Boat rentals on Hilton Head

The following companies rent various kinds of boats. They are listed in alphabetical order, and no representation is made regarding them. I have personally used most of them with very few problems. They come bareboat.

Commander Zodiac rents small sailboats: Hobie and AMF Sunfish out of south Beach Marina. 843-671-3344.
H2O Sports 843-671-4386 Rentals include deck boats and pontoon boats starting at $250 for two hours plus gas. Call for sizes and capacities. They also rent sail boats.
Outside Hilton Head at Shelter Cove marina. 843-686-6996. Rentals include pontoon boats up to 20 feet, which hold 12 passengers at $195 for two hours, plus gas.
Palmetto Bay Watersports in the Palmetto Bay Marina843-785-2345. Wide range of rentals include pontoon boats up to 24 feet holding 14 passengers for $230 for two hours, $75 each additional hour, and includes gas. They have a small "fun boat" for $90 for one hour.
Sky Pirates Watersports 843-842-2566 at the Broad Creek Marina. They don't provide prices on their web site.

Shore Beach Services lifeguards rent catamarans and water tricycles on the beaches. 843-785-3494.

For kayak rentals, click here.

For wave runner rentals, click here.

Many types of watercraft are for rent. You can rent a sailboat either with a captain or bare boat. Power boats for rent vary from small (15 Ft. to 19 Ft.) runabouts, which have a limited passenger capacity, to Deckliners, which  can hold up to 9 passengers, to pontoon boats, which are floating patios with a  large capacity up to 14 passengers..

In most cases, you will start with a fresh tank of gas, and when you return the boat they will fill it up and charge you for the gas you used, although as of 2016 some are including the gas..
Before you leave, they will give you a nautical chart (like a map) and explain it to you. It's important you understand the water depth readings. The tide here can swing 8 to 9 feet, and you can do a lot of damage to a boat on oyster shell reefs and shallows in general.
Also important are the no-wake zones prevalent in all the estuaries and creeks. These are enforced by the Beaufort County Sheriff and the US Coast Guard (minimum $150 fine, plus any damage to property).
In most cases, boat rental companies do not permit their boats in the ocean (too far to come get you if you get in trouble, water may be rough). Also you may not beach a boat and you must stay 100 yards offshore in swimming areas . Yes, there is such a thing as a BUI.

If you get in trouble
Few rental boats have radios, so you be sure to take your cell phone. To signal a need for assistance from another boat, wave both arms (waving one arm is a greeting). If you loose power, find the anchor, make sure the other end of the anchor line is tied firmly to the boat, and throw out the anchor. This will keep you from drifting on the tidal currents, which can sweep you away at an alarming rate. It is against the law for a boater to ignore a plea for help, and you will find most to be very helpful, especially the commercial boats. Your rescuer might not offer a tow - with a rental boat it's not allowed - but can contact the rental company to come for you.

What to do on a rented boat.

Dolphin watching is a favorite pastime. You can find Dolphins off the Northern tip of Hilton Head plantation past Skull Creek, in the lower reaches of Broad Creek, off South Beach, and wherever a shrimp trawler is anchored.
Cruise up Broad Creek and check out the mansions on Bram's Point. Go North in the Calibogue sound and you can go under the bridge from the mainland. On your way past Buck island, get close to the dock to see the Statue of Liberty at one end and the highway patrolman at the other. Go West to Daufuskie island and go up the New river and Mungen creek, which will take you to the public boat landing on Daufuskie Go up the May river and see old Bluffton from the water. Just remember there are no bathrooms on these boats!

With acknowledgement to Dave Murphy for his suggestion

This page Updated 08/01/2016



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