Many people think that they need to own a boat to to enjoy a day on the water. However, there are other options available to those who do not own a boat. These options allow boater with beginner experience to use a boat either for the day or even multiple days. These options are perfect for those who either cannot afford to own a boat or do not want to deal with the hassles of boat ownership like dock fees/trailering, maintenance and other related costs.
Rent a boat
Marinas all over the United States have rental boats available for use. These boats are typically open boats like center/dual consoles ranging from 16-25 feet. The requirements usually are a minimum age of 25, basic knowledge of boating laws and operation and a reservation. Most marinas will charge hourly rates and may or may not include gas fees. However, renters are not allowed to bring alcohol and usually cannot use watersports devices like tubes and skis. Additionally, most rental boats have engines with low horsepower ratings for that particular boat length. Ex. A regular 20 ft. boat will likely have a 115-135 HP motor, but a 20ft. rental is more likely to have a 90-100 HP engine. As a result, the boat will not be able to operate at high speeds.
Boat sharing/Boat Clubs
Boat clubs are somewhat like Zipcar where you rent a car as you need. Boat clubs like Freedom Boat Club offer larger boats that are almost always available. Unlike renting, you are a member of these boat clubs and can use boats at any of their facilities in the US. Also, you can rent boats for longer periods of time. A drawback is that you must pay a membership fee which will be more expensive than renting a boat at an hourly rate.
Either option is great for those who are not able to use a boat as often and get their money’s worth by using it. Renting and boat clubs are great options because they have reduced costs and you can just reserve the boat and go without an hassle.