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Rent a Boat or Yacht in Chicago, Illinois

4.9(Average of 3,350 reviews in this area)
Get set to boat with the GetMyBoat Guide to Chicago
1 - 24 of 192 listings
37' Luxury Sailboat with Captain
Sailing in Lake Michigan · 6 guests

37' Luxury Sailboat with Captain

5.0
Superowner
$300hour
Private Tours on 27' Baja Boss Speedboat in Chicago with Captain Bob
Powerboats in Lake Michigan · 4 guests

Private Tours on 27' Baja Boss Speedboat in Chicago with Captain Bob

5.0
Superowner
$225hour
33' Captained Charters in Chicago aboard SeaVibes!
Powerboats in Lake Michigan · 6 guests

33' Captained Charters in Chicago aboard SeaVibes!

5.0
Superowner
$275hour
FunTime 2 Chicago on Party Boats
Powerboats in Lake Michigan · 20 guests

FunTime 2 Chicago on Party Boats

5.0
Superowner
Best of 2022
$823hour
Private Cruise onboard Hunter Legend Sailboat in Chicago
Sailing in Lake Michigan · 6 guests

Private Cruise onboard Hunter Legend Sailboat in Chicago

5.0
Superowner
$200hour
Sea Ray Express Cruiser - Play Pen Bound for Fun and Relaxation
Events in Lake Michigan · 12 guests

Sea Ray Express Cruiser - Play Pen Bound for Fun and Relaxation

5.0
Superowner
$350hour
Beautiful Luxury Cruiser 40' Sea Ray Sundancer for Charter in Chicago
Events in Lake Michigan · 12 guests

Beautiful Luxury Cruiser 40' Sea Ray Sundancer for Charter in Chicago

5.0
Superowner
Best of 2022
$238hour
Charter a 42' Luxury Mediterranean Yacht for 12 guests w/ Captain in Chicago
Events in Lake Michigan · 12 guests

Charter a 42' Luxury Mediterranean Yacht for 12 guests w/ Captain in Chicago

5.0
Superowner
Best of 2022
$400hour
14 Passenger Captained Party & Event Boat in Chicago, Illinois!
Powerboats in Lake Michigan · 14 guests

14 Passenger Captained Party & Event Boat in Chicago, Illinois!

5.0
Superowner
Best of 2022
$600hour
HUGE affordable boat! Best rates for your group of up to 12!
Powerboats in Lake Michigan · 12 guests

HUGE affordable boat! Best rates for your group of up to 12!

4.9
Superowner
Best of 2022
$225hour
Trident 38' Pontoon Party Boat for Charter in Chicago
Powerboats in Lake Michigan · 20 guests

Trident 38' Pontoon Party Boat for Charter in Chicago

5.0
Superowner
Best of 2022
$700hour
Captained Charter this 36' C & C Cruising Monohull in Chicago, Illinois
Sailing in Lake Michigan · 6 guests

Captained Charter this 36' C & C Cruising Monohull in Chicago, Illinois

5.0
Superowner
Best of 2022
$220hour
40ft Got a Life Formula 40 PC Motor Yacht Rental in Chicago, Illinois
Events in Lake Michigan · 12 guests

40ft Got a Life Formula 40 PC Motor Yacht Rental in Chicago, Illinois

5.0
Superowner
Best of 2022
$450hour
Multi Level Luxury Yacht Rental in Chicago, up to 12 guests. All water toys are included!
Events in Lake Michigan · 12 guests

Multi Level Luxury Yacht Rental in Chicago, up to 12 guests. All water toys are included!

