Choose Florida Keys Boat Rentals
To Match Your Vacation Plans
Florida Keys boat rentals are available just about anywhere from Key Largo to Key West.
No wonder when you consider that the Florida Keys are surrounded by some of the most beautiful water on earth.
Here you have an abundance of Florida Keys water sports to enjoy, whether it's fishing, diving, pleasure boating or Florida Keys snorkeling and diving.
The key is finding the boat rental that's right for you.
You also need to ensure that you have all the information you need so you have no surprises, either when it's time to rent, or later when you're out on the water.
Test Certificate Requirements And
How To Obtain Florida Boating License
For Florida Boat Rentals
Today, any Florida boat rental you may be considering now comes with a stipulation.
If you were born on, or after January 1, 1988 and are going to operate a boat with a 10 hp motor or larger, you must take an test. This ensures that you know how to operate a boat and are familiar with important boat safety tips.
This also applies to personal water craft, which have additional rules attached. First no one under the age of 14 is allowed to operate a PWC, and no one under the age of 18 is allowed to rent a personal water craft.
Jet Ski Rentals Have Safety Restrictions
Anyone who is 21 or younger must carry proper ID and a Boater Education ID card. If you are a Florida resident and you're looking to rent or operate a personal water craft or boat rental on your Florida Keys vacation, you'll need to get this official boater safety certification.
If you're from out of state or out of country, you'll still need to have proper boating license certification. This can be done several ways. If you know you're going to include Florida Keys boat rentals as part of your Florida vacation plans, you can take the boating license test on line.
Go to the test page on Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission's
website and select from the menu of online companies.
The cheapest and easiest thing to do this, is choose the one marked FREE that's offered through boatus.com.
Once you take the test you should then print out your certificate of completion and fax a copy of it to 1-850-488-9284.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission will then issue you a permanent, lifetime ID within 2 - 3 weeks. You can also call 1-850-488-5600 and request a copy of the How To Boat Smart book
which includes an operating test you complete. Once you're done, follow the instructions to receive your Florida boaters license lifetime operators card in the mail.
If you arrive in the Florida Keys without having secured your permanent lifetime card, you can get a 12 month temporary Florida boaters license certificate from most boat and personal water craft rental facilities. You'll have to take a test, and if you pass, they'll issue you a pink slip authorizing you to operate any of their Florida Keys boat rentals for a 12 month period.
There are no age restrictions for someone to operate a boat. As long as you've passed the boat test, have your temporary pink slip or lifetime card, and photo identification with you, you can operate any boat. This is not true for personal water craft which requires an operator to be 14 years of age or older.
You should also make sure you're familiar with all the Florida State boating rules and regulations
that apply to the various types of boat rentals in Florida Keys you may be considering.
Whether you plan on pleasure boating, fishing, scuba diving or snorkeling Florida Keys, someone has a boat waiting for you. The trick is getting the boat rental you know how to operate, are comfortable with, includes all the bells and whistles you want, and still fits your budget.
Safe Boating Tips
Understanding Florida Keys Weather,
Water and Tides
When it comes to boat rentals Florida Keys has many options, but you'll need to do your research to get the one right for you. You'll also need to learn and understand about the water you'll be traveling on, once you've got your rental boat.
You should review this page of particularly useful NOAA nautical charts. This is their list of marine charts including Alaska, San Francisco, Great Lakes and other maritime areas. However, the NOAA nautical charts pertaining to the Florida Keys are marine charts #11432 - #11465.
These printable free nautical charts provide you with the navigating conditions from Miami to Key West FL
in a zoomable format.
These free nautical charts will give you a better idea of where to go, what places to avoid, what to watch for, and it will make your Florida boating experience safer and more enjoyable.
Once you better understand the water conditions around you, you'll have a better understanding of what you'll need for a boat rental.
Florida Keys Weather Is Dangerous When Thunderstorms Form
State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, Dale M. McDonald Collection
Also, the weather in the Florida Keys can be unpredictable, especially during the rainy season. Waterspouts
are common, and afternoon thunderstorms are the rule of the day.
This means when Florida weather threatens, you need to get your rental boat back to shore fast. If any of the Florida Keys boat rentals you're considering have all the bells and whistles but NOT
a powerful enough engine, you should consider another rental boat. If your Florida boat rental has a smaller engine, you should plan on staying close
No matter what size of rental boat you head out in, you should always check the weather forecast first. This marine weather forecast link
will give you up to date Florida Keys weather for the whole region.
Included you'll find helpful tide and cloud cover information, weather alerts and forecasts, lightning protection tips, water temperatures and other helpful, interesting tools to keep you safe.
