Miami Beach, FL
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The Miami boating scene has just about everything any boater could desire: opportunities to cruise the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW), an abundance of sandbars, cays, and islands to explore, countless waterside restaurants for dock-and-dining, inshore and offshore fishing hot spots, and so much more.
The most popular boat rental styles in Miami include:
Pontoon boats and other day boats, like bowriders, deck boats, and jet boats, are best suited for sandbar hopping, dock-and-dining, and watersports.
If you’re unfamiliar with the local waterways, consider opting for a boat rental with a captain that can help you navigate and plan a unique itinerary to make the most of your Miami boating experience.
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:
Miami Beach Marina
Haulover Boat Ramp
Grove Harbour Marina
Sea Isle Marina & Yachting Center
One Island Park Marina
Learn more in Boating in Miami Guide: Everything You Need to Know.
Miami is perfect for swimming and boating regardless of the season; however, boaters should be aware of Hurricane Season, which in South Florida runs between June and the end of November.
Avg. Temperature High: Peaks around 88°F in August
Avg. Temperature Low: Around 63-65°F during winter months like December and January
Avg. Water Temperatures in and around Miami:
86°F in the Summer (June, July, August)
77°F in Spring (April, May)
67°F in Fall (September, October, November)
71°F in Winter (December, January, February, March)
The two most popular sandbar locations in Miami are Haulover Sandbar and Nixon Beach Sandbar. If you’re renting a boat without a captain, be sure to double check with your boat’s owner about his/her policies regarding sandbars and raft-ups.
Peak sandbar hours take place on Saturdays and Sundays, with the most popular times running between 11am and 6pm.
Pro Tip: High tides and low tides change daily, so be sure to check the times to prevent your boat from getting beached. This kind of incident could cause damage to the vessel and require a tow.
Location: Google Maps Link
Closest boat ramp: For launching, Haulover Boat Ramp is just north of Haulover Sandbar, while Haulover Inlet and Bal Harbour Marina are just south of the sandbar.
Lat/Long: 25.9029° N, 80.1291° W
Nixon Beach Sandbar
Location: Google Maps Link
Closest boat ramp: Crandon Park Marina and Boat Ramp is the closest location, just north of the sandbar on the north side of Key Biscayne.
Lat/Long: 25.6889° N, 80.1784° W
Star Island, located just off of Miami Beach, is known for its extravagant waterfront mansions, many of which are home to the rich and famous. Because it is a private island only accessible by boat or through a bridge that connects to the MacArthur Causeway, the best and only way to take in the sights of this island is by boat—with a Boatsetter captain who has local knowledge of the area that can guide you on your very own “star-tour.”
Star Island has been called home by celebrities such as Shaquille O’Neal, Don Johnson, Sean Combs (P Diddy), Jennifer Lopez, Rosie O’Donnell, and many others.
Location: Google Maps Link
Closest marinas: One Island Park Marina or Bentley Bay Marina
Lat/Long: 25.7769° N, 80.1505° W
Flats fishing (fishing in shallow waters) is best in Miami’s Biscayne Bay, while heading offshore into the Atlantic Ocean presents multiple opportunities for targeting gamefish.
If you’re an experienced angler, you can browse a wide range of fishing boats for rent, including center consoles, walkarounds, fish-and-skis, bay boats, and skiffs. If you’re new to fishing, consider booking a fishing charter with a professional captain who can be your guide and provide instruction on fishing Miami’s various waterways.
Deep Sea Fishing (Offshore)
Target species: Cobia, dolphin fish (mahi-mahi), grouper, kingfish, snapper, amberjack, sailfish, bluefin and blackfin tuna, wahoo, swordfish, marlin
Seasonality: September through November
Boat selection: Sportfishing boats and convertibles, center consoles, walkaround boats
Flats Fishing (Inshore)
Target species: Tarpon, snook, bonefish, permit, seatrout
Seasonality: May through September
Boat selection: Bay boats, flats boats, skiffs, aluminum fishing boats
Biscayne Bay is Miami’s most popular body of water for boating, situated between Key Biscayne and Elliott Key, which is home to Biscayne National Park. Known as the largest marine park in the continental U.S., its home to Florida’s only living coral barrier reef, as well as active wildlife, turquoise waters, and more than a dozen shipwrecks. This area is ideal for families to go snorkeling, swimming, diving, and to see sea life.