4.9
Superowner
$265hour
50' Multi-level Luxury Yacht with Party up to 12
Events in Lake Michigan · 12 guests

50' Multi-level Luxury Yacht with Party up to 12

5.0
Superowner
Best of 2022
$400hour
31' Captained Yacht, Fun in Chicago Aboard
Events in Lake Michigan · 6 guests

31' Captained Yacht, Fun in Chicago Aboard

5.0
Superowner
Best of 2022
$275hour
Chicago Skyline Voyage onboard Sea Ray 450 Sundancer in Chicago
Events in Lake Michigan · 12 guests

Chicago Skyline Voyage onboard Sea Ray 450 Sundancer in Chicago

4.9
Superowner
Best of 2022
$400hour
53' Luxury Yacht w/Flybridge and Sundeck Rental in Chicago, Illinois
Events in Lake Michigan · 12 guests

53' Luxury Yacht w/Flybridge and Sundeck Rental in Chicago, Illinois

5.0
Superowner
$350hour
HUGE affordable boat! Best rates for your group of up to 12!
Powerboats in Lake Michigan · 12 guests

HUGE affordable boat! Best rates for your group of up to 12!

5.0
Superowner
Best of 2022
$220hour
62' $2M Italian Luxury Yacht with Party up to 12
Events in Lake Michigan · 12 guests

62' $2M Italian Luxury Yacht with Party up to 12

5.0
Superowner
Best of 2022
$1,000hour
Maxum yacht - huge open seating area and bow sunpad! Ready for 2022 summer fun!
Powerboats in Lake Michigan · 12 guests

Maxum yacht - huge open seating area and bow sunpad! Ready for 2022 summer fun!

5.0
Superowner
Best of 2022
$300hour
Amazing Party Cruising Trips on 34 ft Cruiser in Chicago, Illinois
Events in Lake Michigan · 16 guests

Amazing Party Cruising Trips on 34 ft Cruiser in Chicago, Illinois

4.9
Superowner
Best of 2022
$434hour
2018 Luxury Sea Ray 31 SLX in Chicago up to 10 guests!!
Powerboats in Lake Michigan · 10 guests

2018 Luxury Sea Ray 31 SLX in Chicago up to 10 guests!!

5.0
Superowner
Best of 2022
$350hour
Affordable Sea Ray bowrider for experienced boaters to drive yourself or hire a captain!
Powerboats in Lake Michigan · 8 guests

Affordable Sea Ray bowrider for experienced boaters to drive yourself or hire a captain!

4.8
Superowner
Best of 2022
$194hour

Chicago Reviews

  1. Mark
    Mark
    31' Captained Yacht, Fun in Chicago Aboard

    Mark: Len is an amazing host and captain. I’ve never had such a warm welcome or heartfelt experience, not on the wooden felucca on the Nile, nor the canal boat in England, nor the gondola in Venice, nor on a pedal bike boat on the Chicago River, nor any of my friend’s boats, or 75 foot yacht, on either side of Lake Michigan. Len was the only 1 of 7 GetMyBoat operator to respond with a personal reply. After a couple messages via the app, I had the courage to book my first ever GetMyBoat boat. Len requested a phone call to touch base. 2 days later, he was walking down the pier to greet us and bring onboard. Len went over the safety rules and confirmed our preferences for the 2 hours. Amy/Brian: Captain Len is the ultimate power boat captain. He makes safety priority one. He shared rich details about the history of Chicago, was very hospitable and made the boat ride unforgettable. We’ve never had a better boat ride experience in Chicago and beyond. Steven/Kristi: “Captain Len wowed us with his knowledge of chicago history and the best views to enjoy on the water. We were impressed by his attention to detail and safety was his number 1 priority.”

  2. CG
    Clare
    Private Tours on 27' Baja Boss Speedboat in Chicago with Captain Bob

    Captain Bob is the GOAT! We love him! He was so accommodating and so much fun. He took us out on the lake and gave us a sight seeing tour. My guests from out of town had so much fun being on lake. He took us to see the Chicago lighthouse, Navy Pier, Planetarium, and Play Pen. Would definitely recommend!!

  3. VH
    Valerie
    Private Tours on 27' Baja Boss Speedboat in Chicago with Captain Bob

    We had a brilliant time with Captain Bob - even though the boat is a speed demon (in a good way), he's got a background doing water rescues as a firefighter so we always felt like we were in safe hands. He's also got an encyclopaedic knowledge of Chicago history and some interesting stories about the city. He's also great at stopping at the scenic spots for the most memorable photos. Loved our trip - can't wait to go again some time.

