The Ultimate Boat Rental Safety List

Written by Boatsetter Team
December 26, 2017

Last Updated on January 14, 2022 by Boatsetter Team

Check out these boat rental safety tips before you set sail!

Boatsetter has teamed up with the New York Marine Trades Association to provide boat rental safety tips before you set sail on your big boating adventure!

Luckily, if you don’t own a boat, there are rental opportunities available that you can take advantage of for those times you are itching to hit the open water. Many may be intimidated by the thought of renting a boat, but in fact, it is a rather easy undertaking. However, even though renting a boat is a pretty straightforward process, there are some important boat rental safety considerations to keep in mind.

Before your boat rent, get schooled up on boat rental safety tips. You don’t want a good time to turn into a living nightmare, and the best way to prevent that is with knowledge. Don’t head out on the open water without first knowing and understanding these valuable rental boat safety tips.

  1. Always be prepared! Being over-prepared is best, especially if you are renting a boat that you have no experience with, or you are renting in a new area. Make sure the vessel you are renting has current maps and charts aboard so you can navigate safely. Part of being prepared is making sure the boat you are renting is well-maintained and is in good working order before you take it out.
  2. Choose a boat you know or choose a captain! While you may have a few boat options to choose from, be sure to rent the type of watercraft you already have experience with and know how to operate. While it is likely that you will have options to choose from, go with the boat you know. Every vessel, due to its design, rides and handles differently so stick with what you know. If you do rent a vessel that you have no prior experience with, the best thing to do is include a captain in your boat rental!
  3. Take a course! If you are a new boater, or just want a refresher, complete a boating safety course certified by the U.S. Coast Guard. Taking a course is the best way to learn and get acquainted or re-acquainted with the navigational rules of the water. You will also learn how to avoid collisions, as well as learn other valuable information that will help keep you safe. You should never take the helm if you are not equipped with the knowledge on the rules of the sea and on how to handle a watercraft. Remember, driving a boat is not like driving a car, as they can be more tricky to operate.
  4. Know the rules of the water! Knowing the local rules and regulations are a major factor, no matter where you plan on boating. Keep in mind that different states can have different laws and requirements, so make sure you acquaint yourself with them before you set foot on a vessel. Especially if you are a young boater (under the age of 21), or you’re from out of state or out of the country. You could be hit with a misdemeanor in certain situations or fined. To help avoid unnecessary and avoidable penalties, make sure you know where the no-wake zones are.
  5. Always check the weather before you head out! It is important to prepare for any inclement weather and to be aware of the forecast. If there is a storm in the forecast, make sure you stay close to shore if you don’t have experience with boating in inclement weather. Mother nature is unpredictable, so make sure you are prepared for whatever she throws at you. It is important to keep in mind that storms can creep up on you, even on days that are forecasted to be sunny and bright. So if you see any of the signs of severe weather approaching such as a drop in temperature, darkening clouds, and changing winds, play it safe by heading back to shore immediately.
  6. Captains can save the day! Remember, if you are a newbie or just find yourself completely underprepared and overwhelmed, you are not left out. You can still enjoy the wonders of the water, even if you are not quite comfortable with operating a vessel yourself. If you feel like you aren’t quite ready to operate a boat on your own just yet. There are many boats available for rent that come with a seasoned captain aboard. This way you can have peace of mind, while still being able to enjoy the day.
  7. Never, ever drive a boat under the influence! It is important to avoid drinking and driving because driving a boat will expose you to conditions and situations that you typically don’t encounter on a daily basis. Mother nature can be very unpredictable, even if you have multiple years under your belt, you should never underestimate the potential dangers of boating. The captain has to remain hyper-aware of their surroundings to keep their vessel, and it’s passengers safe and in one piece. (And, there is a zero-tolerance policy among Coast Guard and law officials out on the water!)
  8. Always file a float plan! A float plan lets others know where you plan on going, where you are departing from, and what time you are expected to be back. Even though it’s not always required, it’s still an important safety step to take. Especially if you are new to boating, or you’re in an unfamiliar area. Make sure you have emergency contact numbers, your cell phone, and an onboard VHF-FM radio that you can use to call for help. Having the ability to communicate will help keep you safe in the event of an emergency. It is important that you know how to operate the radio, so if you don’t, be sure to ask.
  9. Always check into the insurance before you rent a boat! Make sure you are renting your boat from a company that has a focus on boat rental safety. A big part of that is ensuring that all boat rentals include the best insurance possible so you can have the peace of mind knowing that you are covered and protected.

Now that we’ve got all that out of the way…it’s time to have some fun, wouldn’t you say? Your boat rental safety tips are the best first step and next, it’s time to choose your boat!

Check out the Boatsetter worldwide fleet of boats and set sail on your adventure today.

Post and tips provided by the New York Marine Trade Association wishing you happy and safe boating experiences!

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