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The Ultimate Guide to Chartering a Boat in Tampa Bay

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Tampa Bay had about 24.5 million visitors in 2019. The sun, sand, and ocean attract people from all over the world.

Tourists and locals alike love to go boating in Tampa Bay. The warm weather allows people to enjoy the water all year round. If you’re planning a trip to Florida, you’re going to want to spend at least one-day boating.

Whether you want to fish or just cruise, we’ve got you covered. In this guide, we are going to tell you everything you need to know about chartering a boat here in Florida.

Boat Size

When you’re booking your boat charter, you’ll want to ensure you reserve one that holds everyone in your party. A 24 or 28-foot boat is probably the smallest you want to go with.

However, you may see some locals in smaller bass boats and sailboats. You’ll likely be more comfortable in a bigger boat.

When you’re talking to the charter company, ask them what they recommend. Be sure to ask for photos of the boats if they are not online. You won’t want to walk up to the dock only to find a less-than-desirable vessel.

Where to Go

If you haven’t been to Florida before or if you’ve never explored the bay, hiring a caption will guarantee that you see the best parts of Tampa’s waterways. There are a few places that you won’t want to miss.

Egmont Key

This place is a favorite among almost everyone who has visited. Egmont Key has something for everyone and is a great place to go on your day charter.

The area is full of history and you’ll be able to explore an old fort and a lighthouse that has been standing for centuries. If history isn’t your thing, there is a ton of wildlife that you can observe.

Davis Island Dog Beach

Your Florida vacation wouldn’t be complete without your four-legged friend; this place is the spot for you. Davis Island has many beaches that are dog-friendly.

You’ll be able to let your pet enjoy the sand and the cool off in the ocean. The beach is conveniently located by the boat ramp, so you can tie up for an hour or two.

Caladesi Island State Park

There are many things to do and see on your trip to Tampa Bay. If you’re looking for a peaceful day on the water, consider visiting Caladesi Island.

It’s one of the locals’ favorites. It’s a quiet spot where you can enjoy the perfect weather and time with your friends and family. By chartering a boat, you’ll be able to skip the line at the ferry that shuttles people to other islands in the area.


The cost of a boat charter can vary based on how many people you have, how long you want to be out on the water, and what size boat you reserve. A half day, which is about four hours, will be around $600 for up to six people.

If you only want to be out on the water for three hours, you’ll pay about $450 before taxes and tips. Once you get out there, you may be enjoying yourself so much you don’t want it to end. If this is the case, you can extend the time for $150 an hour.

The pricing for fishing charters is going to be more expensive; however, thousands of people visit Tampa Bay so they can fish. If you want to experience this unique opportunity, you can choose from a 6, 8, 10, or 12-hour day.

Prices start at $1,800 and can be as much as $4,200. Talk to a team member to find out which option is best for you.

Look at Reviews

There are many charter companies around the Tampa Bay area. Before booking, it’s imperative that you look through reviews.

You can learn a lot about a company by reading about other people’s experiences. Using third-party websites to look at reviews can also be helpful when you’re looking for unbiased responses.

Boating Licenses

While boating through the bay is a lot of fun, there are risks too. To help avoid injuries and mishaps, be sure to ask about the caption’s licensing and qualifications.

The majority of boat captions have grown up on the water and have many years of experience. However, it’s crucial that you make sure they know what they are doing. You’ll have a better day and you’ll be safe.

When you’re scheduling your charter, ask how the company and the caption handle unexpected situations. The weather in Florida can be unpredictable and it can be dangerous if you get caught in a storm.

A good boat caption will know when it’s time to turn around and head for shelter. If there’s a medical emergency, the driver should know how to contact the coast guard and get to help quickly.

Chartering a Boat

Your Tampa Bay vacation won’t be the same without a few hours out on the ocean. You’ll get to see and experience part of Florida that not everyone does. Chartering a boat is the way to explore and relax.

A local caption will be able to show you the best spots and you won’t have to worry about getting lost, standing in long lines, or missing an amazing view.

Our team has over 30 years of boating and fishing experience. We have taken thousands of people out cruising and we enjoy teaching people about native wildlife. Contact us here to schedule your boat charter for your next Florida trip.

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