Florida Keys Boat Rental Tips
Before you spend any money, start off by asking lots of pertinent questions. You don't want to end up with a boat that's a lemon, or with one that's not suited for the type of water sport activity you'll be doing.
The types of boat rentals in Florida Keys that are available are actually quite varied. If you're not sure what kind of boat rental will best suit your needs, you may want to review the various
types of Florida boat rentals
you can consider.
When you're ready to rent a boat, one of the first things to determine is its age. You'll also want to know how often it's been maintained, and what kind of boat maintenance is usually performed.
Plus if you hire a boat off the internet, make sure the boat you're interested in, is actually the
boat you'll get, instead of just a pretty rendition.
Florida Keys Boat Rentals Come in All Sizes and Models
Another boat tip is that Florida Keys boat rentals come with a variety of boat equipment. You should find out what boat accessories and included and what's considered an extra. You'll also want to find out how many seats the boat has, if the boat has plenty of storage, and if a toilet is on board.
Since the water off the Florida Keys is quite shallow with numerous reefs, boat navigating can be challenging. You should inquire as to whether the boat rental company provides waterproof marine maps and charts, as well as a depth finder.
To avoid grounding on a sand bar or wrecking on a reef, you need to know where you're going. It's also helpful to see what kind of structure and marine life is below you.
You'll also want to find out about additional services that may be provided by the different companies who handle Florida Keys boat rentals. Some offer boat delivery to where you're staying. This is a great perk, especially if your Florida Keys lodging is equipped with a marina that has rental slips available.
You should also ask if any extra paperwork, deposit, or insurance is required if you plan on towing the boat behind your own vehicle. Some renters like to take the boat to different launch locations throughout the Florida Keys, so they can fish or dive other popular spots.
When evaluating your options for Florida Keys boat rentals, you'll need to consider the purpose of the boat. What you plan on doing with it makes a difference in the type of questions you'll want to ask.
For example, if you're planning on Florida Keys fishing, you'll want to find out if the fishing boat rental has live wells, or at least if it comes with one or two larger coolers.
You should find out if the Florida Keys boat has a fish finder and if so, you'll need to learn how to operate it. You'll want to see if the boat has fishing rod holders, and it doesn't hurt to ask if any fishing gear is available with the boat rental.
Well Equipped Fishing Boat Rental with Rod Rocket Launcher
State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, Dale M. McDonald Collection
You should find out if the fishing boat rental company provides other helpful extras like bait, chum bags, cutting boards and knives, nets, long gaffs, a multiple rod rocket launcher, outriggers and downriggers, and shrimp buckets.
You'll also want to know what Florida Keys fish are in the area you'll be boating. The Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico have different Florida fish populations. Some species are commonly found in both regions, while other fish such as sailfish are typically found only in one. You'll need to know where to go for the kind of fish you're after, and you'll need to know what fish are in season.
You can get this useful information on our website's fishing pages. We have a fish chart
showing the more popular fish and their seasons. You can find out about fishing tournaments
you may want to enter. We also have the all important information on where to fish,
and how to catch them.
If you're using the Florida boat rental for diving or snorkeling Florida Keys reefs and wrecks, you should find out if they include boating accessories such as diver down flags, marker buoys, waterproof dive charts, GPS, snorkel gear, dive tanks, and other diving gear.
Whether you're Florida Keys fishing, diving, or snorkeling, you'll find that some companies specializing in Florida Keys boat rentals will include the more common extras at no charge. The less frequently requested or more expensive items will likely be added for an extra fee.
You may find some companies don't supply any of the additional boating accessories you'll want. Likewise you may find that some companies include everything you need with their Florida Keys boat rentals.
Florida Keys Boat Rentals Can Be Your Ticket to Vacation Fun
State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, Department of Commerce Collection
For all Florida Keys boat rentals, there's one criteria that's perhaps the most important, and that's power. There's a lot of water out there, and a lot of water sport activities you can enjoy. Many of these water sports will take you far from shore and you want to get where you're going quickly.
Once you've checked out the Florida Keys boat rentals and found the one for you, the final important step is to read
the boat rental agreement. You must understand what is being stipulated in the boat rental contract so you have no nasty surprises at the end of the rental period.
If you don't understand all the lingo in the boat rental agreement you should ask to have it explained. If it makes sense and is reasonable, go ahead, sign and pay.
If you're renting online before you arrive, you should insist on seeing the boat rental contract in advance. Read it carefully, and ask your questions based upon what you've learned above. When you get the answers you need, and are satisfied, then
provide your credit card information.
