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Best Boat Rental Services of 2021
If you love the idea of life on the water but aren’t quite ready for the commitment of boat ownership, renting a vessel for your next vacation is the perfect compromise. Boat rental companies offer the chance to borrow a boat for an hour or a day, or for a multi-night aquatic adventure. Choose between speed boats, sailing yachts, jet skis, or sportfishing charters. No license? No problem: Just opt for a skippered rental complete with captain and crew. Some boat rental services connect you with professional charter companies, while others offer peer-to-peer, or private owner rentals. Here, we look the best boat rental services.
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: GetMyBoat
Why We Chose It: We chose San Francisco-based company GetMyBoat as our overall winner for its excellent independent and media reviews and for its vast selection of boats and destinations.
Largest boat rental and charter marketplace
No boating experience needed with captained charters available
Highest-rated boat rental app in the app stores
Not responsible for owner cancellation or insurance policies
All trips charged in full at time of booking
Additional transaction fee for non-USD payments
As the world’s largest boat rental and charter marketplace, GetMyBoat offers a choice of more than 130,000 privately owned boats in upwards of 184 countries, ranging from jet skis and powerboats to houseboats and sailing yachts. To find your dream boat via the app, simply search by destination first, then use the sophisticated filters to narrow the results down to fit your specific requirements.
Filters include group size, budget, trip types, and whether or not you need a captain. Once you’ve found the ideal boat, use the platform to send inquiries directly to the owner, who will then respond with their availability and a custom quote. When you’re both happy with the arrangements, you can book and pay for your trip securely via the app.
GetMyBoat requires payment in full at the time of booking and charges roughly a 7.5% service fee, with an additional 3% fee for non-USD transactions.
Best Runner-Up: Boatsetter
Why We Chose It: We selected Boatsetter because of its status as the first company in the U.S. to offer fully-insured, peer-to-peer boat rentals. This means that you’re protected by comprehensive hull and liability coverage, on-the-water towing, and 24-hour on-water support.
All rentals include comprehensive insurance
24-hour on-water support comes as standard
Roughly a 10% deposit sufficient for bookings must be made more than 30 days in advance
Fewer global destinations than some competitors
All bookings must be paid for in full within 30 days of departure
Cancellation policies are entirely at the owners’ discretion
Founded in South Florida in 2012, Boatsetter provides access to upwards of 17,000 boats in more than 600 locations, including extensive fleets in the Caribbean and the Mediterranean. All boats are privately-owned, and there are options for every kind of nautical adventure, from fishing and sailing to watersports and multi-day charters.
Use the app to browse the fleet, then narrow down your results with filters including the number of passengers and whether or not you need a captain. For each result, you can read previous renter reviews.
Once you’ve chosen, use the app to connect directly with the boat owner and captain and to send payment. Boatsetter requires roughly a 10% deposit to secure your booking, with the remainder due 30 days before departure.
Best for Bareboat Charters: Click&Boat
Why We Chose It: If you have some sailing experience and want to test your skills with a bareboat charter (i.e. one without a captain or crew), Paris-based company Click&Boat is a solid option.
Ability to upload a sailing CV for bareboat charters
Comprehensive filters for finding your perfect boat
Impressive global presence in 97 countries and territories
Can wait up to 24 hours for confirmation after authorizing payment
App is not as highly rated as that of some competitors
Owners may cancel a booking if your sailing skills are deemed insufficient
Although it does offer captained charters as well, the company specializes in DIY experiences for keen sailors, allowing you to upload your sailing CV with your user profile. With more than 35,000 private boat rentals in upwards of 97 regions ranging from Svalbard to Seychelles, your perfect boat is just a few clicks away.
To ensure you get what you want, the search engine comes with extensive filters including the type of boat, engine size and year model, and the number of people, cabins, and berths. Listings with especially well-reputed owners are highlighted with a Super Owner badge.
