A connection to the sea is in US Coast Guard–licensed captain Scott Self's blood—and, likely, his name. Given Texas's high concentration of the surname Self, it's probable that Scott hails from a band of prisoners shipped over from the coast of England in the first half of the 19th century courtesy of the British Royal Navy. Each prisoner on these ships was dubbed a Seawolf, a title that would eventually be shortened to Self. It's certainly fitting, then, that Scott finds himself at home on the water—he's even twice retraced his ancestors' transatlantic trip aboard a 44-foot sailboat, once heading eastward and once westward.
Today, Sail with Scott offers group and private sailing charters out of Lake Ray Hubbard's Bella Harbor. Captain Andy Blesi, a licensed captain who has been boating all his life, sails Harbor Lights, a 57-foot heated double-decker powerboat. The ship whisks passengers on peaceful cruises across the lake's calm waters, offering glimpses of scenic vistas, beautiful lakeside homes, and crystal-clear waters.
For 40 years, the watersports enthusiasts of High Trails Canoe and Kayak Outfitters have outfitted visitors for outdoor adventures, renting the vessels they lift their name from along with standup paddleboards. In addition to renting gear, the staff also teaches kayaking classes that include beginner and advanced touring courses, as well as how to navigate surging waters such as rapids or a neighbor's hot tub. For sportsmen looking to purchase their own watercraft, High Trails' team stocks a fleet of multisport, sit-on-top, and hybrid kayaks from brands such as Hurricane Kayaks and Heritage Kayaks. An online advice page guides guests through choosing kayaks, encouraging them to consider design, material, and comfort.
A 50-foot Party Barge is just the beginning of Lavon Water Sports' impressive fleet. The two-story barge is equipped with a gas grill, restroom, satellite radio, and CD of the songs from The Love Boat. Smaller parties can rent out 22-foot pontoons or take WaveRunners for joy rides across Lake Lavon. Those aiming to cast their lines can also rent out fishing boats for up to eight hours of fishing stories.
Bring your Italian-fairytale fantasies to life without enduring the cost and chaos of the international flight or another encounter with the Man on the Scooter. You'll set out from either Gondola Adventures’ floating headquarters or the nearby Omni Mandalay Hotel. A master gondolerino will either sing or play romantic music as he pokes and paddles through quiet canal inlets on to the foamy heads of waterfalls or across the glassy, mirrored-sky expanse of the lake. You'll be plied with chocolates and non-alcoholic sparkling wine. Thanks to Irving's 1888 anti-hoedown law, if you want alcoholic wine you'll have to purchase it from the Omni Mandalay Hotel and have them cork it and bring it down to the boat.
After visiting BNB Jet Ski Rental, up to three wave wranglers per group can straddle a 2009 Sea-Doo watercraft for two hours of heart-racing fun. The buoyant personal cruisers volunteer their breeze-butchering services to riders of any age, allowing even children to forget about pending marriage proposals and let loose alongside adult drivers. To ensure the safety of each ebb conqueror, BNB adorns operators and passengers in sink-free, Coast Guard–approved safety vests that must be worn at all times and for all yearbook photos. A valid photo ID is required for rental, and BNB will not rent out speedsters to anyone intoxicated by alcohol, drugs, or blinding power trips over subservient whitecaps.
Lynn Creek Marina has been lounging on the shore of Joe Pool Lake since 1990, granting visitors access to 7,500 acres of aquatic entertainment. The marina's 541 covered and uncovered wet slips house boats up to 50 feet, and its dry storage areas protect boats up to 28 feet long from squalls and water-balloon fights. Visitors can rent SunTracker pontoon boats, Sea Ray ski boats, 2011 Yamaha WaveRunners, and 14-foot fishing boats, or bring a boat in need of mending to the full-service marine repair facility.
Additionally, the ships' store furnishes outings with a selection of marine accessories and gear, including fishing tackle and bait, snacks, and water toys, and the Oasis Restaurant and Lakeview Bar fuels boaters with grilled seafood and Tex-Mex fare. Lakeside breezes swirl through the rest of the marina's grounds, parading fresh air toward the swimming pool for slip lessees and their families, the driving range, the miniature-golf course, and the yacht club that hosts events and sailboat races, including the annual Mayday Regatta.