Do I Need a Licence to Rent a Boat?

Do I Need a Licence to Rent a Boat?

Oct 29, 2021

Wouldn’t it be fun to get away from it all and spend a day out on the water? Thankfully, you don’t need to own your own boat or even have a friend who does in order to do this. You could rent a boat! Then, the vast ocean is yours to explore. The only question is, is it really that easy? Do you need a licence to rent a boat in Nicaragua or can you simply rent one and go? This is a great question, so we’re going to do our best to answer it.

What to Know to Rent a Boat

Many of Nicaragua’s top destinations are accessible only, or most easily, by boat. Prior to renting a boat, you’ll need to check a few things off your to-do list. This list is not exhaustive, but it’s a great place to start:

  • Be sure to check local, state, and federal boating laws and regulations to ensure that you’re in compliance with what you need to rent a boat.
  • Verify that the boat you will be renting has it’s documentation up-to-date and stowed in a safe, waterproof location. These include any needed licenses, maintenance records, towing memberships, marina memberships, emergency contacts, proof of insurance, and local charts and tides.
  • Ask if the vessel is regularly maintained year-round.
  • Ensure that the boat you will be renting has all the necessary safety equipment under local, state, and federal laws.
  • Test and verify the boat’s systems are all working well. This includes lights, engine, bilge, navigation, battery, water intake, line/sheets, anchor, and steering.
  • Check fuel levels. You don’t want to leave on E and be stuck out in the water!
  • Document any pre-existing damage on the vessel before you leave the dock or marina.

Do I Need a Licence to Rent a Boat?

Wait- licence? Do you need a licence to rent a boat? Yes! Rental companies require a license and major credit card, and most want you to be at least 25 years old. If you don’t have a boating licence, or don’t have an international one that would be legal here in Nicaragua, you’re going to need to explore a different option.

Better Options and Choices

You’re not going to rent a boat on your own, but you still want to visit exotic destinations like Playa Trébol, Isla Anciana, Playa Blanca, or Playa Brasilito. What are your other options? Public pangas (small open motorboats) with outboard motors are an option, although many people consider them to be too expensive for what they are. In general, it costs around (US) $6 to$8 per hour of travel. In places without regular service, you will need to hire your own private panga. Prices vary widely, but you’ll spend about $50 to$100 per hour for four to six people.

Is that all? No! It’s easy, and much more stress-free, to charter a sailboat transport up and down the Atlantic and Pacific coast. You can charter a catamaran and spend time out on the vast ocean, or have the boat take you to a far off destination. 

Charter a Catamaran

Esmeralda is a catamaran boat that provides a unique sailing experience in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama. The boat is landed in San Juan del Sur, Rivas, a town on Nicaragua’s southwest coast. You have two options, a mid day or a full day. Then, you can select your destination. Your options with Esmeralda include a four hour boat trip with time spent on Playa Blanca or Brasilito Beach, or a full day excursion to Bolaños Island, Playa Brasilito, Playa Trébol, Isla Anciana, Playa Redonda, and Gigante. With so many gorgeous beaches and islands to choose from, selecting your destination may very well be the most difficult aspect of this whole experience!

We know that once you really think about it, you’ll decide that chartering a catamaran and having someone else drive you around is a much better idea than trying to rent a boat on your own. Instead of being stressed about everything from whether or not you need a licence to navigating in unfamiliar waters, you can simply enjoy your day on the wide open seas. It’s the perfect vacation idea!