Common questions about boat rental

Boat Rentals have seen quite a large number of folks in the past 50 years or so, discover the joys of houseboats as a cheap vacation.

Most of them were people who had never been at the helm of a boat prior to their houseboat experience. No experience necessary, is a common theme from the rental companies.

They give you some instruction and some hands-on practice at the helm. They will not let you cast off on your own until you (and they, it’s their boat remember) feel comfortable behind the wheel.

Due to insurance limitations, most companies do not permit you to take a boat rental where waters can on occasion be too rough for the boats they rent in their fleet.

Boat rentals are used for many occasions, bachelor parties, on-board weddings, honeymoons, birthday parties (for young or old) and Thanksgiving outings in which you barbecue the bird aboard.

You and friends can boat out in comfort for a few days of bird watching, go on fishing expeditions, or go duck hunting. A houseboat typically cruises at around 10 mph, giving you an unhurried opportunity to enjoy the water and sights around you as you cruise along.

Boat Rentals (houseboats in this example) vary in size from 35 feet to 65 feet in length and sleep up to fourteen people. Often, a couple of families or a group of friends will get together and share the cost of a rental houseboat.

Common questions about boat rental

Reservations are highly recommended, especially for the summer months. Boats are equipped with about everything you will need, except bedding, food and personal items, further down the page we’ll include a standard checklist for a boat rental outing.

You will have to purchase insurance, pay for the fuel consumed, and pay a deposit that is refundable upon the return of a clean, undamaged boat. Most rental companies accept credit cards.

Minimum rental periods typically are a weekend (three days and two nights) or three-day midweek rentals. There are off-season discounts, and the off-season time period may vary somewhat between rental companies. Pets of reasonable size and disposition are usually permitted, but we recommend you check ahead to be sure.

Other types of rental boats include patio boats, which can accommodate from 4 to 8 persons and usually rent by the day, runabouts/skiboats, that can carry up to 8 persons depending on boat size and usually rent at a half-day minimum, fishing boats with or without outboard motors that rent by the day, and personal watercraft (aka Jet Skis) that usually rent by the hour. We think patio boats (some call them deck boats or pontoon boats) represent an exceptional bargain. They can carry quite a few people and plenty of gear. They are easy to handle and go fairly fast (no, you can’t waterski behind them), allowing you see a lot of the area you are cruising in a short period of time. Most rental patio boats are not equipped with head (toilet) facilities.

For those that can’t bear the thought of being like us common folk, how about renting a fully equipped luxury yacht?

What “other” expenses will there be for my boat rental?

Tax is not included and generally you’ll pay for the fuel you use. If you stay overnight at a marina besides where the boat rental begins, there will be dockage charges and you’ll be required to leave a security deposit. Some operators rent additional “toys,” i.e. kayaks, jet skis, dinghy’s, etc., if you’re interested.

How much will fuel cost?

It depends on the boat and how much you drive. Diesel boats tend to be much less expensive to operate. Most rental boats are gasoline powered and weekly fuel costs are generally a low of $300.00 to $400.00 or higher.

What should I look for in a rental company to know they are good?

Word of mouth is always best or even call the marina they work out of. You should find out how long they’ve been in business, how old their boats are, how old the photo’s they show are, and what their policies are if you are not satisfied with the boat when you arrive. Ask about their policy in the event there is a breakdown also.

What do we need to bring?

First find out what is included from whichever company you’ve chosen. Below is a general guide as to what most companies offer and what you should bring.

Are pets allowed?

Many companies do allow pets, you’ll need to call each one to find out. Keep in mind that it can be difficult for a dog on a boat, a wet dog doesn’t mix well with upholstery and carpet and what to do if your pet needs to go to the bathroom when you’re not near a shore.

How many people can sleep on a boat?

It depends on the boat and size, your rental company will tell you. Never bring more people than they allow, and you should ask how many the boat will sleep and how many it will sleep comfortably.