Boat Rental Fort Lauderdale

Drew JohnsonUncategorizedLeave a Comment

Boat Rental Fort Lauderdale

Everything You Need to Know to Plan the Perfect Day on the Water

Fort Lauderdale is all about the water—it’s an aquatic playground of beaches, bars, cafes, and sandbars.

So… what better way to experience the city than by boat!  

There are lots of boat rentals in Fort Lauderdale. Of course, finding the right one makes all the difference in making your sea-breezy, sensational day perfect.

Whether you are renting a boat with a group of friends, planning the perfect floating party, sightseeing for the afternoon, or slipping away on a romantic sunset cruise, this guide will give you everything you need to know—all while steering you clear of a few hazards.

Here’s the plan, we will…

  • Highlight Fort Lauderdale’s can’t miss waterfront sights and experiences
  • Outline the different kinds of boat tours and rental options available in Fort Lauderdale
  • Arm you with what you need to select a reputable (and legal) boat rental or tour company
  • Examine what questions to ask while making your plans 
  • Check off a list of don’t-forget items to do and take with you

Sound good? Let’s, go!

boat rental fort lauderdale


If there was ever a city that you should take the time to see from the water, Fort Lauderdale is absolutely it.  With over 165 miles of prime waterfront and 23 miles of white beaches, it has rightfully earned the name Venice of America. And you’ll enjoy these more with the best boat rental in Fort Lauderdale.

Palm tree lined canals offer glimpses of the glamorous.  While boutique waterfront shopping, local hot-spot dining, beaches, and marine wildlife encounters provide endless entertainment options.

Floating down Millionaire’s Row allows you to sail right into the lush, tropical backyards of some of the most extravagant estates in Florida.  Daydream as you pass by mansions, swanky pool houses, and gleaming yachts.

Hungry? Ready for a cocktail? Get some refreshments along the harbor. The best boat rentals will take you to the tastiest local grubs.!

Here’s a couple local favorites to try:

  • Coconuts
  • 15th Street Fisheries
  • The Downtowner
  • Shooters
  • The Boathouse

Back out on the water, the New River is teeming with vibrant marine life, such as dolphins, manatees, great blue herons, and white egrets are common sights. Sea turtles often swim into the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) from the inlet.  Most boat rentals in Fort Lauderdale offer swimming, snorkeling, diving, and fishing.


When it comes to picking out what type of Fort Lauderdale boat to rent, your choices are almost endless.

Narrow down your list by defining what you want your experience to feel like. How long do you want to be on the water? Do you want a private boat or share the experience with fellow travelers? Do you want to sightsee, or jump in? Do you want a captain, or do you want to take the helm?


For a family-friendly, fully-guided sightseeing tour complete with dining and entertainment, the famous Jungle Queen provides a complete experience with guided tours, drinks, meals, and shows. Plus, it’s an easy tour to work into any itinerary and great for a variety of ages and group sizes.

Gathered a group of friends? Punch up your party with a pedal-powered pub the ultimate Fort Lauderdale Party Boat!  Lagerhead Cycleboats provides a floating platform of fun.


You and your party gather around the bar-top having a blast while sitting on cycling stools.  You peddle-power the boat as you work your way down the river from bar to bar. How fun does that sound?

Traditional Boat Rentals in Fort Lauderdale

For a more traditional vessel, powerboats and sailboats can be rented with or without a captain provided.  These are usually for smaller groups and typically offered for half or full day rentals.  These give you the option of going when and where you like. (Just make sure you are renting your boat from a legitimate boat rental Fort Lauderdale company!) You can go fishing or hop on a jet ski, too.

Unguided Lauderdale Boat Tour

If you don’t have the time to spend on a guided Fort Lauderdale boat tour but want a chance to see the city from the water, hop on a Water Taxi. They crisscross the river all day stopping at all the popular spots.  Go from the spectacular Las Olas Boulevard boutique shops to the gorgeous Bahia Mahr Beach and back.

Best Boat Rentals for Sport Enthusiasts

For those in the mood for something a little sportier, snag a spot on one of the many Deep-Sea Fishing boat rentals based in Fort Lauderdale.  With immediate access to the inlet, there’s an ocean of options for all types of fishing trips and group sizes.

Romantic Boat Rentals in Fort Lauderdale

Dreaming of a romantic evening drifting down the river with the cityscape and palms silhouetted against the setting sun? Grab a bottle of wine and board a gondola or this adorable Tuck Tuck—you can even take your pup along.

Rent A Boat and Explore the Underwater

Not enough to just see the sights from the surface? Book yourself a spot on one of the many snorkeling and dive boats.  Or, for those not wanting to get their hair wet, but still want to see the fish, maybe the glass bottom boats are more your style. Different boats can accommodate different ages, levels of skill, or mobility.

Make friends with the fishes. Fort Lauderdale has a healthy marine life in its waters.  Hop aboard one of the eco-friendly tours for sea turtle spotting and bird watching.  Dolphins often come and play in the wake of the boats and manatees frequently float around the piers or in the canals.

