The knowing guides at SpeedBoat Tours plant patrons behind the wheels of slick water steeds for 90-minute guided and narrated tours along Miami’s scenic coast. After learning basics functions and French vocab words in a brief tutorial, duos or foursomes board their safe, easy-to-drive mini boats to explore the surly seas. Cruisers witness the glitz and glam of millionaire’s row, where expensive roosts and celebrity homes shine from the coast as if wrapped in golden toilet paper. Water caravans also catch glimpses of the Miami skyline and several historic landmarks plus local wildlife that may include dolphins, manatees, and pelicans. Pack-leading guides continuously point tours to their next destination via radio, hand signals, and reliance on the boat’s muscle memory.
Buddy closes his eyes as he sits on the deck of Buddy's Dream, letting the ocean breeze run through his gold hair as his tongue flaps in the wind. Ernie, owner of South Beach Boat Rentals, appointed his golden retriever as the company's mascot, naming all of his boats after the pooch instead of using impersonal numbers or the names of favorite Congressmen. After retiring from directing films in New York, Ernie decided to move to Miami, where he fell in love with boating, which helped him forget day-to-day concerns as he skimmed over the water.
Ernie's fleet of rental boats includes powerboats and luxury yachts, such as a 25-foot Azure Luxury 250 horsepower bow rider or an 18-foot Sea Ray sports boat, which renters can pilot themselves with a valid driver's license and boating experience. Ernie also leads private tours, including the historical Stilts Ville tour or the popular two-hour Miami Waters tour, which zooms past the homes of celebrities such as Gloria Estefan and Shaquille O'Neal while giving stunning views of the Miami skyline.
Manned by a U.S. Coast Guard–certified crew, a Thriller SuperCat 55 power catamaran safely whisks patrons away on Thriller Miami Speedboat Adventures' 45-minute voyages that trek all the way into the Atlantic Ocean. After shipping out from Bayside Marketplace, captains navigate the vessel through Biscayne Bay, South Beach, and the Miami Gold Coast, granting guests sweeping views of Fisher Island, Miami Beach, South Beach's Art Deco district, and the towering Miami skyline. Conversant guides narrate each excursion, pinpointing sites of historical interest as they pass by and helping visitors identify multimillion-dollar dwellings owned by celebrities such as Shaquille O'Neal, Gloria Estefan, and Count Chocula.
After Captain Chris Gruno escaped the chilly air of New Jersey and his desolate cubicle desk, he brought the Grouchy Turtle to the Florida Keys, where he now ferries patrons through tropical waters. The catamaran, a 33.5-foot-long boat with six rooms, can sleep up to four on overnight voyages and fit up to six passengers on daytime jaunts. A blue, U-shaped bench borders the table in the saloon, and the master cabin boasts a bed big enough for a queen. The vessel is the vehicle for diverse aquatic jaunts, including kayak tours.
In the 1950s, Bayside Marketplace’s Pier 5 was a hub of activity, bustling with fishermen, cooks, and gossiping locals. Nowadays, though, the pier is a hub for a more modern demographic: jet skiers. As the home base of Miami Jet Ski Rental, the pier hosts a fleet of 2009 Yamaha VX Deluxe jet skis and a team of CPR- and First Aid-certified staffers. Aboard their rental vessels, adventurers can zoom through Biscayne Bay or take to the Atlantic Ocean, catching glimpses of wildlife such as dolphins, manatees, and librarians.
Back in 1955, Bayside Marketplace was abuzz with fishermen selling the day’s catch to people eager to bring home a fresh dinner to their families. Today, the waterside marketplace still bustles with shoppers, but now both tourists and locals bob in and out of retail shops and restaurants, and stop mid-step to catch street performers in action. It’s in this lively epicenter—which reminds many of San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf—that Boat Rental Miami calls home. Here, rental offices try to bring a bit of the past into the future through fishing trips and leisurely bouts at sea.
New and veteran boaters alike can visit the market’s Pier 5 and board a wide range of vessels to experience the Atlantic Ocean or Biscayne Bay. Boat Rental Miami outfits boaters with sports boards with extended swim platforms, kraken deterrent, and wakeboard storage for fishing vessels with extra-quiet four-stroke motors. Frequent boaters can sign up for one of the club’s membership programs and receive regular discounts on rentals, while novices can try their hand at steering during Saturday boating classes.