Rent, Hire or Charter
These terms are partially interchangeable but are usually associated with different classes of boats:-
• Boat Hire usually refers to small boats such as a dinghy with an outboard for fishing or an outing, a jet ski or a small sail boat. Boat hire is often for a short period, such as by the hour, half day or full day.
• Boat Rental most often refers to cruisers, houseboats or power boats and usually for a longer period. More like a week boating holiday. ‘Rental’ may also refer to yacht rental.
• Boat Charter can have a few connotations: chartering a boat fully crewed and usually with refreshment catering for an event such as a party; chartering a luxury vessel, fully crewed and catered for a few days or extended holiday period; fishing charters which include the boat and usually a skipper and crew; and chartering a yacht for a sailing holiday.
• With yacht rental or charters in particular, you will often see ‘bareboat’ charters. This means without crew included. You will be responsible for steering, sailing or driving the
• Catering is usually by order. You arrange the food and drink you want with the owners and this is charged on top of the rental or charter fees.
• Fuel is usually charged on top of the rental fee unless otherwise advertised.
• All rental boats should include all the necessary safety equipment including sufficient life vests for the passengers allowed.
•To rent some boats you will need to hold a current boating licence. Requirements differ from state to state so you would need to check the conditions for the state you are hiring in.
• Some low horsepower boats do not require a boating licence – check local state requirements.
• Houseboats usually have a maximum speed under the requirement to hold a boating licence but this needs to be checked for local requirements.
• With most boat rentals, hires and charters, restrictions are placed on how far you can travel from the home marina. Power boat rentals are usually available within inland waterways, rivers and lakes and restricted to those waterways.
• Yacht charters and rental may allow open water ventures, especially in areas around the Great Barrier Reef.
• You will likely need to demonstrate that you can handle the boat. The rental company will run through the instructions on how it operates including safety procedures but you may need to show that you know what you are doing! Especially in mooring, anchoring and pulling up at the marina.
•You will need a thorough understanding of the signage and directions, eg speed limits, tide levels etc, in the waterways you will be travelling.
An alternative to boat rental is to join a boat club or share boat club. Membership to such organisations involve the group owing one or a number of boats and membership entitling each member to a certain number of days usage per year.
Once you’ve rented a boat you’re sure to have the bug to own your own. Head over to our Boat Finance web page for information on how to go about getting a boat loan.