For a slowed-down, close-up experience, rent a kayak or paddleboard and take your time scoping out sights from a water-level perspective.  If you’ve never been on a paddleboard, you might be pleasantly surprised about how stable and easy they can be to use.


Now that you might have a good mental-picture of the type of boat rentals are available in Fort Lauderdale, next comes picking which business to work with.

Sadly, not all boat rental companies are running legal operations.  Not even the ones you might find through frequently-used apps.


Because going out on a boat that has purposefully sidestepped the safety, equipment, maintenance, training, and legal requirements puts you and your friends in harm’s way.

Further, unlawful operations don’t have the proper insurance.  Which means if something does go wrong, you will not have the protection needed.

Also, these operations are at risk of being shut down either before you get a chance to enjoy the water, or worse, in the middle of your cruise.

Meeting the legal requirements are not prohibitively difficult or expensive for boat rentals in Fort Lauderdale. So… there is no need to work with a business that has chosen not to get the proper United States Coast Guard (USCG) requirements.


Ask your prospective boat rental company the right questions. And that is easier to do when you have a little info.  Let’s quickly look at the basics:

All legal boat rental and touring operations in Fort Lauderdale will have some sort of USCG certification. The classification depends on the type of boat, how many passengers it carries, and who will be captaining the boat.  Smaller rental and tour boats will fall under one of the following three categories (we are excluding ferries or large passenger vessels here):

Bareboat Charter– With this type of rental, you will pay for all the fuel, expenses, insurances, and hire the crew yourself.  Think of it like financially leasing the boat for a determined time period.  You are fully responsible for the vessel, and the owner cannot be onboard, provide crew, or tell you who to hire for crew.  Bareboat Charters are limited to 12 passengers or less.

Uninspected Passenger Vessel (UPV)– These licenses are often referred to as 6-pack licenses.  While the boat is not inspected, it must still meet safety equipment requirements. The owner chooses and hires the properly USCG certified crew.  Uninspected Passenger Vessels may carry up to 6 passengers.  Boat rentals should display the USCG sticker on their vessels.

Small Passenger Vessels (SPV)– These vessels require a Certificate of Inspection (COI) from the USCG. These vessels are inspected for manufacturing regulations, safety equipment, maintenance schedules, on-going training, and elevated crew certifications.  The owner is responsible for providing the properly USCG certified crew.  Only small vessels with a COI may carry more than 12 paying passengers.

Look for this sticker.


Now that you know to find a reputable Lauderdale boat for rent, what else do you need to know?

Here is the list of things to check to fine-tune your vacation:

  • The weather clauses of your boat rental company (what if it’s stormy?)
  • The best time to book a boat. Take note that the peak season in Florida is December through April and it is busiest on the weekends.
  • The cancellation policy of the boat rental company
  • The number and cleanliness of the bathroom/s in boat
  • If there are no bathrooms, are they going to make stops?
  • If the tour stops at the local restaurants and shops, is the itinerary customizable for our party?
  • The age restrictions of the passengers and for certain activities
  • The identification to prepare before boarding the boat
  • How much should you deposit during booking?
  • Where do we need to go to board the boat?
  • Are beverages provided or do we need to bring our own?
  • If it is a BYOB/BYOF cruise—will they provide coolers, cups, ice, etc.?
  • Is there a limit on how much alcohol we can bring?
  • Does the boat have any sound system?
  • What kind of reviews does the crew have?
  • Should I tip? (Generally, the answer is yes. If your crew cared about making your trip special, 10-20% is standard)


Here’s a checklist of items you might want to take along on your tour. Of course, it will vary widely depending on what type of boating adventure you chose. This will make certain you have the essentials:

  • Sun protection- that Florida sun will not only be shining down but reflecting up off the water. Slather and cover up. If you are getting in the water, consider picking up a reef-friendly sunscreen.
  • Water (well, isn’t that just a given in Florida)
  • Waterproof bag or pouch for cameras and phones
  • Extra battery pack for your phone (you might not be able to charge on the boat)
  • If it is a BYOB tour, don’t forget the details like napkins, wine-bottle openers, and glasses if needed.
  • Binoculars are completely optional, but nice if going for the wildlife.
  • Watersport toys and equipment if planning on diving in
  • A pair of shoes that can handle the piers and metal grates you might encounter.
  • Motion sickness pills (These are generally not needed on the river rides, even for the most sensitive of riders. But they may be desired for the offshore fishing and diving excursions.

Now that you have everything you need to confidently rent a boat in Fort Lauderdale AND plan a fabulous day on the water, all that is left is to grab your friends and make some memories.  See you out there!

If you still have questions, give us a call at Lagerhead Cycleboats.  We are happy to help you find the right boat trip for you—even if it’s not with us. (954) 300-2401



If you still have questions, give us a call at Lagerhead Cycleboats.  We are happy to help you find the right boat trip for you—even if it’s not with us. (954) 300-2401

Though, to be honest, we do think we have the most fun on our boat rental Fort Lauderdale!

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