Moorage: Dockage is widely available at various marinas surrounding the bay, starting with Bal Harbour and Haulover Boat Ramp in the north, and Black Point Park and Marina in the south.
Wake zone: Yes - in some areas
Pro Tips: Be sure to check out Monty’s in Coconut Grove, or the Rusty Pelican, located on Virginia Key, to grab a bite to eat and enjoy views of Biscayne Bay.
Hours: The Bay is open 24/7, with the waterway at its most crowded during the middle of the day on weekends.
Lat/Long: 25.5722° N, 80.2321° W
Head south and check out Miami’s infamous Stiltsville, a small group of houses perched on stilts 10-feet above the water, said to be established in the 1930s. This is a protected park within Biscayne National Park, surrounded by calm waters that are buzzing with active sea life and tropical reefs. Raft-up parties frequently take place near Stiltsville, so plan for a party vibe if visiting on a Saturday or Sunday.
Moorage: Key Biscayne Yacht Club or the Matheson Hammock Park & Marina are the closest locations for dockage in proximity to Stiltsville.
Wake zone: No
Pro Tips: Just north of Stiltsville, be sure to cruise by the Cape Florida Lighthouse, which is situated on the southern shores of Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park.
Hours: Biscayne National Park’s grounds at Convoy Point are open daily from 8:30am to 5:30pm, with holiday hours varying.
Lat/Long: 25.6546° N, 80.1744° W
Elliot Key is the most northern Florida Key in the chain and only accessible by boat. It is uninhabited, but does have a harbor, marina and campground facilities for overnight stays. This is a family-orientated destination, far from the Miami party scene and is a great staycation escape for a quick dose of island life.
When finding a boat for rent, coordinate with the boat’s owner to see if he/she allows for multi-day bookings to allow for a camping experience on the island.
Moorage: Elliott Key has a harbor with 33 boat slips available to hold two boats each. Other nearby dockage is available at Boca Chita Key Harbor.
Wake zone: Yes - in some areas
Pro Tips: Boaters can camp on Elliott Key and pay a $35 overnight docking fee. Be aware that at low tide, the Elliott Key harbor shifts to approximately 2.5-feet in depth.
Hours: Navigable waters are open 24 hours a day, as are the camping facilities on Elliott Key and Boca Chica Key.
Lat/Long: 25.4397° N, 80.2001° W
The Miami River and the shores lining Biscayne Bay are home to some of the best waterside restaurants in Miami, including:
Seaspice Brasserie & Lounge
Kiki on the River
The Wharf Miami
Monty's Raw Bar (Coconut Grove)
For additional options and information, read: 6 Best Waterfront Restaurants in Miami to Get to by Boat.
Frequently asked questions
The cost to rent a boat in Miami starts at $89 per hour.
The cost to rent a small yacht in Miami starts at $1400 for a half-day on the water and $2,800 for a full day with a captain.
A yacht ride in Miami costs anywhere from $2,800 to $10,000 for a full day out on the water with a captain and crew.
No, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, which regulates boating, does not require a license. However, it does require that you be familiar with boating safety.
For those that want to rent a boat in Miami, 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 Miami, Florida and at least 18 years of age to rent. It is unlawful for a person to knowingly allow a person under 14 years of age to operate a personal watercraft (a second-degree misdemeanor).
The number of people who can fit on a boat largely 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 rental.
The cost of renting a pontoon boat in Miami is between $200 and $1,000. It depends on the size, location, and rental time of the boat. Prices can range anywhere from $200 for a half-day rental or just under a $1,000 for longer rentals.
The cost to charter a yacht in Miami ranges from $1,000 to $5,000 plus. The cost of a yacht yacht in Miami 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.
A yacht in Miami costs anywhere from $1,200 to $5,000 plus depending on the size and length of the vessel. High end yachts in Miami can cost $4,000 a day or more. Boatsetter allows you to rent a luxury yacht for the day. To chat with a yacht specialist please visit https://www.boatsetter.com/luxury-yacht-charters.