Fort Lauderdale, FL
Fort Lauderdale, FL
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Fort Lauderdale, located just 30-miles north of Miami, is known by many across the globe as the “Yachting Capital of the World.” Its 165-mile waterways coupled with Florida’s year-round sunshine make this one of the most popular boating destinations in the United States. Host to the world’s largest in-water boat show—the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show—locals and visitors alike are drawn to the local waterways, sandbars, and gorgeous beaches. Up and down the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW), you’ll see a mix of water taxis, local boaters and anglers, luxurious superyachts, and even Venetian gondolas.
When planning your rent a boat or book an on-water experience in Fort Lauderdale, consider these popular boat rental styles:
As the ‘yachting capital of the world,’ you can probably guess that motor yachts and cruisers are a hot comedy around these waterways. Perfect for larger groups and corporate events, most of these rentals will come with a professional captain.
Pontoon boats and other day boats, like bowriders, deck boats, and jet boats, are best suited for exploring the local sandbars and dock-and-dining along the New River.
Boating License/Education Rules: All Florida residents born after January 1, 1988 who operate vessels with 10-horsepower or more must carry a Florida Boating Safety Education identification card. You must be at least 14 years of age to operate a personal watercraft (PWC).
Life Jacket Requirements: Children ages 6 and under must wear a PFD.
For more information, visit the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Where to dock your boat, or meet your rental:
Pier Sixty-Six Marina
Las Olas Marina
Bahia Mar Yachting Center
New River Downtown Docks
Marina Bay Marina
To learn more, be sure to read this Fort Lauderdale Boating Guide.
In Fort Lauderdale, the summers are hot and humid; while, winters are slightly cooler but mild. Also, skies during winter months are mostly clear, but boaters should be aware of Florida’s active hurricane season that runs through . The best climate in Fort Lauderdale for warm-weather activities is from early November to early May.
Avg. Temperature High: Peaks around 89°F in August
Avg. Temperature Low: Around 62°F during January
Avg. Water Temperatures in and around Fort Lauderdale:
75°F in the Spring (March, April, May)
83°F in the Summer (June, July, August)
80°F in Fall (September, October, November)
68°F in Winter (December, January, February)
South Florida’s vast Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) touches many of the East Coast’s most popular water destinations— including—you guessed it—Fort Lauderdale! If you’re unfamiliar with navigating the ICW, consider booking your rental with a professional captain. Whether you are at the helm yourself or you opt for a captain, the ICW is a gateway to discover Fort Lauderdale's inland bays, party coves, and popular sandbars; not to mention the numerous great waterfront restaurants. Whether your crew is young and ready to party, or you’re a family looking for relaxation and leisure, the ICW offers something for everyone.
Wake Zone: Navigating the Intracoastal Waterway for the first time can be intimidating for some. You’ll want to be aware of channel markers, wake zones, and other aids to navigation that can help you along the way. Also be sure to read our helpful Guide to Navigating Florida’s ICW.
Pro Tip: The ICW is thousands of miles long, needless to say, there’s much to do and see here. Make the best out of your day on the water in Fort Lauderdale and book a full-day boat rental.
Marinas: Las Olas Marina, Hall of Fame Marina, Pier Sixty-Six Marina
Top Add-ons (varies by boat): Lily pads and floats, snorkeling gear, fishing equipment, and more!
If this is your first time boating in Fort Lauderdale, you won’t want to miss visiting one of three popular local sandbars: the Fort Lauderdale Sandbar (also known as the ‘Triangle;’ within the New River), Lake Sylvia (south of Bahia Mar), and the sandbar on Whiskey Creek (near John Lloyd State Park). Make sure to stock up your cooler with your favorite drinks, adult beverages, and plenty of water. You could also bring aboard a couple of subs from your favorite deli, or order directly from Jay’s Sandbar Foodboat, which is anchored and open for business every Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 8pm.
Location: Google Maps Link
Pro Tip: The first sandbar is located at the intersection of New River. Our team recommends arriving at the sandbar before noon to secure a primate location. Be sure you anchor your boat outside of the nearby channel.
