Sailor For A Day

It may be the ideal time of year to buy a boat, but even the most aquatically inclined person might not be ready jump in and make that commitment so fast. Fear not! Owning a boat is not the only way to enjoy one. Whether you wish to spend a relaxing day on the water or want to learn to fish, many businesses all across Long Island offer unique ways to experience the water that surrounds us.

Renting

If you can drive a boat, but don’t do it often enough to incur the expenses of owning and maintaining your own, renting is an easy and inexpensive alternative. Prices vary depending on the model, day, and length of the rental period. Strong’s Marine offers a weekday rental (9 a.m-4p.m.) of a standard Pursuit 180 Center Console boat (6-8 passengers) for just $295. To rent the same model for a full week is about $2200.

Before allowing you to rent a boat, most places want to make sure their customers will be safe out on the water. To rent from Strong’s Marine, a customer must answer a questionnaire at the beginning of the rental process to prove they have adequate experience. New or novice boaters are encouraged to take a 3-hour, $125 boating lesson on the water that takes place in the first three hours of their rental period. To receive a lesson, a reservation must be made at least four days in advance. If you’re seeking more adventure than a leisurely boat ride can provide, inquire about their new water sports instruction program.

Strong’s also offers summer rentals from July to August. Prices start at $9950 for an 18-foot boat. The renter must be 21 or older, have boating experience, a dock location, and payment is expected in full. Early reservations are preferred, but each customer’s needs are accommodated.

A $2000 security deposit is charged for every rental at Strong’s Marine, and voided once the boat is returned unharmed.

At Long Island Boat Rentals, the customer is free to operate a rental on their own only if they pass a “Knowledge And Experience” test. For customers who lack experience, a licensed captain can be hired at an additional charge. While Long Island Boat Rentals offers online reservations, to ensure the availability of a captain, new boaters should call to arrange a reservation at least two days in advance. Training for those interested in obtaining a New York state boating license can be provided on request.

Chartering

Of course, you can still enjoy the view from a boat without learning to drive it. Chartering, or renting a boat with a captain included, is a more expensive option, but allows you to relax and enjoy Long Island’s beautiful waters knowing an experienced driver is at the wheel.

At Long Island Boat Rentals. “Pursuit” includes not only a captain, but a full kitchen, shower, sound system, luxury seating, and even an outdoor grill. It can be rented for a full day (9 a.m-4 p.m.) for just $2100. The “Alden” costs $250 per hour (5-hour minimum) and includes a captain and a crewmember.

Fishing Charter

While fishing equipment is welcome on some rented boats, a fishing charter is a great way for a novice or inexperienced fisherman to learn the sport. There are many fishing charter companies across Long Island. The price of a trip varies depending on time of day, size of the party, and type of fish you’re looking to catch. A full day of fishing for four people seems to run for between $600 and $800, but price often depends on the needs of the customer, so it is best to call for a quote when you are ready to make a reservation.

A crew (or captain), and supplies including fishing poles, bait, and tackle are provided on the charters. People of all experience levels are welcome. Some places will teach basic fishing techniques, including ones used to make a “big” catch.

Be sure to ask about the inclement weather/cancellation policy, because some charters expect to go out rain or shine. If you are unaccustomed to water or prone to seasickness, make sure you’re fishing out of a bay, as the water is calm.

Wildlife Tours/Short Cruises

Science lovers looking for a fun day trip should consider visiting Freeport Water Taxi & Tours. They offer several types of “Eco Tours” depending on the season, including two-hour, $25 (adult price) harbor seal watching (October-April) and bird watching trips.

Caption Rick Cohen relies on his lifetime’s worth of knowledge of indigenous fish and crustaceans to lead the tours. Local environmental issues and the effects of Superstorm Sandy on the area are discussed. During the fall, bird watching tours include a full color sheet to help passengers identify different species, and an outside expert hired to help with the presentation.

The business was founded with the intention of providing visitors to the Nautical Mile with an alternative to drinking and driving. In addition to tours, they run a shuttle service between Point Lookout and Freeport, and count many local restaurants and even residential areas among their drop off points. Customers can enjoy a relaxing dinner and trust that they will be returned home safely. They also offer a variety of different types of short cruises, most which last for an hour and cost $25 per adult.

esme mazzeo

Esme Mazzeo is a freelance writer and T.V. junkie who enjoys writing arts, culture, and lifestyle pieces. Follow her on Twitter @EsmeMazzeo