New app considered 'Uber' for boats launches in Charleston

VIDEO: New app considered 'Uber' for boats launches in Charleston
Updated: Mar. 23, 2017 at 6:35 PM EDT
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MOUNT PLEASANT, SC (WCSC) - Most of us have heard of Uber, the ride-hailing app that you can track and pay for with the click of a button on your phone. That same concept has now hit the waters in Charleston.

HOBA stands for "Hop on a Boat Anywhere" and that is exactly what it is.

"HOBA is an on-demand app for consumers wanting to get on a boat quickly," HOBA founder David Yates says.

It works just like Uber. It shows you the available boats in your area alongside the rate.

"It puts them in touch with the captains personally, with just the touch of a button," Yates says. "You can get it right then and you don't have to wait in line."

HOBA can be used as a coastline shuttle, for round-trips, fishing trips, sunset sails, even booze cruises.

Jeffrey DeOgburn, manager of Water's Edge, says the boating app will bring in more customers to waterfront businesses.

"What's the first thing you want to do on a pretty day? Have a cold beer and not have to worry about getting home safely," he says. "I think it's a brilliant idea."

A boat captain himself, Yates says the idea is centered on Charleston's booming tourism industry.

"All of these local captains are doing really well and I built this app for people like me," Yates says, adding that all captains will have to go through DNR-mandated regulations. "All the captains are going to be vetted in a certain way so they understand that they have to have the proper insurance, licenses and registration and stuff like that."

Yates is already expanding with South Florida and New York HOBA on the horizon. And within five years, he plans for more expansion than that.

"I think HOBA will be all along the East Coast, I think it's going to be in the islands, all around down south," he says. "When the weather starts getting nicer, the more and more boats you'll see on the maps."

Charleston HOBA is officially live and ready to go. The app is free in your device's app store.

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