The Future of Shared Ownership Boats

The boat management company Ownerships was a large company in the shared boat ownership world, managing over 100 boats. Its collapse earlier this year left it owing £1.8m in debts, including to the 100’s of owners (maybe 1000+ as the majority of boats had 12 shared owners) has led some to believe that “the public will have lost confidence in buying shares in either new or old boats in a once thriving industry”. With Challenger Syndicateships collapsing in 2008, that’s two major players in as many years, but does it really mean the future is bleak?

There are the 100+ boats cut free wondering which direction to go next and what to do for the long term. Many will have been self-managing these last couple of months until their boat syndicate can decide what route to take, but some have already found a new management company. There are several companies that have expressed an interest in offering management services to ex-ownerships boats – the ones I’m aware of so far include ABC Boat Management, BCBM, Carefree Cruising, Kate Boats, and Norbury Wharf. In addition I received a prospectus from a newly forming company Ownashare Cruising, being run by ex-Ownerships management. So a plethora of options for syndicates wanting to be managed, and additionally some will take the option to manage their boat themselves.

For many owners boat management means the ease of simply turning up at the start of your holiday knowing the boat will be ready whilst knowing its your own boat you use each time, and that it is worth paying a management fee plus additional costs for this. The range of companies expressing an interest to offer management, indicates it is a profitable business. Indeed at the Ownerships General Meeting in May that almost filled the 1200 seater auditorium, they stated that the business model of shared boat management was profitable, as well as willingness to set up a new company if there was enough interest. They received enough response that they “expect to have in excess of 600 members” join the new company.

So will Ownashare simply take over from where Ownerships left off and pick up over half the boats? It is hard to say, there are those who have expressed bitterness at losing money through Ownerships who have publicly stated they have no faith in a new company with the “old team”, and those who have expressed support at the General Meeting for a new company being set up. It’s probably reasonable to expect that some boats will have owners in both camps, and as there needs to be 100% agreement in a syndicate to go with them there could be some hot debates ahead.

One Response to “The Future of Shared Ownership Boats”

  1. Dugsey Says:

    As an ownerships ex-owner, I think the problem with this company was the arrogant attitude of the MD. He would not listen.

    I always found Phil Capp a very capable guy, who would listen and was very approachable, I am aware that he was not happy with some decisions of Ownerships ex-MD. The team he has assembled around him seem very capable, and he will have the knowledge of their capabilities to ensure they can do the job.

    I wish them good luck