  4. Sara
    Sara
    37' Luxury Sailboat with Captain

    My fiancé and I planned a engagement photoshoot, however, due to weather conditions not cooperating, Greg was so flexible at rescheduling with us. He made us feel very comfortable and gave tips on how to take the most beautiful photoshoot out of the beautiful scenery of the city. Would totally recommend him! By the way, the boat was spotless, so clean and so so beautiful😍

  5. GM
    Gerald
    37' Luxury Sailboat with Captain

    We had an awesome experience on Dragonfly. Greg arrived on time to pick us up and we immediately headed out onto the lake. Greg listened to what we needed as a new sailing couple and really delivered. Greg is extremely knowledgeable and a good teacher. We had a lot of fun, highly recommend Greg and Cait. We will be back aboard the next time we're in Chicago.

  6. Bailey
    Bailey
    37' Luxury Sailboat with Captain

    We had such a good time taking our engagement photos on the boat. Greg was so accommodating to us with taking the photos and positioning the boat where we needed it. Would 100% recommend to anyone looking to take some amazing photos and have a great time on the lake.

The Chicago Boating Guide 2022

  • First Published Sep 15, 2022
In This Guide
Chicago Guide

The GetMyBoat Guide to Chicago

Between the iconic river that weaves through the city and the vast expanse of Lake Michigan, Chicago is a wonderful destination to spend time on the water. If you’re visiting the Windy City during the summer and looking to experience boating, you can choose from amazing sailing trips, yacht charters, boats for watersports, and so much more.

Chicago at a Glance

Chicago Guide

Chicago is a sprawling city that is home to incredible dining, art, sightseeing opportunities, and outdoor fun. With unique neighborhoods and districts that celebrate an abundance of cultures, there’s something for everyone in Chi Town. Home to the iconic “Cloud Gate” (also known as The Bean) mirrored sculpture, Navy Pier, Wrigley Field, and the Willis (formerly Sears) Tower, Chicago is a must-see city for adventurous travelers looking to experience a little bit of everything in a bustling urban environment. Explore the riverfront, learn about the history of the city on an architectural tour, or book a boat party and experience the epic “Playpen” area of Lake Michigan.

3 Hours

The average rental duration for GetMyBoat bookings in Chicago — perfect for a sightseeing cruise as part of a day playing tourist.

July and August

These two months account for 65% of GetMyBoat trips in Chicago, with June and September rounding out another 30%. Outside of those months, it’s typically too cold to boat.

GetMyBoat Chicago Statistics
As of
Active boat listings
123
People sent boating
45,000+
Average cost per booking
$1,316
Your typical power boat is the most popular boat rental type in Chicago, followed by larger yachts and sailboats.
Power Boats

Boating Season in Chicago

Summer is the best time to enjoy boating in Chicago! Due to strict city regulations, the official season runs from May 1st to October 31st when the harbors are open.

The busiest weekends on the water in Chicago are the 4th of July weekend, Memorial Day Weekend, Labor Day Weekend, and the annual “Chicago Scene Boat Party” weekend, which typically takes place in late July or early August. During the summer you can usually expect sunny and hot conditions, perfect for a day on the lake or the river.

When are the best times to visit?

If you’re looking to boat, the best time frame will be peak summer. From June to July, the weather should be warm and pleasant enough for you to enjoy a balmy, sun-filled day on the water.

What’s the water temperature like?

Lake Michigan never gets all that warm, only reaching an average of 70ºF in August. July and September are similarly warm, around 65ºF — though if you’re used to warm Caribbean waters, it’ll certainly feel a bit bracing. Outside of those summer months, the temperature gets very cold, and of course, parts of the lake ice over in the winter.

Current Conditions

Temperature

42 °F

Water temp.