Once you’ve found the boat you want, use the integrated messaging service to contact the owner with all your practical questions. Then, authorize your payment and wait for up to 24 hours for the owner to accept your booking.
Best in the Caribbean: Sailo
Why We Chose It: We chose this as our top service for Caribbean boat rentals because of its extensive fleets in Miami, the British and U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Bahamas, with options in many other areas of the Caribbean as well.
Excellent representation in Florida and the Caribbean
Lists vessels from private owners and charter companies
Great reviews from past customers and the media
Can wait up to 24 hours for booking confirmation
Displayed price may not include crew, fuel, and other extras
Not available on every Caribbean island
Founded in 2014 and with headquarters in New York, Sailo has a network of more than 30,000 boats available in upwards of 500 international locations. The recipient of excellent write-ups in Condé Nast Traveler and Travel+Leisure, Sailo connects renters with private owners and professional charter companies for the best of both worlds.
Listings include motorboats, sailboats, catamarans, and luxury yachts; each vessel is 100% insured and verified, with licensed captains available for those that want them. Sailo’s website also has a dedicated Caribbean page, with useful itineraries and lists of the top things to do by boat in the area. Search for your next Caribbean cruiser via the website or the well-rated app, then communicate directly with the owner before authorizing payment.
Bookings take up to 24 hours to be confirmed and will incur roughly a 7% service fee.
Best in Europe: SamBoat
Why We Chose It: If you have dreams of a languid summer spent sailing the Mediterranean, SamBoat is our top pick for boat rentals in Europe.
Impressive number and variety of boats to rent in Europe
Can pre-book several boats for the same date to avoid disappointment
All listings are regularly checked and insured
Limited fleet outside Europe
Can wait up to 24 hours to find out whether a booking request is successful
Prices are displayed in euros only
Launched in 2014, SamBoat is a French company that offers rentals all over the world, but has the biggest and most diverse fleets in Europe—and especially in the Mediterranean.
Top destinations listed on their website include Croatia, Greece, Spain, Ibiza, and Malta; and if you haven’t yet chosen which is the best fit for you, destination overviews including local tips and top things to do may come in handy.
Verified and insured listings range from yachts and motorboats to canal boats and jet skis. You can also choose bareboat rentals, skippered rentals, or guided rentals (with the latter giving you control of the boat with the owner onboard for backup).
Boats are booked by authorizing payment and then waiting up to 24 hours for confirmation. To ensure that you’re not disappointed, you can do this for several boats simultaneously. Once the first is confirmed, the others will be canceled automatically.
Best for Professional Charter Rentals: Zizoo
Why We Chose It: We chose it as the winner of this category for its excellent reputation and the fact that it deals exclusively with pre-selected charter companies offering insured and verified boats.
Fleet of over 30,000 boats in 500 destinations worldwide
All bookings eligible for price-match guarantee
24-hour assistance from a team of experienced sailors
Desktop website only (no app)
Can wait up to 24 hours for booking requests to be confirmed
U.S. customers will need to call overseas to speak to a representative
Peer-to-peer rentals aren’t for everyone, and if you prefer the idea of going through a professional charter company then Zizoo is the comparison site for you. With offices in Austria, Germany, and Croatia, Zizoo affords access to more than 30,000 boats in upwards of 500 destinations worldwide. These include bareboat and captained catamarans, sailboats, motorboats, and traditional Turkish gulets.
Use the desktop website to choose your destination and browse the available yachts. When you find the one you want, click on Instant Book to reserve, pay, and receive confirmation within 24 hours. Alternatively, you can fill in a request form with your requirements and have one of Zizoo’s expert team members respond with the best boat for you at the best price.
Customer service is a strong point, with a multilingual team available 24/7 and a price-match guarantee on all charters.
Best for Luxury Charters: Yacht Charter Fleet
Why We Chose It: We selected Yacht Charter Fleet because of its incredible selection of premium vessels and its excellent, informative website.
