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Renting a boat is a lot like renting a car, and offers you access to a boat when you want it without the costs and hassles of maintenance and storage. Renting is also a great way to compare boat types and models before deciding which boat to buy.

Match boat types to the kind of boating you would like to do

Are you looking to go fishing, pull a wakeboard behind you, or just laze around on the water? Before you start searching for boats, think about the type(s) that best suit your interests for your boating excursion.

Search for “boat rentals” and your chosen location in a browser

For instance, if you are travelling to Erie, Pennsylvania, and want to rent a boat to go out on Lake Erie, just click here “boat rentals Erie PA.” If you know the specific type of boat you would like to rent, you might type “pontoon boat rentals Erie PA” instead, for instance.

Decide if you want to pilot the boat or hire a captain

If you are looking to just relax on the water, you may be better off renting a boat that comes with an experienced captain as part of the deal. However, if you want the full boating experience, you may want to rent just the boat and pilot it yourself.

Check the safety regulations where you’ll be boating

Especially if you’re interested in piloting the boat yourself, take the time to research the local or state requirements for driving a boat. These can vary widely in the U.S. and elsewhere. Alaska, for instance, has no requirements, while most states and Canadian provinces have their own specific requirements.

Talk to your insurance company about boating coverage

Any boat you decide to rent should be insured, and you may be given the option of paying for additional insurance against damage or injury. However, you may want to check ahead of time whether your car insurance company offers the option of adding short-term boaters’ insurance coverage.

Examine the boat carefully and document any damage

When you have made your rental selection and arrive to pick up the boat, take a few minutes to visually inspect it before accepting the keys. Look for scratches, holes, dents, tears, and other damage, and document these in writing. Keep one copy of this documentation for your records and give one to the rental agent.

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