Lat/Long: 26.1116° N, 80.1181° W
You’ll be tempted to dock at many of Fort Lauderdale’s iconic restaurants on your cruise downtown along the New River. To go bar hopping by boat here, be sure to book a boat with a captain who can be your sober skipper and local tour guide. Dock at Boathouse to enjoy the views of water traffic while you sip on a glass of their fine house wine. Next, go to the Pirates Republic Seafood Restaurant and order the house’s popular exotic drink: Caprinha. End your New River adventure at Marti’s New River Bistro for their delectable shrimp bloody mary.
Pro Tip: The best time of day to go bar hopping on New River is between the hours of 11am and 2pm or 5pm and 7pm.
Closest dock: New River Downtown Dock
Lat/Long: 26.1109° N, 80.1123° W
Lake Sylvia is a hidden gem located just off the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW), north of Fort Lauderdale. Hop on a pontoon with the family and enjoy the small crowd of sunkissed Floridians that hang out here (don’t worry parents—this is a very family-friendly environment, you won’t find much of a party crowd here). If you have small children pack their floaties, the waters of Lake Sylvia are protected, warm and gentle. You and your crew will most likely be hungry after all the fun, nearby Lake Slyvia is Boatyard, a waterfront steakhouse with specialty beverages, and dishes even the kids will enjoy.
Dockage: Leaving from the southwest corner, boaters can head west on the canal under the 7' bridge. Once you continue up the ICW, you can enter the canal just south of SE 15th Street where you’ll find a public boat ramp at Cox’s Landing.
Pro Tips: The water depth in Lake Sylvia can vary greatly depending on your location. Be sure to keep an eye on your depth finder and look for shallow areas.
Target fish species: Bass, catfish, crappie, perch, and sunfish.
Lat/Long: 26.1048° N, 80.1115° W
Also fondly known as Fort Lauderdale's 'Central Park,' Hugh Taylor Birch State Park is the green speck amid a concrete jungle located between the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway. To get here by boat, and cruise around Sunrise Bay or Coral Bay. On one side of the bay, you'll have the thick tropical hammock trees of Hugh Birch Taylor State Park; on the other side, you'll see Fort Lauderdale's famous luxury waterfront mansions. There are many more spots, like the Bonnet House and Garden, sitting just south of Coral Bay! This is a highly attractive area, so you'll likely see many others oohing and aahing at all the beauty surrounding them.
Dockage: Yes - the park has a public floating dock and pavilion so boaters can access the park via the Intracoastal Waterway.
Pro Tips: Fishing is allowed in the park, but be sure to keep an eye out for 'No Fishing' signs. No fishing is permitted in waters within the interior of the park, such as the mangroves or the coastal dune lake.
Lat/Long: 26°08′42″N 80°06′18″W
At the heart of Downtown Fort Lauderdale is New River, a system of canals providing visitors with the best views of this city. Hop on a boat to take a cruise downtown that offers a variety of experiences and places to see that will interest all ages. Follow one canal and you’ll see rows of colonial, oriental, and even modern mansions. Go down another canal and dock at The Wharf for a quick bite and one of their specialty drinks. You have 30 leisurely miles of waterway to explore in this ‘Venice of America.’
Launch from: New River Downtown Dock
Notable sights: Cooley’s Landing Park, Axis Star, History Fort Lauderdale Museum
Fun fact: Historic Stranahan House, built in 1901, is Fort Lauderdale’s oldest surviving home, and is located on the New River. Come here with a professional captain for a history lesson and a view into this city’s past.
Lat/Long: 26.1109° N, 80.1123° W
The Historic Downtowner
The Pirate Republic Seafood and Grill
Rustic Inn Crabhouse
For additional options and information, read: 6 Best Restaurants on the Water in Fort Lauderdale to Get to By Boat.
Frequently asked questions
The cost to rent a boat in Fort Lauderdale starts at $89 per hour.
For those that want to rent a boat in Florida, Florida law requires individuals born on or after Jan. 1, 1988 to complete an approved boating safety course and obtain a Boating Safety Education Identification Card issued by the FWC.
