There are a lot of great ways to enjoy your vacation, but if you’re looking to spend as much time outside as possible, it doesn’t get any better than renting a boat. Whether on the lake or on the ocean, you can do a little fishing, let the kids jump off the deck and go swimming, or simply sail through the water, feeling the wind blow through your hair.
You just want to make sure you have the kind of experience that leaves you with positive memories, which means planning ahead. Here are a few tips for renting a boat while you’re on vacation that will ensure you and your passengers return to shore smiling.
Designate a Driver
The last thing you want to do is crash the boat. Not only can it put a damper on your vacation, you could be responsible for the cost of the boat, which could mean you’re stuck paying tens of thousands of dollars. You don’t want to end up in jail either. That’s why you should designate a driver before you get on the boat.
Just like in a car, if you are found with a blood alcohol content of .08, you can be charged and be punished with jail time, fines, and more.
Don’t think you’ll get caught? Think again! Boat rental companies aren’t afraid to work with local authorities to report suspicious behavior, and some busy boating areas have law enforcement out on the water to catch operators who are drinking and driving. Do yourself a favor and make sure the person operating the boat doesn’t drink alcohol.
Take Your Time Receiving Instructions
When you rent the boat, the people you’re renting the boat from will want to show you everything you need to know about how to operate the boat safely. Don’t rush them. Ask plenty of questions and let them give you the proper instructions.
They will show you where you find the life jackets, how to put them on, who needs to wear them, and when. They can show you storage areas, how to operate umbrellas, and how to turn on the lights.
They can also give you a quick lesson on how to drive the boat. They can show you where all the operational buttons are and give you insider information on how each particular boat drives. If you’re feeling nervous, don’t be afraid to ask if they would be willing to take the boat for a spin while you get the hang of things!
Bring Everything You Need
You don’t want to have to keep coming back to shore because there’s something you left behind. You don’t want to bring too much either! A successful day on the water means bringing everything you need, and nothing you don’t.
Things to pack and bring on the boat include:
- First aid kit
- Seasick medication
- Meals and snacks
- Swim cover-ups
- Protective accessories, like sunglasses
Have a Plan For Weather
Chances are, you’re ready for the sun. You’ve got sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses, but do you know what to do if you’re faced with other kinds of weather?
Are you willing to boat in light rain? Do you know how to get back to the dock in the event there’s a dangerous thunderstorm on the way? What are you going to do if it gets really windy? It’s important to plan ahead and know exactly what you’re going to do in all of these instances so nothing takes you off guard while you’re on the water.
Consider Renting a Captain
Are you nervous about operating a boat because you aren’t experienced? Or maybe you just want to enjoy yourself like everyone else, which means not being sober and responsible so you can operate the boat all day long? You can charter a yacht, but if you’re looking for something more affordable, rent a captain instead!
When you rent a captain, you’re simply paying someone to operate the boat for you. Some captains will take you out on their boat, while others can be hired to drive a rental or a personal boat. Don’t be afraid to ask the boat rental company if there’s anyone in the area who would be willing to drive the boat for you.
Renting a boat on vacation can provide you with a day on the water that you’ll never forget. Just make sure you’re prepared for fun, sun, and safety by following the tips on this list.