We all look forward to summer, but when the stifling hot weather combines with high humidity, it may drain the enthusiasm for summer right out of you. Faced with that reality, we rented a pontoon boat and enjoyed a refreshing day on the water with virtually no hassles.
Our pontoon boat day featured a half-day rental on Georgia's Lake Allatoona, where we enjoyed casual motoring through the lake, spontaneous swimming when the mood or location suited us, and even some fishing. Getting started was as easy as a quick phone call, and we booked our outing two days in advance. When our boating day arrived, we packed a cooler, a beach bag and the grandkids into the minivan and headed out.
Arriving at the marina, our boat was ready and waiting. After some formalities involving identification, payment, release forms and instructions, we were on the water and underway within 20 minutes. Like magic, that stifling summer heat gave gave way to a cooling 15-mph wind in our faces as we motored through the large lake.
Our return was equally fast and easy. We were met at the dock by a helpful team, who secured the boat and helped us unload our gear. They even provided a handy wagon, allowing the rest of the party to get all our gear to the van while I settled up the rental. We quickly inspected for damage (none!) and fuel level, then completed the credit card billing. Less than 10 minutes had passed since docking, and I was behind the wheel of the minivan and on the way.
There were lots of reasons we loved renting a boat, and below are our top 5:
- Fast, easy, and convenient. After locating nearby marinas, it was simple to find available boat rentals. There were multiple nearby location options for rental, which we found to be true near major waterways around the country. Many offer online rental processes, though we find it most helpful to speak with someone at the local marina rather than using online systems.
- Lots of boat options. We had a choice of fishing boats, touring boats, pontoon boats and others, all in various sizes, configurations and power options to meet our needs. Of course, the grandkids weighed in, expressing their preference for the two-story pontoon boat complete with waterslide, though we chose a more modest option.
- Operational instructions and assistance. While we are experienced boaters, we still needed a few tips on operating this boat. That was provided easily and quickly with personal attention. However, had we needed more instructions or assistance, we could have used an online video in advance and asked for more assistance on-site.
- No maintenance or cleaning. It's often said that the happiest days of a boat owners life are the day of purchase and the day of sale. With a rental, we avoided all the hassles of ownership, including responsibility for any maintenance or cleaning. All we had to do was remove our belongings, and pay for the fuel we used.
- A carefree experience. With all the mandatory safety items provided, we simply focused on our own comfort, convenience and enjoyment. Our fully-stocked cooler, snacks, swimming accessories and fishing gear made that easy.
For us, boat rentals are common, whether on a lake near home or while traveling elsewhere. While we've considered purchasing a boat, the ease, convenience and cost has brought us back to rentals each time.
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