Boat Rentals in the San Francisco Bay Area

Dozens of boats are available to rent on San Francisco Bay, in Sausalito, San Francisco, Berkelely, Richmond, and in the Oakland/Alameda Estuary.

Renting a Boat on SF Bay

San Francisco Bay is a demanding place to skipper your own boat. If you don’t have experience dealing with 30-knot winds, 4-foot chop, and 5-knot currents, think twice before heading out at the helm of a rented boat. Most organizations that rent boats can also provide trained skippers. If your experience is limited, consider limiting your boating to the Oakland Estuary, which is relatively calm.

See the Boat Rental Directory to find the more than 20 companies that rent boats in the central San Francisco Bay area.

Another new option is to rent a boat directly from the owner, through the Boatbound website.

Rent a Sailboat

Sailboats between 22 and 44 feet are the most common rental boats on SF Bay, with a few larger sailboats also available to qualified skippers.

Most sailing schools offer sailing club membership programs that provide access to their fleet at reduced rates. Some even provide unlimited use of their sailboats for a single annual fee. If you plan to rent sailboats regularly, one of these sailing clubs is likely to be your best option.

Renting Kayaks on SF Bay

You can also rent kayaks, which are great for seeing the bay and shoreline up close. Novice kayakers should stick to protected areas, such as Richardson Bay or the Oakland Estuary, and avoid the open waters of the bay. Rowing shells are also available to members of rowing clubs.

Powerboat Rentals

Relatively few powerboats are available for rent on the bay, but you can rent a Boston Whaler or a Mainship trawler.

Skippered Boat Charters

If you’re looking for a skippered boat on San Francisco Bay, you have two choices:

  • You can rent a boat from one of the many companies that offer “bareboats,” and ask them to provide a skipper.
  • You can charter a yacht that operates full-time as a crewed charter. These vessels tend to be larger and more luxurious. Most charter yacht owners will also arrange catering of anything from appetizers to elaborate gourmet meals.

Bay Cruises

For a less expensive option, consider taking one of the scheduled bay cruises, which you can book on a per-person basis. Such bay tours are available on both power boats and large motoryachts, from 30′ to 300′, and on sailboats.

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