Renting a boat

5 Important Tips For Renting A Boat

Boating in the Gulf of Mexico is one of this summer's most popular activities out on the water. Renting a boat can be a great way to test out different sizes and styles of boats to accommodate your needs, ranging from a full day of fun on the water to getting a feel for the type of boat you may want to buy. Whether it’s by yourself, or with a group of friends, there are important things to take into account when renting a boat. 


  1. Choose An Activity - The types of activities you enjoy can help determine what kind of boat you would need out on the water. Is this for a small party or a social event? Is this mainly for fishing? Are you renting a boat out of sport or hobby for boating? These are the types of questions to ask yourself while planning your trip out on the water. Contact Southwest Florida Boat Rentals and ask for popular activities or suggestions on planning your itinerary.
  2. Research Sizes,Styles and Locations - Not sure what type of boat you might want?  Visit the “Boats”  tab on our website and take a look at our selection of different sizes and styles. We provide boat rentals in Sarasota, Siesta Key, Venice, Port Charlotte, Englewood, Boca Grande, Punta Gorda, and North Port. The amenities are listed for what each type of  boat has to offer such as storage space, safety equipment, stereo systems and more! Keep in mind how many people are in your party, how much baggage/equipment you need to bring on board and what accomodations you might need for the amount of time you rent for.
  3. Check Requirements For Experience - the experience required to rent a boat along the Florida coast does not require a previously obtained license or tons of experience. Southwest Florida Boat Rentals does encourage having familiarity with the area and conditions on the water. Completion of a N.A.S.B.L.A. safety course is proof of experience. For more details check out our FAQ tab or Contact Us with questions.
  4. Review The Rental Agreement - One of the most important aspects of renting a boat is reviewing the terms in the rental agreement. The rental agreement will list things such as costs, damage control, distance allowed from the dock, safety and rescue procedures, use of the boats amenities and the rental timings. Our boats are allowed the freedom of up to 5 miles into the Gulf of Mexico. Ask questions as you shop for a rental that’s right for you. Be sure to inspect the boat and list any visible damage on the agreement before you sign.

Weather Conditions - as much as we would love to be able to plan out the perfect day trip there are some things that are out of our control. No matter how far in advance you may be planning to reserve a boat, contact us for questions about our policy for unsuitable weather conditions. We can provide information on the times of year where the weather tends to be unfavorable and help you to plan accordingly for the best chance of clear skies. Of course even in the sunniest of seasons, weather conditions can go sour before or during your trip on the water. Be sure to ask about safety, safety gear, and rescue procedures before venturing out.

Rental Boat Safety Tip #2

Continuing our segment on boat rental safety, in my oppinion is one of the most tough aspects of boating -

  • Docking


While it might sound easy, this is the time where a lot of damage to the boat can happen. The problem with docking is that you are always in motion in a constantly moving body of water be it current or winds or other boats making wake.

From my personal experience of years of boating, I have a few tips on making the docking process go smooth. 

  1. Prepare to dock by telling all the passengers to be seated and have all your items away from the routes you will take to dock lines and cleats.
  2. Easy does it. Move in, as slow as you can while approaching the dock. Try not to use reverse at all.
  3. Have one designated helper be prepared to push or pull you in at the front of the boat. You can grab the side or rear.
  4. Once you are close enogh, pull your self in and tie up.
  5. When you tie up leave some slack in the ropes to account for tide and the changing load on the boat when people enter or exit.
  6. Make sure your rub rail is pushing against the dock pillars. Adjust the fender buoy in a way that no part of the dock touches or rubs on any part of the fiberglass of the boat.