Owning and operating a boat or water-sports rental company can sometimes be a stressful thing. Especially in the peak of the summer season when units are coming in and going out at a frenetic pace. It can be hard to keep track of everything, and you can lose a lot of sleep wondering if your business investment is being treated appropriately.
Things like theft, vandalism, misuse, and abuse are all too common in the recreational equipment industry. This is especially true with boats and water-sports equipment that is often being run by inexperienced operators on a daily, weekly, or weekend rental contract.
GPS Monitoring Helps With Loss Prevention
These days more and more recreational rental companies are turning to the promise of GPS tracking to help monitor their high-value investment. When you consider the very affordable price tag, as well as the ease of use, it makes investing in a GPS tracking system cheaper than ever.
What Are The Benefits Of GPS Tracking For Boats And Watersport Rental?
When a GPS tracker is installed on a boat, it essentially connects to the onboard power system. Though even smaller watercraft like kayaks can be equipped with small 12-volt, waterproof battery packs which will power the low current demands of a GPS tracking device for days or even weeks!
Once installed the GPS tracking system lets you monitor where a unit is at any given time. It’s especially handy for coastal waterways or other areas where there are protected marine environments. The GPS tracking system can also be set up with a variety of alerts, which send a wireless signal straight to your smartphone or other monitoring devices.
Geo-Fencing For Watercraft
Many GPS tracking units come with a suite of software options that can be used to better define where and how a vehicle is used. This includes being able to set up a “Geo-Fence” for boats and other types of watercraft.
A geo-fence is essentially a predefined area that you set up. Anytime a tracked unit goes outside of that defined area an alert is sent to your smartphone, tablet or other wireless devices.
There are several ways to use this. If you have an established range that your watercraft must remain in, you can provide the rental client with a map that shows the boundaries. You can even include penalties for going outside of those boundaries in the rental contract they sign. This is particularly handy if there happen to be protected waterways or off-limits protected marine environments in the area.
A geo-fence can also be used for loss prevention. There have been would-be thieves who rent out a boat or other watercraft on a week-long contract, who then make off with it, or part-it-out during the 7-day span when it’s out of sight. There have even been times when a watercraft was stolen from a marina during off-hours.
When you have a geo-fence in place an alert is sent anytime a unit moves beyond the boundary. In the case of watercraft like a jet ski parked in a marina, you could even alter your geo-fence to be restricted to your area at night. Then use a second geofence parameter during normal operating hours.
This same principle can also be used during the offseason when watercraft might be put into long-term storage. There’s been more than once when a would-be thief has pulled up to a storage locker with a pickup truck and drove off with a trailered boat or jet ski, only to leave the winter clueless a month or later.
With GPS tracking technology onboard, boats, jet skis, and other rental equipment can be put away and a geo-fence is then established around the storage facility. If the trailer is moved outside of that tight geo-fence parameter an alert is instantly sent.
GPS Technology Helps Maintain Water Safety Rules
A lot of lakes, rivers, estuaries and intercoastal waterways have “No Wake” areas or areas where speed limits are put in place. While these are often clearly marked with signs and buoys, more than one watercraft renter has ignored them in the past. Depending on the local regulations, and the severity of the infraction, you the rental company owner could be liable.
With GPS technology onboard, you can monitor the location and relative speed of the watercraft, including setting up alert parameters for times when a unit might enter a no-wake or other restricted zone. You could even include waivers for violating these terms in the contract, so that if the person does violate a local ordinance, that they bear the liability cost.
GPS Track Technology Helps Schedule Watercraft Servicing
Boats and other watercraft that an engine need frequent maintenance. When something as seemingly minor as an oil change is missed it can lead to a breakdown. Not only could this cost you money in repair costs, but it could also impact client satisfaction. Many watercraft rental companies maintain a tight booking schedule to maximize peak season profits. Especially those in popular areas where there is a lot of competition for clients.
If you have a boat or a jet ski breakdown due to neglectful maintenance, clients who reserved that unit could be irate. In today’s world of on-line reviews, a simple breakdown could even be costly for your reputation.
Fortunately, GPS tracking technology can be set up to monitor things like motor use, power take-off, and other factors that impact your maintenance schedule. This allows you to schedule routine maintenance more effectively, as well as planning around it when booking clients who want to reserve a popular watercraft.
PTO Kills Engines Until Watercraft Can Be Recovered
The moment power has been enabled in the watercraft, you can get a notification that it has been turned on. If you’re fast enough, you can remotely disable the power to the engine, preventing them from being used to make a fast getaway. In the event that the watercraft has gone missing, remotely disabling the engine ensures the thieves have a difficult time getting any use out of it. Alternatively, you can use the PTO to measure just how much use the watercraft is getting over a week or month. It can be incorporated with your regular maintenance schedules.
GPS Tracking Technology Is Inexpensive
When you consider things like theft and loss-prevention, as well as factoring in all the benefits of geofencing, security, and efficient maintenance scheduling, GPS tracking technology pays for itself in no-time. Not to mention reduced liability claims from accidents, and theft will help keep your insurance premiums from skyrocketing on you the next season. These things and added peace of mind, really help maximize GPS technology’s return on investment.