When you’re on vacation in Florida, you may not want to bring your boat down the Atlantic seaboard to enjoy the area’s weather and fishing opportunities. Renting a boat might just be more convenient. Perhaps you don’t own a boat or wish to rent one that can fit all your friends or that’s more suitable for water skiing or another water activity. Luckily, you can find a wide selection of boats to rent. You just have to pick the right one for your needs. Here are the main criteria:
- Number of Passengers
- Activity Used For
Let’s take a look at the decision points around each of these categories.
How Many People Are Coming?
All purpose fishing boats, pontoons and many other boat types fit five or more people. Larger groups of ten or more require larger lengths, such as yacht-class fishing and sailing vessels. Once you know the relative size of your party, you can consider what activities you want the boat for.
Types of Boats
The type of boat you need also depends on what you plan to do on your excursion. Here are the main types of boats:
- Fishing boats vary according to the environment, including inshore, offshore or flats fishing.
- Runabouts are most common when it comes to smaller boats. The include deck boats, bowriders and cuddy cabins. They hold many people comfortably and are ideal for day and overnight cruises, fishing and entertaining.
- Watersport boats are made with water skiing, wakeboarding, and tubing configurations in mind. Boat builders design these boats to be fast, sleek and powerful. These boats are fast and powerful and can tow people and equipment for sporting fun.
- Pontoons are often, but not always, slower vessels with a high seating capacity.
- Cruisers hold several passengers and include a head, galley and sleeping quarters for extended trips and comfortable travel.
Boat engine powered is measured in horsepower, and it varies greatly, generally ranging from 50-hp to 300-hp, depending on the length of the craft and the speed required. You can get a good idea of the hp rating of some of the boats you’re interested in based on seating capacity and activity. The boat rental specialists should also be able to guide you to a boat powerful enough for your purposes.
Florida Rental Boat Licenses and Regulations
Charter captains must obtain a license through the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). This enables them to carry 4-11 customers, depending on the type of license they hold. If you want to rent a boat for your own purposes in Florida, you need to complete an approved boating safety course and receive a Boating Safety Education Identification Card from the FWC. The good news is that if you were born before January 1, 1988 these rules do not apply to you. See Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s website for more information.
Boating while on vacation or during a weekend holiday can be fun and rewarding as long as you choose the right vessel for your needs.