By Patti Roth
Sometimes the surf beckons. You want to step away from solid land and let the wind and waves guide your adventure. Perhaps a romantic picnic on a secluded island with shorebirds as the entertainment. If you prefer, pull up to the dock of a trendy waterfront restaurant. Or drift onto a sandbar. No boat? No problem.
Some resort marinas feature vendors on-site offering boats and yachts for rent. Drive them yourself – if you’re eligible, based on state rules and vendor’s policies – or charter watercraft and allow someone else to handle the navigational duties.
Rentals and charters are an ideal way to enjoy boating without the expense and hassles of owning a vessel.
“If you want to get on the water, it’s definitely the way to go,’’ says John Wilkes, manager of Beach Water Sports in Stuart. “You basically show up, get on the boat, and when you’re done get off the boat.”
These are a few resort marinas where boats are offered for rent, charter or both:
Beach Water Sports at Hutchinson Island Marriott Beach Resort and Marina, Stuart
Rents 19-foot to 25-foot boats, including deck boats and pontoon boats for excursions on the Intracoastal Waterway. Popular sites include Peck Lake, the Stuart sandbar and Jupiter Island. 555 NE Ocean Blvd., Stuart, 772-225-2000, bwsfl.com
Sailing Florida Charters & Sailing School at Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort
Offers power boats, yachts, fishing boats and sailboats, 29 to 72 feet. Popular excursions include Egmont Key State Park. 501 Fifth Ave. NE, St. Petersburg, 866-894-7245, Sailingflorida.com
Boat Rentals at Naples Bay Resort, Naples
Popular rentals include 24-foot deck boats with touch-screen GPS navigation screen and Bluetooth. Popular excursions include Keewaydin Island and dock-access restaurants in Marco Island. 1490 Fifth Ave. South, Naples, 239-530-5134, nbrboatrental.com
Destinations is an annual travel supplement of the Sun Sentinel, produced by City & Shore Magazine