A person must be at least 14 years of age to operate a personal watercraft in Florida. A person must be at least 18 years of age to rent a personal watercraft in Florida.
The cost to rent a small yacht in Florid starts at $1500 for a half-day on the water and $3,500 for a full day with a captain.
Yes, passengers can drink alcoholic beverages on a boat in Florida. It is against the law, however, to operate a motor vehicle in Florida with an open container of alcohol. But if you travel by boat, or plan a party aboard your vessel, it is not illegal for the operator to be drinking an alcoholic beverage -- it is, however, illegal to drive a boat while drunk or while drinking an alcoholic beverage.
Boat insurance isn't legally required in Florida, however you should have boat insurance so that you don't have to pay out of pocket for any boating instances. Good news is that Boatsetter has you covered with full insurance coverage on your boat rental. Boat insurance typically covers loss caused by things such as fire, sinking, storms, and collisions. The extent of the coverage varies depending on the policy.
No, you do not need a boating license to rent a boat in Florida. The short answer is no; the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, which regulates boating in Florida, does not require a Florida 'boating license'. However, it does require that you be familiar with boating safety.
If you are not comfortable having a renter drive your boat, we have an expansive network of licensed and experienced captains. Once your boat is listed, you can filter through our network of captains and favorite captains in your area that you would like to operate your boat.
At Boatsetter, our mission is to make getting out on the water as easy as possible. With our intuitive booking system, you can rent a boat as soon as today. First, you must determine your budget and the type of boat you want to rent. Next, decide where you would like to boat and the kind of boat you would like to spend the day on. Finally, determine if you will be needing a boat captain and reach out to the boat owner. That's it! You're officially on your way to a fantastic day out on the water.
What makes Boatsetter different is peace of mind. Boatsetter is the first and only boat rental marketplace to offer insurance on every peer-to-peer boat rental. We know choosing the right boat rental platform is essential to your experience while on the water. That's why we've gone the extra mile to focus on safety through our exclusive partnership with GEICO Marine and BoatUS. As the first and only boat rental marketplace to offer insurance on every peer-to-peer rental, you are protected during all rentals with insurance coverage and on-water assistance through TowBoatUS.
The cost to rent a yacht in Fort Lauderdale starts at $220 per hour. Renting a private yacht is a very detailed experience that caters to your exact needs while onboard one of our luxury yachts. To plan your private yacht rentals experience please visit https://www.boatsetter.com/luxury-yacht-charters
Booking a month-long yacht rental is a detailed and hands-off process when working with our team of yacht charter specialists. We tailor each boat charter to our client's specific wants and needs. Our luxury yacht charter specialists can be reached at (954) 715-4114 or by visiting https://www.boatsetter.com/luxury-yacht-charters
Boatsetter allows its customers to rent a yacht for the week. Renting a yacht for a week gives you more access to the wide range of yachts available on our platform. You can either book a rental directly through the site or connect with one of our yacht charter specialists to plan your trip here: https://www.boatsetter.com/luxury-yacht-charters
A yacht ride in Fort Lauderdale costs anywhere from $2,800 to $10,000 for a full day out on the water with a captain and crew.
The number of people who can fit on a Fort Lauderdale boat rental depends on the boat's size and how many life jackets are on board. Currently the coast guard allows a maximum of 10-12 people on a Boatsetter boat rental.
The cost of renting a pontoon boat in Fort Lauderdale is between $230 and $1,300. It depends on the size, location, and rental time of the boat. Prices can range anywhere from $250 for a half-day rental or just under a $1,500 for longer rentals.
Boat insurance typically covers loss caused by things such as fire, sinking, storms, and collisions. The extent of the coverage varies depending on the policy.
Yes! Listing a boat is completely free. We only take a commission when your boat is rented. We only make money when you do!
Yes. We use a system called Cognito to ensure that payment information matches the renter's identity. We also require renters taking out a captained boat to be at least 18 years old and on a bareboat to be at least 25 years old.
The cost to charter a yacht varies depending on the boat size and the length of the charter. Prices typically range from less than $1,000 to $5,000 plus if you're wanting to charter the yacht overnight.