Point of view / A look back at the year 2018 of nautical services: Is there a life outside the digital world?

Boat washing service afloat

Boat clubs, internet service platforms, connected maintenance... It seems that boating has become purely virtual. BoatIndustry looks back on the main trends of 2018 and the major events in the life of nautical, digital and physical services!

The digital shift is a major challenge for the services of the yachting industry. Its players are preparing for this, as evidenced by the repurchases and launches of websites observed in 2018. New rental uses, boat clubs and other alternatives to ownership also held the top spot. But these aspects must not lead us to forget more concrete services, from training to foil boats and the recruitment or management of marinas.

Consolidation of nautical platforms on the Internet

In recent years, boat rental websites have flourished between private individuals claiming to be the boat's AirBnB. After a few years of operation, they had all gradually opened up to professional rental companies in order to broaden their offer and ensure better profitability. The market concentration that began in 2017 with the acquisition of start-ups continued in 2018. It has taken an additional step forward by seeing major traditional players in the yachting industry take control of the main platforms. The group Bénéteau thus got his hands on Hey Captain and the landlord Dream Yacht Charter on Samboat . The last important independent is now Click&Boat. But behind the websites, it is the contract management tools, the community and the know-how on the Internet that interest heavy goods vehicles in the nautical industry, whose objective is to achieve a global offer, from the sale of new or second-hand boats and their financing, to short or long-term leasing. The Band of Boats website, launched by the Bénéteau group at the beginning of 2018, and its LOA Leasyboat offer are illustrations of this.

Rental, what future for boat clubs?

Find an alternative to boat ownership to meet the expectations of new boaters. This is the challenge of the nautical sector according to all analysts. Throughout 2018, boat clubs, an Anglo-Saxon model of a closed club providing access to boats through membership and user credits, flourished. The independent Boat Club de France, since acquired by Dream Yacht Charter, and the manufacturer Bénéteau had started the process in 2017. They were joined in France in 2018 by the site Jeanneau, associated with the American Freedom Boat Club and by the professional charter company Dream Yacht Charter. Similar models, such as SailEazy for the provision of sailboats, are also developing. While the various actors are happy to communicate on their basic number, the number of members remains confidential, and a priori limited. It will therefore take time to see if this new model that excites the profession finds its audience, but 2018 marked a step in the construction of the offer.

Competition from unlicensed boaters continues to worry rental professionals and authorities who fear accidents. A first conviction in Quimper in 2018 should set a precedent.

The port at the heart of the yachting of the future

Boaters need ports, but marinas also need users. How to attract them? What means do port actors have at their disposal to develop? The evolution of the missions of port managers is at the heart of the debates. The council of State returned in June 2018 to the obligation to transfer marinas to urban communities by the NOTRe law, without really deciding on the attributions. The short duration of concessions and the requirement for major investments make many calls for tenders for renewal unsuccessful. However, projects such as the port of Brétignolles stand out from the boxes and the Compagnie des Ports du Morbihan has announced its intention to leave its borders . In this article, we will see how to roll up long ends. In this example the technique is described for a right-handed person.

Fleet maintenance tools

The connected boxes to manage the boat fleets emerged in 2018. From Sailsense to Nauticoncept, these companies offer base managers a history of the boat's sensors and a useful tool for preventive maintenance, as well as claims management with customers.


With the recovery of the nautical industry, employment in the sector is in tension. Many initiatives were taken to assist in recruitment in 2018. We can mention the arrival on the market of agencies such as AAA Marine or the creation of the vendée nautical campus . In this article, we will see how to roll up long ends. In this example the technique is described for a right-handed person.

Foil schools

There is no boater without a sailing school. The arrival of the foil as a light sail changes the mode of practice. Sailing schools have had to adapt to offer smaller group supervision for greater safety on these technical, fast and potentially dangerous machines. We saw the arrival in 2018 of new offers like the Glénans or the Foiling School of La Baule.

While digital has been in the news, not all nautical services were dematerialized in 2018!

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