Boating in Miami

The Ultimate Miami Boating Guide

Written by Boatsetter Team
February 22, 2022

Last Updated on February 2, 2024 by Boatsetter Team

Boating in Miami is a popular activity experienced by many who visit one of the most popular vacation destinations in the country. Miami attracts boaters worldwide who seek to relax on the beach, explore local islands, fish and dine at fantastic waterfront restaurants. Before renting your boat in Miami, here is a boating guide with everything you need to know to make your experience the best possible.

Best Boat Rentals in Miami, FL — Find it at Boatsetter

Most popular boat rental styles in Miami

Thousands of unique boat make and models in over 600 US locations. The boat types below are among the most popular in Miami.


Pontoon boats are characterized by their flat, buoyant tubes (pontoons) that support a broad, stable deck. They are ideal for leisurely activities and social gatherings on calm waters.

  • Features: Spacious deck, comfortable seating, often equipped with a canopy for shade, excellent stability, suitable for family outings and fishing.
  • Common use: Relaxing cruises, fishing trips, family outings on lakes and calm rivers.


Cruisers are mid-sized to large recreational boats designed for longer journeys. They often feature cabins, kitchens, and sleeping quarters, providing a comfortable experience for extended stays on the water.

  • Features: Multiple decks, cabins with amenities, kitchen facilities, sleeping quarters, suitable for coastal and offshore cruising.
  • Common use: Extended cruising, overnight stays, coastal exploration, and entertaining guests.


These luxury boats designed for private, high-end recreational use. They come in various sizes, from medium-sized motor yachts to massive superyachts, and often include lavish amenities and crew services.

  • Features: Lavish interiors, multiple decks, state-of-the-art technology, luxurious cabins, often with a crew, designed for opulent comfort.
  • Common use: Exclusive private cruises, entertaining guests, luxurious vacations, and participating in yachting events.

Jet boats

These speedy boats are characterized by their jet propulsion systems, which draw in water and expel it at high speed to propel the boat forward. They are known for their agility, speed, and ability to navigate in shallow waters.

  • Features: Jet propulsion, compact design, high maneuverability, shallow draft, suitable for watersports and thrilling rides.
  • Common use: Watersports (such as wakeboarding and waterskiing), navigating rivers, exploring shallow or fast-flowing waters.

Best time of year for boating in Miami

Miami is a beautiful place to visit any time of the year. This area has mild temperatures all year long. The summer months (June through August) provide warmer weather but are the start of the Atlantic hurricane season, leading to rough waters and heavy rains.

There are fewer crowds on Miami waters at the peak of hurricane season (September through November), but there is a greater risk of poor weather and water conditions. December through February are extremely busy in the area, increasing travel prices and making the waterways overcrowded. Finally, the months of March through May are still busy, but the weather is at its finest this time of year. 

Dock ‘n’ dine: Waterfront restaurants in Miami

Many waterfront restaurants have docks or marinas prepared to receive boaters. Experience Miami eateries by boat. 

Seaspice Brasserie & Lounge

  • Address: 412 NW N River Dr, Miami, FL 33128
  • Hours: Open everyday from 12–11:30pm; Closed on Mondays
  • Reservations: Yes
  • Type of food: Fine dining, Seafood, International, Vegetarian friendly
  • Dockage available: Yes (Docking fees may apply)

Kiki on the River

  • Address: 450 NW N River Dr, Miami, FL 33128
  • Hours: Open Fri/Sat/Sun 1pm–12am; Tues/Wed/Thurs 1pm-11pm; Mon 5-11pm
  • Reservations: Yes
  • Type of food: Casual and formal dining, American, Seafood, Bar-setting
  • Dockage available: Yes (Docking fees may apply)

The Wharf Miami

  • Address: 114 SW North River Dr, Miami, FL 33130
  • Hours: Open Thurs 4pm-1am; Fri 4pm-3am; Sat 12pm-3am; Sun 12pm-1am; Close on Mon/Tues/Wed
  • Reservations: Yes 
  • Type of food: Varies depending on the event, Party scene, Bar-setting, Live music
  • Dockage available: Yes (Limited availability) 

Monty’s Raw Bar (Coconut Grove)

  • Address: 2550 S Bayshore Dr, Miami, FL 33133
  • Hours: Open Sun 11am-10pm, Mon-Thurs 11:30am-10pm, Fri 11:30-11pm, Sat 11am-12am
  • Reservations: No 
  • Type of food: Casual, Seafood, Raw bar 
  • Dockage available: Yes

Rusty Pelican

Best places to anchor in Miami

Miami is surrounded by many locations to drop the boat’s anchor and enjoy the beautiful weather and breathtaking ocean views. One popular place to anchor a boat is Nixon Sandbar. When the tide is low, this is one of the most picturesque places in South Florida to enjoy. 

