliate links used.

Thank you Bill for being the Best Sailing Partner EVER!

, How to Rent a Private Dock Anywhere // Airbnb For Boaters

Sunscreen and Reef-Safe Toilitries

When you travel, don’t forget to bring a small backpack or bag for carrying a few items to the pool with you. A dry bag gives you even more flexibility and security.

My Stream2Sea dry bag is the perfect size for all my sunscreen, bathing suit or foundation garments, sunglasses case, a book, and a few other items for excursions to the pool or gym. My discount code “DeepWH” gets you 10% off everything.  Stream2Sea have reef-safe sunscreen, leave-in conditioner, lip balm, shampoo, body wash, and even mask defog! Using my link won’t increase you price, and I might receive a small incentive for introducing you to reef-safe sunscreens and more.

, How to Rent a Private Dock Anywhere // Airbnb For Boaters

Airbnb – Make Your Trips “Off The Chain!”

On your way to check out a dock for your boat, why not stay in an Airbnb and live like a local while you’re exploring the area.

Ok, so, here are two Airbnb discount codes. Try either one! The offerings from Airbnb change every couple months, so use whichever gives you the best deal. You can only use a code one time, so compare, choose whichever gives you the best deal since they change periodically, and make it count!

As of today, this one, Airbnb says, “Kimberly gave you up to $55 off your first trip.” Friends who sign up for Airbnb with my link will get $40 off their home booking. And they get $15 to use toward an experience worth $50 or more.

Also today, this one, Airbnb says, “Deep gave you up to $415 off your first adventure. I’m ready to book from this one right now! I’m thinking it’s a computer glitch – so jump on it fast!

, How to Rent a Private Dock Anywhere // Airbnb For Boaters

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SCUBA Diving in Cuba // Pristine Reefs on the North Shore

Planning a Legal Trip to Cuba from the US // Travel Restrictions // Rules for Americans

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Updated September 25, 2020.


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