It’s an amazing time of year to be on a boat fishing in The Intracoastal Waterway or to take a fishing charter in the Gulf of Mexico off the shores of Sanibel Island. Need a boat? That’s not an issue in the Southwest Florida area. We’ll teach you the tips you need to know this summer about boat rentals on Sanibel Island.
Review Boat Rental Companies
You already know you want to have a boating adventure while you’re enjoying Sanibel Island, its beautiful sunsets and white sandy beaches. The great fishing and wildlife are an added bonus. But how do you find the right boat to choose from? Search the Internet for “boat rentals” in the Sanibel Island area. When reviewing boat rental operators, research the following:
- The ratings of rental operators
- The reviews given by previous customers
- The prices for half day and full day rentals
Rental Boat Licenses and Regulations
Each state has different age and license requirements for boaters. Boat rental operators and charter captains are required to have a valid boat license, which is regulated by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). This license allows operators to carry anywhere from 4 to more than 11 customers on board a boat, depending on which charter boat license they carry.
For those wishing to rent a boat in Florida, Florida law requires anyone born on or after Jan. 1, 1988 to successfully complete an approved boating safety course and obtain a Boating Safety Education Identification Card issued by the FWC. Other questions about obtaining a boating card can be found here.
If you are visiting from another state and meet the boating safety requirements elsewhere, you can obtain a temporary Florida boating certificate from a list of vendors. Make sure you ask your boat rental operator what they require before you show up to rent a boat.
What’s in the Rental Agreement?
Boat rental agreements vary so make sure you read the fine print before you sign them. Some limit how far you can travel from the marina. Normal wear and tear for boat use is allowable but if you come back with a smoking motor or a torn up propeller, be prepared to take out that checkbook and pay up.
Rental agreement tip: Make sure it’s clear exactly where you’re allowed to traverse the waters in your rental boat. Boating outside the confines of the area listed in the agreement is a contract breaker.
Are Boat Rentals Insured?
A rental company’s liability coverage is outlined in your boat rental agreement. Accepting all responsibility for anything that happens to the boat and motor regardless of cause is a common boat renting practice.
Rental Insurance Tip: Contact your insurance company to find out what your existing policy might cover for rental boat damage.
Perform a Rental Check
Examine that rental boat closely before you hit the open seas and jot down any issues with the vessel before you board your rental boat. This prevents you from being accused of causing previous damage to a rental boat. List the following on your rental agreement before you sign it:
- Scratches and dents on the hull
- Damage to the motor or propeller
- Seat stains
- Windshield cracks
- Missing, broken or loose fittings
What Safety Equipment is Provided?
Boat rental operators must have all necessary safety equipment on board your boat. Make sure your rental boat operator shows you where the life jackets are stored and gives you a tour of your boat prior to leaving the marina.
Safety Tips: Make sure you have enough life jackets for every passenger and that children wear life jackets at all times.
Rent a Boat
Now all that’s left to do is rent a boat. How do you choose the perfect boat? Here’s a sampling of boats you can try on Sanibel Island:
- Pontoon fishing boats – These boats are fun for cruising the Intracoastal Waterway for fishing or for enjoying the view while you look for dolphins. You can fit a dozen people on a pontoon cruiser or accommodate your fishing party.
- Deck boats – Deck boats are fun for fishing or taking the family on a pleasure cruise. Deck boats also can fit a dozen people, which have a flatter bottom and less bow rise (lifting of the boat during acceleration).
- Grady White Bowriders – Grady Whites are popular fishing boats. The 20-foot Bowrider holds seven people and comes with a bimini top and dual console side seating.
Now that you are prepared for your summer boat trip on Sanibel Island, all you need is to rent a boat at Port Sanibel Marina. We also offer kayak and canoe rentals and you can schedule a charter to do some serious fishing in the Gulf of Mexico. Call us at 239-437-1660 to plan your trip and your water sport activities today. Our captains and rental activity operators are prepared to answer questions about boat rentals and help you pick the right activities that will make your Sanibel Island experience on the water a memorable one.