Rent a Boat Before You Buy
Try Before You Buy
Renting is a great way to compare boat types and models before deciding which boat to buy. Boat rentals come in a variety of forms, from hourly and daily rentals to weeks-long charters. Rental operations may not offer a wide range of boat models, but they can provide a range of boat types for you to try. Rental fleets tend toward basic models, nevertheless, they can give you and your family a sample of the boating fun waiting for you on the water, and they are a great way to get your feet wet.
Marinas across the country offer recreational boat rentals by the hour or by the day. Typical offerings in a sizable lake or reservoir in ascending order of cost would include small, aluminum, outboard-powered fishing boats, ski boats and stern-drive runabouts, pontoon boats, deck boats and houseboats. Most are relatively simple to operate, although regulations regarding powerboat operator licensing and certification apply. A dock attendant will provide brief boating instructions to you before you set out.
Houseboat rentals have become extremely popular in recent years. Companies typically offer boats suitable for anywhere from 4 to 12 or more people. Rentals usually come equipped as a land-based condo would, with full kitchens, barbeque grills and air-conditioning. Some have water slides and hot tubs. You can spend your week aboard cruising casually from cove to cove or you can raft up with other renters for a night or a week of socializing and communal boating fun.
Sailing is an acquired skill, so before you sail off into the sunset in a rented sailboat, most sailboat rental operations will require you to demonstrate your sailing competence to ensure boating safety. Call ahead to find out their policies.
Few vacation experiences can top that of chartering a boat for a week or two in an exotic boating location. The Caribbean is the world's most popular yacht charter destination. Its sparkling waters and it ideal year-round climate can make for a memorable water-based vacation. A number of companies offer sailboat and powerboat charters in the Caribbean. The largest of these companies, focus on sailboats, but have divisions that offer trawlers and power catamarans. Smaller companies offer both as well. Charter boats also are available in many locales across Canada and abroad.
A Word on "Bareboat" Charters
If you're considering a "bareboat" charter, especially in saltwater, where you are the captain, you must meet basic standards the companies set for experience and competence on the size and type of boat you'd like to charter. Consult the company you're considering chartering from for policies.
Fractional Boating Membership and Ownership Programs
Fractional Boating Membership and Ownership programs pairs several “members” on one boat with an Owner and professionally manage the entire process from stem to stern. The fractional company typically provides brand-new well appointed boats and takes care of most of the work (such as fueling, pump-out, maintenance, insurance, etc.) which allows members to focus on learning the ropes and enjoying the boating lifestyle. Members pre-schedule use of the boat online and may get the added benefit of flotillas and additional crew if needed.