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Rent a Boat in MiamiThe 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.What To KnowThe most popular boat rental styles in Miami include:
Cruisers and motor yachts, for sunset cruises, corporate events, bachelor or bachelorette parties, and scenic tours of the Miami River and Star Island.
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.Safety Requirements:
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.
Learn more in Boating in Miami Guide: Everything You Need to KnowWeather ConditionsMiami 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 AugustAvg. Temperature Low: Around 63-65°F during winter months like December and JanuaryAvg. 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)
Things to Do in Miami by Boat
Go Sandbar HoppingThe 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.Haulover Sandbar
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
Celebrity and Real Estate Tours Around Star IslandStar 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.
Closest marinas: One Island Park Marina or Bentley Bay Marina
Lat/Long: 25.7769° N, 80.1505° W
Pick Your Adventure: Deep Sea or Flats FishingFlats 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
Boat selection: Bay boats, flats boats, skiffs, aluminum fishing boats
Where to Go Boating in Miami
Biscayne BayBiscayne 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.
StiltsvilleHead 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.
Elliott KeyElliot 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.