What to Know About Renting a Boat for a Day

By Debbie Hanson

Apr 01, 2021

What to know to rent a boat for a day. Find out what the boating license requirements are, things you should have aboard, average cost for renting a boat

If you want to venture out to explore new waterways this spring on your family fishing trips, but don’t have your own boat yet, it’s easy to rent a boat for a day. If you’re not sure how to rent a boat or what you might need to bring along, this information can help.

Boating Safety Education and Age Requirements

Do you need a boating license to rent a boat? To operate a rental boat, you may need a boater safety education ID card or boating license depending on the state boating laws. A boater safety education card or boating license can be earned from an online course or in-person class that meets or exceeds state requirements. You can get information on boating safety classes and find out what level of education is required when renting a boat by reading more about boating and water safety.

In addition to a boating license or boater safety education card, what do you need to rent a boat? In most cases, you’ll need to provide a valid driver’s license.

Can you rent a boat if you are under the age of 18? In most states, you'll need to be at least 18 years old to rent a power boat.

Call a Local Marina or Boat Rental Company

If you’re wondering where to rent a boat, call a local marina or boat rental company to inquire about the types of boats they rent and about rental rates. You’ll want to make sure that they have a boat available that is set up for fishing (equipped with a livewell and rod holders) and that fits the needs of your family. Be sure to ask in advance about pricing. Most boat rental companies and marinas will give you the option of renting a boat for a couple of hours, a half-day, or a full-day. Prices generally range from $250 to $450, but the cost will depend the type of boat and how long you plan to rent the boat. You can rent a boat for a day at a very reasonable cost to see if owning boat is something you’ll want to do sometime in the future.

Ask About Boating Safety Equipment

Confirm with the marina or boat rental company to make sure that the required boating safety equipment will be provided (things such as a sound producing device, first aid kit, PFDs, marine radio, fire extinguisher). If you plan to bring along the kids, confirm that youth-sized PFDs will be provided on the boat. In addition to all of the required safety equipment, don’t forget to check the outward appearance of the boat before you leave the dock for signs of anything other than regular use to make sure it’s in good condition (items such as anchors, dock lines and boat fenders should be provided and on board).

What to Bring Aboard a Rental Boat

Now that you know what you need to do to rent a boat for a day, let’s run through a few things you’ll want to have aboard. Bring along items such as sunscreen (lotion, not spray), snacks or other non-perishable food, water, a cooler, towels, fishing tackle and gear, rain jacket, camera with waterproof case, your cell phone, and a cell phone charger.

It’s not hard to learn how to rent a boat. Once you have the opportunity to get out on the water with your family, you may soon find that you want a boat of your very own!

Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson is an award-winning outdoor writer, women’s sport fishing advocate, IGFA world record holder, and freshwater guide living in Southwest Florida. Hanson’s written work has appeared in publications such as Florida Game & Fish Magazine, BoatUS Magazine, and USA Today Hunt & Fish. To learn more about her work, visit shefishes2.com or follow her on Instagram @shefishes2.