The waters surrounding Nixon Sandbar are crystal clear, and the sandbar is the perfect place to hop off the boat and let the kids run around while you sit back and relax. This location is also a popular nightspot for boaters to gather. Another famous sandbar to anchor in Miami is the Haulover Sandbar.

The uninhabited Monument Island is another beautiful place to anchor when boating in the Miami area. This island is a fun place to visit and provides many opportunities to explore, plus the 110-foot-high obelisk containing allegorical sculptures at the base is a sight to see. This island was created in the memory of Henry Flagler and is a great place to anchor, stretch the legs, and enjoy a picnic lunch.

Marinas in Miami

Miami Marinas

Marinas in Miami offer places for boaters to dock, refuel, and pick up supplies. One popular place to dock is at Crandon Park Beach. This full-service marina is located next to the coastline of Crandon Park. The City of Miami manages and operates several marinas serving local and visiting boaters, offering wet slips, moorings, fuel, and access to nearby grocery stores, restaurants, and other unique shops. Dinner Key Marina and Mooring Facility is located in the Coconut Grove area of Miami. 

Those wanting to dock at a marina close to the Downtown Miami area will find the Miamarina the perfect place to dock their boat. Finally, Marine Stadium Marina Dry Rack Facility offers boaters world-class marina service within walking distance of many restaurants.In addition to the marinas managed and operated by the City of Miami, several other marinas are serving the area. These marinas include both private and public access to local amenities, yacht clubs, and more. 

Popular local marinas include the Miami Yacht and Engine Works, Austral International Marina, Best Western On the Bay and Marina, Bijan’s Seafood Restaurant, and Dinner Key Marina. Additional marinas include Hurricane Cove Marina, La Coloma Marina, North Beach Marina, and Palm Bay Club Marina.

Fishing in Miami

There are many prime fishing locations and incredible fishing species in Miami. One of Miami’s most popular places to fish, especially those looking to capture Tarpon, is Biscayne Bay. This area has several shallow flats, cuts, channels, and mangroves, which are home to several fish species, including Silver King, bonefish, and snook.

The O. L Bodenhamer Wreck is one of the hundreds of wrecks and reefs in Miami and is home to many fish. The area is large, so there is little chance of fighting for a fishing spot. Additionally, the Gulf Stream is a warm-water highway off the shores of Miami, providing many fishing opportunities for boaters. 

Finally, don’t forget to try the waters just off the Miami Airport area, where several fish gather, providing another prime fishing spot. Fishing in Miami may require a license. If fishing with a charter company, no license is needed. However, if you are fishing from your boat or a rental, you must obtain a Florida fishing license.

Best Fishing Boat Rentals in Miami , FL — Find it at Boatsetter. 

Miami boating rules & regulations

Boating safety in miami

Every city has different boating rules and regulations, it’s important to review the boating rules and regulations before your boating experience. Miami boating safety requirements:

  • 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.

General boating safety tips

Boating safety is number one. All Boatsetter boat rentals are insured and on-the-water assistance provided by TowBoatUS.

  • If you plan on drinking, book a boat with captain or designate a driver
  • Keep a close eye on weather reports 
  • Create a float plan 
  • Bring drinkable water on board
  • Follow speed zones (“No Wake Zone”), channel markers, navigational lights 
  • Not operating the vessel when impaired by alcohol or other drugs
  • Obey manatee protection zone areas and remember it is illegal to harass, capture, hunt, or kill any marine mammal
  • Avoid running through seagrass beds

Pro tip: If you ever need towing, or experience a breakdown on the water, contact TowBoatUS by phone 1-800-391-4869 or VHF Channel 16: Hail “TowBoatUS.” Be sure to provide your Boatsetter Membership ID (49000251)

About us 

Boatsetter is the go-to app for boat rentals and on-water experiences. Whatever the adventure, we’ve got a boat for that—Set sail, start the party, go yachting, make your trophy catch, and hone your watersports skills! Download the Boatsetter app (App Store | Google Play). Make sure to follow @boatsetter on Instagram, and tag us in all your boat day pictures for the chance to be featured.

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