Buying a boat can be a major investment. Unless you have a lot of spare cash, it’s likely that you will probably even need to take out a boat loan to obtain your boat. While you may think a certain type of boat is what you really want, before you make the investment and get “stuck” with the boat you best be sure. One way you can be sure that the type of boat you want to buy is right for you is to borrow the same type of boat from a friend or family member. If you don’t have a friend or family member who owns the type of boat you’re interested in obtaining, you can always get it through a boat rental.
Boat rental is a lot like car rental. Just like with car rentals, you have different options for how long you would like to rent the boat for. Most boat rental places will allow you to rent a boat on an hourly, daily, and weekly basis. Obviously the longer you have the boat for, the better of an idea you’ll have of whether or not that type of boat is one in which you truly would like to own.
It should be mentioned though, that certain state restrictions may apply if you would like to rent a powerboat. If this is the type of boat you’re thinking about getting, be sure you call the boat rental place in advance and check to make sure whether you can rent a powerboat without licensing or certification, if you don’t have them. Most larger boat rental places will have a variety of types and models available for you to rent.
Also, if you want to rent a sailboat, the boat rental place will probably want to ensure that you have minimum basic skills handling a sail boat. You may be required to demonstrate your knowledge. If you don’t much about sailing, but will learn when you have a sail boat, you may have to bring along a friend who does know how to sail when you rent the sail boat. Again, check with the boat rental place about this before you go.
When it comes to renting a boat, make sure the boat rental place is legitimate. If you know people who have rented boats, ask around and see if they’ve had a good experience. If this isn’t possible, check with your local Better Business Bureau.
If you have limited or no boating experience, its not a good idea to go out on a rented boat alone. You should be sure to bring at least one other person with you. In case something happens, you’ll have someone else there to rely on for help.
Before you take the boat into the water, make sure the boat has either functioning navigation equipment or up to date charts. The last thing you want to do is to get out on the water and get completely lost. This is especially true if you are going into open water.
If you have a digital camera bring it along too Before you take the boat out, while someone from the boat rental place is still there, have them walk through the boat with you. Take pictures of any visible damage that you see, as you point it out to the boat rental employee. You don’t want to lose your deposit because of damage that someone else did to the boat.
Make sure the radio equipment works. If you don’t have experience with boat radio equipment, be sure that you ask how to properly work it. You don’t want to be in a bad situation and not know how to contact the Coast Guard or other law enforcement for help. If you have a cell phone, be sure to bring it along too.
Make sure there is safety equipment on the boat. Be sure that there are enough life jackets for everyone who is coming aboard with you. You should also be sure the boat has a life ring or other types of water retrieval devices. If someone falls overboard, you want to be able to throw something out to them and reel them safely back to the boat.
By taking advantage of a boat rental, you’ll better be able to decide whether or not the type of boat you’re looking to buy will be right for you. If you have limited, or no boating experience, check in advance whether you’ll be able to rent the type of boat you’re interested in. Make sure the place you are renting the boat from is reputable. Make sure you understand how to operate all equipment on the boat, especially the safety equipment before you take it onto the water.