Boat rentals usually begin with a brief orientation, during which time you go over the boat's controls and safety equipment. A boat rental company should cover all pertinent details during the initial orientation. You should still make sure each of the essentials is covered, though, for you'll be the one on the water. Here's what to check before you depart from the dock.
Life Jackets and Throw Ring
Every boat should have enough life jackets onboard so that each person can wear one if they need to. Having a throw ring onboard is also wise, in case someone falls over without their life jacket on.
Always double-check that there's a life jacket for everyone before departing from the dock, regardless of whether you're taking out a boat rental or your own vessel. When renting a boat, also make sure everyone aboard knows where the life jackets are. You need to be able to reach them quickly if something happens. You don't want to have to search for them.
The throw ring should also be easily accessible. Everyone not only should know where it is but also how to unfasten it from the device that keeps it in place.
Anchor and Extra Rope
Many people who take boat rentals out intend to anchor somewhere and enjoy their time on the water. An anchor can also secure your boat if the current becomes too strong for it, or you somehow run into trouble. In both situations, you'll want to know where the anchor is. You don't want to be searching for an anchor, while also maneuvering for the perfect anchorage.
Most boats have the anchor toward the bow. It'll likely be at the point of the bow if your rental boat is larger, or under the bow seat if you're renting a smaller boat. Make sure the anchor is there, though, and that you're familiar with how to use the particular type of anchor.
Also, ask whether there's another anchor stored near the stern. Some boats have a second anchor onboard, but not all do.
If you're signing up for a boat rental, you're probably not too familiar with the nearby waters. Ask whether any local charts are onboard the boat. They likely are if the boat is larger, but might not be if the boat is smaller. If charts aren't onboard, ask the staff which charts you should download to your phone.
Contact a local boat rental service, such as Boat Rental Miami, to learn more.