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It's never been so easy to rent a boat

Have you ever wanted to hit the open water with friends and family on a boat, but then remembered that the one thing you didn’t have was an actual boat? Certainly, not everyone has the financial means to own a boat. And for the uninitiated, renting a boat can be intimidating and lead to several questions, such as what licenses, credentials or advanced instruction do you need to rent a boat and properly use it on a lake, river or reservoir.

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Peak season for renting a boat typically starts around Memorial Day weekend and runs through summer. Buell advises prospective boaters to make a rental reservation in advance of their plans. In the summer and on weekends, marinas are at their busiest and may run out of boats to rent. Boating experts also recommend that boaters prepare for the weather conditions and the fact they could be on the water for several hours.

Boating: Rules of the water

Each state has its own laws regarding whether boat drivers must complete a boating education class before operating a vessel. Many states require a class for younger boat drivers, while some states, such as Alaska and South Dakota, have no requirements. To rent a boat from a company requires renters to sign a waiver acknowledging responsibility for the boat and the people on board. Renters are responsible for damage they cause to the boat and injuries suffered, but not for mechanical problems such as a blown motor. It is suggested the customer contact their insurance agent to discuss.

Age requirements to rent a boat

Age requirements to rent a boat vary for various rental companies. For example, you must be 18 to rent at Lake Monroe or Westport Marina, while Geist requires you to be at least 25. It’s similar to car rentals, except boats are a little trickier to operate. Boats don’t have brakes like a car and, in addition to no brakes, water current, wind, weather and other boaters all can play a significant factor in operating. We strongly suggest having an experienced boater to captain the boat.

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