43 °F

Humidity

61 %

Pressure

1011 hPa

Wind

SSW 18.27 f/sec

Visibility

15 mi

Cloudiness

100 %

Local Events

What Types of Boats Can I Rent in Chicago?

Chicago has plenty of different types of boats to rent: everything from pontoons to luxury motor yachts, sailing catamarans, fishing boats, and jet skis are available. Here’s a bit of information on the average prices, and more, for each different option.

Where to Eat, Drink, Stay, and More

Looking to explore the area? Look no further! Thanks to its diverse stretch of over 70 neighborhoods and a rich waterfront area, Chicago is home to a wide array of spots that combine the best of both city life and boating culture. Here are some of the best to add to your list as reasons to visit the Windy City.

A map of Chicago

Reasons To Rent a Boat in Chicago

Visiting for a special occasion? A corporate retreat? Bachelor or bachelorette party? Whatever your reason, take it to the water! There are all kinds of occasions that are better celebrated on a boat rentals while you’re in the Windy City.

Local Boating Services

A note: if you’re renting a boat through GetMyBoat, please contact the boat owner before utilizing any of the following services. They may have a preferred provider or the services may be covered through insurance or within your rental agreement.

Boat Towing Services

Middle River Marine

Professional boat towing services in Chicago.

2001 N Mendell St, Chicago, IL 60642 (866) 274-6302

TowBoatUS Chicago

Services include marine salvage, repairs, spill cleanup, towing, and battery jumps up to 50 miles offshore.

(269) 605-9036

Perfect Imperfection LLC

Offering marine HVAC, boat detailing, boat towing services, and graphics and stripping services.

35 E Madison St, Waukegan IL, 60085 (833) 737-3467

Boat Mechanics & Repair Technicians

Aquaman Marine

Marine repair services provider, known for their excellent customer service and knowledgeable mechanics.

5401 N Wolcott Ave #6, Chicago, IL 60640 (877) 649-1858

Rentner Marine Services

This boat repair company provides 5-star service in Chicago, offering boat storage, repairs, educational seminars, and is an authorized dealer for boat parts.

13535 S Forest Ave, Chicago, IL 60827 (773) 468-3776

Elite Yacht Services

This company provides not only boat and yacht repair, but full-scale yacht management from maintenance to operation. They offer crew services too.

207 E Ohio St #202, Chicago, IL 60611 (219) 743-2556

Crowley’s Yacht Yard LLC

Crowley’s sells boat and engine parts, and provides services including rigging, mechanical repair, painting, systems services, hauling, and wood refinishing.

3434 E 95th St, Chicago, IL 60617 (773) 221-9990

Marinas & Harbors in Chicago

31st Street Harbor

This massive marina has over 1000 boat slips, a playground, and clean facilities. It’s operated by the city and often has live music from a DJ. It’s also noted as a good place to fish.

3155 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60616 (312) 225-6464

DuSable Harbor

Right in the heart of downtown Chicago, DuSable has 420 boat slips and stunning views of the Chicago skyline. They offer no-charge waste pump out and a friendly dockmaster to help boaters get in and out.

111 N Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60601 (312) 742-3577

Burnham Harbor

Burnham Harbor offers fuel and laundry services for boaters, transient slips, an on-site restaurant, and it is the largest of all the marinas in the city with 1,126 wet slips. This harbor is within walking distance of the Shedd Aquarium and other Chicago attractions.

1559 E Waldron Dr, Chicago, IL 60605 (312) 747-7009

Belmont Harbor

Located in Lincoln Park, Belmont Harbor has over 800 slips. It is family-friendly and it offers dry storage in addition to wet slips, and transient docking services.

3600 North Recreation Dr, Chicago, IL 60613 (312) 742-7673

Safety, Preparation, and Navigation

What to Bring on Your Boat Rental

Bringing the right stuff can make or break your boat day, so get together a checklist of what you’ll want well ahead of time so that you don’t forget on the day of.