Importance of Boat Rentals
With GPS Equipment
Not all Florida Keys boat rentals include GPS, and this is an important piece of equipment you should consider having.
Whether you've traveled these waters numerous times, or are new to a particular area, the one thing you don't want to do is waste time getting where you're going, or not getting there at all.
Nothing could be worse than planning a great day Florida Keys fishing on the Marathon Hump only to never find it. Likewise, if you're a novice diver planning on wreck diving the Benwood Wreck,
you don't want to end up at an advanced wreck dive site like the Spiegel Grove.
You'll have wasted a lot of gas, and a day's Florida boat rental if you do.
These are big waters, with quite a few navigational challenges, as the numerous shipwrecks in the area attest to. You want to get where you're going, and get their safely. If you can get GPS on any of the Florida Keys boat rentals you're considering, you'll be better off and safer.
On our website, you'll find the GPS coordinates you'll need for over 100 Florida Keys dive sites. These are listed on the Navigation Bar under the Diving Section and are broken down by Upper, Middle, and Lower Keys as well as by reefs and wrecks.
Fishing GPS coordinates are also available for popular Florida KEys fishing spots around Key Largo, Islamorada, Marathon, Key West,
and for the different Florida Keys Humps.
If you're headed to a particular location we don't have listed, the boat rental company should have the GPS coordinates you'll need. Please share those GPS coordinates with us, along with any stories about your rental experience
including what you did, where you went, what was good or bad, so our other Readers can benefit.
One point to keep in mind. It's better that you
enter the GPS coordinates and that you do so while you're still at the rental company. This way you can make sure you know how to operate the boat equipment. You'll have greater confidence later when you decide to add on other coordinates for new locations.
Florida Boat Rental Equipment
And Boat Safety Gear
Florida Keys boat rentals should also have some form of radio communication. If you're involved in an accident, get grounded, run out of gas, or develop a mechanical or medical problem, you'll need to be able to call for emergency assistance.
You don't want to rely on your cell phone, as it may not have coverage. To be safe, check to make sure the Florida Keys boat rentals you're considering have an operational radio, and that you know how to work it properly.
You'll also need to inquire as to what kind of boat safety gear is included on the different Florida Keys boat rentals. The answer to this question will give you a good indication of what kind of shape the boat is in.
If the boat comes with very few safeguards or amenities, or if the rental office is run down or dirty, chances are the boat isn't well maintained either. Remember it's you're life on the line when you're at sea, so be proactive - especially with this question.
Florida Keys Boat Rentals Need to be Comfortable and Have Speed
State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, Dale M. McDonald Collection
When it comes to boat safety tips, even simple things that are taken for granted shouldn't be. Just because you've operated a boat before, doesn't mean you know everything about this boat.
Remember it's a rental and even if it's been well maintained, it's also likely seen more abuse than one than is privately owned. Make sure the seats are comfortable, and not broken. Nothing's worse than a seat that tilts, doesn't stay in place, or falls off.
Another important piece of equipment that's usually overlooked is the boat's ladder. This is especially important if you're going to be exiting the boat to go Florida Keys snorkeling, diving, or just splashing around in the warm tropical water.
If the ladder wasn't originally designed to fit this particular boat, it may not be able to handle a certain weight load when being used.
The best boat safety tip is to ask the heaviest person in your group to climb up and down the ladder several
times. This tests the ladders strength and fit, and hopefully will ensure that no nasty surprises will occur when at sea. Nothing could be worse then getting in the water, having the ladder fall off and then not being able to get back into the boat.
Since you'll be buying the fuel, you'll also want to make sure you have an efficient outboard motor. You'll find that a 4 stroke will be the best for gas consumption, so if possible, aim for this. In the long run, you'll find that the cost of operating the boat will be cheaper.
Florida Keys Boat Rentals Should Have Extra Boat Equipment You Need
State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, Department of Commerce
Not all companies who handle Florida Keys boat rentals are the same - some have more all inclusive boating packages than others. If you have any special requests, you should discuss these before you pay for your Florida boat rental.
If you believe that certain pieces of equipment should be included, ask if they're available at no extra charge. If they're not, find out if they can be included for a nominal additional fee.
After you've considered your options for Florida Keys boat rentals and settled on the one best for you, mentally go over a checklist of boat safety tips.
Then get ready for some of the best boating you've ever done.
The Florida Keys waters are filled with diverse and colorful fish, and fragile, beautiful coral. The warm, multi-hued waters are mesmerizing, and there are endless possibilities of places to go and fun Florida things to do.
Happy and safe Florida Keys boating to you!