The widest selection of superyachts on the market
Exceptionally well-designed and helpful website
Features the world’s most desirable yachting destinations
No option for bareboat charters
Prices are astronomical for most people
Booking and payment is completed via independent broker
For those who want to experience the A-list life (and have plenty of cash to spare), there’s nothing like renting a superyacht to make you feel like a celebrity. The company has offices in London and New York and connects you to local charter brokers in some of the most exclusive, sought-after yachting destinations in the world.
Need inspiration? Take a look at the hotspots featured on Yacht Charter Fleet website, from Monaco and St. Tropez to the Maldives and Tahiti. The company prides itself on its incredible selection of crewed superyachts, using industry connections to feature off-market yachts as well.
Choose from motor yachts, sailing yachts, classic yachts, and even expedition yachts headed to far-flung destinations like Antarctica. Each one is the epitome of 5-star luxury, with amenities ranging from spas and swimming pools to helicopter pads. The only drawback? Some of these yachts cost over a million dollars per week to rent.
Best for Discounted Rates: Budget Yacht Charters
Company promises to beat other charter quotes by 10%
Last-minute, short-term and one-way offers for added savings
Bareboat and skippered options available
Smaller fleet and fewer destinations than most competitors
Available on desktop only (no app)
Insurance is the responsibility of yacht owners and/or renters
At the other end of the spectrum, Budget Yacht Charters caters to those that want to get out on the water without breaking the bank. We chose them as the leader in our budget category because of their incredible price guarantee, which promises to beat any official quote on one of their listed vessels by about 10%.
With more than 7,800 yachts to choose from in upwards of 255 locations, Budget Yacht Charters also offers further discounts in three categories: Last Minute Offers, Short Term Offers, and One-Way Charters.
The latter allows you to save substantially by helping charter fleet operators to move their yachts from point A to point B while having the vacation of a lifetime en route. The booking process is simple. Just browse the Budget Yacht Charters online database, select the boat you wish to receive a quote for, then make your final decision and book upon receiving the quote.
Instead of having to pay everything upfront, you can pay roughly a 50% deposit with the remainder due four weeks before departure.
The best boat rental service depends on your personal preferences, including where you want to go, the kind of boat you want to rent, whether you need a captain, and your budget. We chose GetMyBoat as our overall winner because of the sheer size of its fleet, which guarantees results for every preference. If you’re looking for a bareboat charter specialist, Click&Boat is our top pick, while Sailo and SamBoat excel in the Caribbean and Mediterranean respectively. Yacht Charter Fleet has the most impressive lineup of crewed superyachts for rent, while Budget Yacht Charters offers an affordable way to experience life on the water.
How Much Does It Cost to Rent a Boat?
The cost of renting a boat varies wildly depending on the size and type of boat you choose, and the duration of your vacation. You can expect to pay extra for a captain and other crew members, while most companies charge extra for fuel, harbor fees, and security deposits.
Can I Rent a Boat Without a License?
Motorboats almost always require a license, but depending on the boat and your location, you may be able to rent a sailboat without one. Alternatively, you can rent any boat with no qualifications at all as long as you hire a captain to skipper for you.
What Is Peer-to-Peer Boat rental?
Peer-to-peer boat rentals are boats that are privately owned and rented instead of being operated by a professional charter company.
Can I Rent a Boat for One-Way Travel?
Yes. One-way charters involve helping a charter company move a boat from one location to another and then finding your own way home. It’s an affordable way to enjoy a boating vacation.
How We Chose the Best Boat Rental Services
There are thousands of boat rental services out there, many of which focus on a single city or port. We aimed to select those with international or regional coverage and focused on those with an established reputation and excellent customer reviews. We assessed each one on the design of its website and/or app, and how easy it was to filter results to find a boat that fit our hypothetical requirements. We gave points for companies that verified their listings in person and either included insurance or offered it as an optional extra. Transparent pricing and the ability to contact a real person with any customer service requirements were also essential.