Rent, Then You Own

January 2016 Brady L. Kay

They say money can’t buy happiness, so sometimes it’s best just to rent it. However, I’ve never tried one of those rent-to-own places where you make payments on an over-priced couch or flat screen television and I freely admit I’ve never even leased a vehicle. Call me un-American, but if I can’t afford it, I just walk away instead of looking over my payment options.

Some things, such as a swimming suit for example, you just buy and hope it works out. I don’t know too many guys who have ever tried on a swim suit in a store as they searched for the best one. Call it a man rule, but you just don’t go there.  

Now there is one aspect to trying first before buying that makes a lot of sense to me and that’s houseboating. Houseboating is one of those unique adventurers that once you try it you’re hooked for life. But that can be the frustrating part.

Some people never get a chance to experience the joy of houseboating. They might have friends who houseboat, but the price tag on a new custom houseboat leaves them second-guessing their decision and it keeps them stuck at the dock and excluded from the fun.

This is where houseboat rentals make the most sense, especially this time of year when parents are looking for the ultimate family vacation. Instead of driving across the country to stare at faces carved in a rock or blowing your life savings at a “magical” theme park, you could instead be creating a long-lasting memory with your kids or grandkids this summer.

Houseboat vacations are truly unlike any other type of vacation. No agenda, catnaps on the top deck, plus nothing beats grilling up some dinner while the kids play in the water.

Now I’m not going to lie to you, there is some work involved when you go houseboating and that’s why you need to try it first before you buy. If you want to lie around the entire week and be overfed at a food trough with hundreds of other people, you might be more suited for a Carnival cruise.

Anchoring and/or beaching is just part of the experience, but if that intimidates you it’s good to know some marinas offer full service crews to rent that include a captain to help you get the boat where you want to go and get you anchored correctly when you do get there.

As great as renting before buying your own houseboat is, there is actually another major advantage to rental houseboats. Even if you own your own houseboat already, sometimes it’s fun to escape to a different lake or even a different part of the country to quench your houseboating thirst.

I’ve heard of dockmates at a marina getting together with other houseboaters and renting a houseboat for the week, just so they could experience a different houseboating lake. How fun would that be? With so many seasoned skippers, I would dare bet those trips would be a lot of fun.

If you’ve ever been curious about renting a houseboat, this summer or early fall would be a great time to give a try. Gather together your family and close friends and go discover what you’ve been missing. Just to recap: trying on swimming suits before you buy—not good. Giving houseboating a try through a rental marina before you invest in your own houseboat—great idea.

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