Can I Rent a Ski Boat
You may have dreamt many times of sailing on the open water with your closest family and friends, but felt it could never be possible without owning a boat.
Of course, many people do not have the money or the time to invest into watercraft ownership. A lot of us wouldn’t even find it worth it to purchase a ski boat for only an occasional ride.
That is why renting a ski boat can be a cost-effective and viable alternative. However, many people mistake the process as either complicated, tedious, or both. This is quite far from the truth. In reality, the process is very simple. This even applies to first-time renters.
The great thing about ski boats, of course, is that you can pull your pals around in the water, whether they are on skis, or in a tube. You also get to explore the beautiful area around you like you would in any other type of boat. That is why renting a ski boat and spending the day or evening on the water is great way to share time with your family and friends, whether you are a novice or a well-seasoned boater.
The ski boat rental process is really simple, but there are a few things that you may be confused or concerned about prior to your voyage. Here are the answers to all your burning questions:
Do I Sail the Boat Myself or do they Provide a Captain
Believe it or not, there are some emerging boat rental companies that provide an experienced captain on board. This is excellent if everyone aboard is really nervous on their first time out and it’s a great way to get used to the water. However, ski boats are really easy to operate, and part of the fun is driving the boat yourself.
Do I Need a Captain’s License to Pilot a Boat
While every state has distinct laws about getting boating safety certifications and taking education classes, you are only required to have a captain’s license if you are transporting paying passengers. The only exception is Alabama, where all boaters are required to have a license. In South Dakota, Wyoming, Arizona, Idaho, Arkansas, and Alaska, the safety certification is not even required, while many states only require the course be taken by boaters that are under a certain age.
Some marinas offer the state safety courses. Some can be taken online, but most can be done on-site prior to boarding the vessel.
Will they Train Me to Drive a Boat
You don’t necessarily need to know how to drive a boat, though most marina operators recommend that the person that captains the vessel have at least a little bit of experience to be on the safe side. However, most marina operators will teach you the basics of powering the boat.
Whether you drove a vessel in the past or not, every type of boat is different. So, if you never powered a ski boat, the marina guides will usually be more than happy to instruct you. Even if you have a lot of experience, each particular boat is unique, so they will school you on how to pilot their boats and make you aware of any of that specific vessel’s idiosyncrasies.
They will also be sure that you understand the “ways of the water.” This means you should have at least a basic understanding of wind, water current, weather patterns, and other boaters, and how each factor can be significant to the task of operating a vessel safely.
That said, experts say ski boats are really easy to maneuver and even first-time boaters have nothing to be afraid of. They have been hailed as an easy starter boat for novice captains that they can pilot to get used to the water and to determine if boating is something that they may be interested in. They are both simple to control and far from intimidating.
Do I Need Insurance to Captain a Rental Boat
Most marinas require the potential boater to be present for checkout and check-in and sign a waiver that acknowledges that they are responsible for not only the boat, but each passenger on board. This means that the renter is personally liable for any damage to the boat, but also any injuries suffered by the passengers. This keeps the marina clear from any responsibility. However, anything that is the marina’s responsibility, like a blown motor or other mechanical issues, will not be held against the renter.
This is why it is crucial for the boater to be covered by insurance. You can discuss the matter with your insurance agent to see if your current automobile or home policy extends to boat rentals. If not, you should purchase such a policy prior to the rental. Some marinas may even offer coverage for an extra fee through their own provider.
Many marinas may even require an additional deposit prior to the rental. This way, if there is any damage done to the boat, the rental company can keep all or part of the deposit, but only if they determine that the damage was sustained due to negligence. These deposits differ greatly, with companies charging anywhere from $50 to $500.
Usually, prior to the rental, a representative of the marina will walk through the boat with the renter and acknowledge any existing damage on a paper which they will both sign.
Are There Age Requirements for Renting a Boat
The age requirements not only vary depending on the state you live in, but they also change depending on the marina that you are renting from. Depending on where you are boating, reaching 18 years of age may be sufficient, however some companies prefer that the captain is at least 21, or even 25. However, no matter where you go, you would have to be at least 18 to sign a contract and take legal responsibility.
Will the Marina Provide Safety Equipment
All competent marinas know the importance of basic safety equipment such as lifejackets and flotation devices. All ski boats should automatically have them readily available and the instructor should give you thorough instructions on how to use them prior to being on the water alone.
What are the Average Costs
Across the country, ski boat rental typically averages about $350 per day. Just remember, there are also pricing options for rental by the hour or even by the week or month, depending on where you are renting from.
When is the Best Time to Plan a Boating Trip
The peak season for boat rental usually starts around Memorial Day and lasts throughout the summer up until Labor Day. Of course, in warmer areas of the country such as Southern California, the Southwest, Texas, the Gulf Coast, and Florida, the boating season is basically year-round.
That said, you should probably make reservations prior to the day that you plan to go boating. In the summertime, especially on weekends, marinas may run out of rental boats since these are their peak times for business.
What Should We Bring with us on the Boat
Basically, marina experts ask that boaters be aware of the current and future weather conditions and the fact that they may be on the water for several hours. You are expected to think ahead and be prepared.
For example, you may become overheated in the sun, so it is always best to bring a cooler of beverages and ice for both comfort and health reasons. You wouldn’t want to suffer from dehydration so far from shore that you couldn’t get immediate assistance or medical attention.
It can also get really chilly unexpectedly, so it is best to bring another layer of clothing, such as a sweater or a light jacket, as well as a pair of long pants and closed shoes.
As far as equipment like skis, wakeboards, and ski ropes, you may be able to bring your own, but some marinas want you to rent the accessories from them. Be sure to call far in advance of your trip to see what the rules are.
Are there Ways to Rent Boats Online
Some marinas allow you to complete the entire rental process online, but not all do, so be sure to check the website or call the company first.
As for rental platforms, not surprisingly both Airbnb, that typically rents out houses and rooms, and Uber, that is known mostly as a ridesharing service, are now getting into the boat rental business. Airbnb offers boaters the opportunity to use personal boats that would otherwise be in storage, and Uber, not unlike their car service, offers boat rides charged by the mile.
In conclusion, if you are serious about renting a ski boat, do your homework and look into the best marina options for you based on the above criteria. It is not as intimidating a process as it seems at first glance. If you want to enjoy a fun day in the sun and on the water, the extra research sure is worth it, isn’t it?