Deconfinement: Whether sailing or motorized, on a canal or at sea, will the boat be particularly popular this…

LEISURE Already popular with the French, will boat hire be the ideal way to escape the crowds this summer? Reservations are on the rise in any case

Towards traffic jams on the water this summer? As a maritime nation par excellence, France has some 35,000 boats that can take to the coast and the 8,500 km of waterways open to pleasure boating, and this year, with the coronavirus epidemic, boating could prove to be the truly ideal way to escape the crowds, and rentals are reaching new heights.

A platform for selling second-hand boat engines and putting owners (individuals and professionals) in contact with tenants, the Bordeaux start-up SamBoat has in any case seen a sharp increase in bookings since the end of the confinement.

“Zero to 400 applications per day” at the end of containment.

We went from one extreme to the other,” says Laurent Calando, managing director and founder of SamBoat, “During the lockdown we were obviously doing nothing, but we didn’t even have holiday bookings, and we were quite worried about the future of the company.Then from the 12th of May it started to wake up, and as soon as the weather started to be nice, around the 17th of May, it completely exploded, and now we have a huge flow of requests to manage: in a few days we went from zero to almost 400 requests per day, which is an increase of 32% compared to the same period last year. »

Two trends are currently emerging: “There are those who want to rent a boat as soon as possible, they are generally looking for a motor boat for the day, and thanks to the lakes, canals, rivers, and of course the coastline, you can find a boat just about anywhere in France within 100 km of your home. The second trend is for this summer, where we are seeing more and more people turning to renting a houseboat for a week, where people can be isolated from the world and let off steam,” continues Laurent Calando.

“Boating allows people to stay in the same circle.”

SamBoat, which is present throughout the world, was bought in 2018 by the giant DreamYacht charter company, but remains independent, and today offers 40,000 boats for charter in 76 countries, but it is the French market that is driving the upturn in activity. With the Covid crisis, the Anglo-Saxon and German markets – yachtsmen from these countries are used to renting boats in the Mediterranean in the summer – have collapsed and are not starting up again.On the other hand, France is making a strong comeback, and for this summer, many French sailors who used to book in Spain, Croatia and Greece, are booking for the Côte d’Azur first, then Corsica and New Aquitaine, and in fourth place Brittany. In the region, the Arcachon basin and La Rochelle in particular are doing very well,” Laurent Calando analyses.

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