What to bring will depend on your itinerary and weather conditions, but that being said — it’s always a good idea to bring water, snacks, sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat, towels, a warm extra layer of clothing (in case it gets chilly), as well as boat shoes. Your boat captain or owner that you rent from can give you more ideas on necessary essentials to bring.

And while most boat captains, owners, and boat rental services should include lifejackets and safety gear, if you have a personal lifejacket that you prefer to wear while enjoying watersports or other activities, it’s a good idea to bring it along.

It might feel like overkill for a casual day on the water, but it’s always better to be over-prepared than under-prepared.

Safety, Preparation, and Navigation
Boating at Night

Visibility is reduced at night, so it’s essential to slow down and be aware of your surroundings. Chartplotters and marine radars are beneficial tools to use in the dark and help you feel more confident when navigating the waters at night. Between the hours of sunset and sunrise or during times of reduced visibility (fog, rain, haze), recreational vessels are required to display navigation lights.

Wake Zones

“Wake” are the waves that form as your watercraft moves through the water. It’s important to be on the lookout for a “no-wake zone” - an area where a vessel must operate at a slow speed that doesn’t create a wake. You can usually identify a no-wake zone by white and orange floating markers or a row of markers.

Boating Emergency Services

Dial 911 from any land or cellular phone.

US Coast Guard Station Chicago

Address: 4001 E 98th St, Chicago, IL 60617
Phone: (773) 768-4093

Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC)

Address: 1411 W Madison St #4, Chicago, IL 60607
Phone: (312) 746-9111

Chicago Boat Rental FAQ

Boat Rental Basics

What makes GetMyBoat different from other boat rental apps?

GetMyBoat is the world’s largest boat rental and water experience marketplace. We connect more people to boat rental services than any other company. Our mobile app available for iOS and Android makes it possible to find and book boating experiences right on your phone.

You can access thousands of professional boat captains and companies to help plan your perfect day on the water. GetMyBoat’s 24/7 customer service team is always available to help with any step in the booking process. We also enable you to read real user reviews and see photos added from past users, so you can book with confidence that you’re choosing a 5-star boat rental or water experience.

GetMyBoat is committed to taking the lowest booking fees in the industry to save the customer money in pursuit of their perfect day on the water.

What is a boat charter?

A boat charter (vs. a boat rental) includes a professional captain to drive the boat. Frequently, it also includes crew members to provide services to the passengers, like food and beverage, as well as being there to assist the captain. The number of crew members working a boat charter will depend on the size of the vessel and the number of guests onboard.

A boat charter with a licensed, professional captain is the best option for inexperienced boaters or people unfamiliar with the waterways they wish to explore. A captain can provide an amazing experience on a private boat rental and help make the experience safer and more relaxing for boaters.

Can I rent a boat for a week?

While half-day and full-day boat rentals are the most commonly booked trip durations on GetMyBoat, some boat owners and operators allow for multi-day or week-long rentals. Some owners and boat rental services offer discounted rates when you book for more than one day. Ask about weekly deals on rentals if you’re hoping to go boating for more than one day.

Where do I pick up the boat rental?

While it’s common to meet at a marina or public dock, boat captains and owners can often coordinate a drop off at a boat launch or ramp, or another spot if it’s more convenient. Get the exact directions to where you need to meet your boat owner/captain to determine where to pick up the vessel. Send your captain a message to clarify if you’re unsure where to go!

Where do I refuel the boat?

If you need to refuel your boat rental before you return to the dock, ask the boat rental service or owner where they recommend that you refuel. Most waterways will have several fuel stations to choose from, and often the docks that you meet at for your boat rental will also have them. Many captains and owners will take care of this for you, but it’s a good idea to ask what their specific policy is for fueling. Check out local marinas to see if they have a fuel dock.

Can I bring my dog on my boat rental?

Dogs are often welcome on boat rentals and charters — but be sure to ask first! Some boat captains do and some don’t allow pets to come along.

It’s also a good idea to do some research to make sure your pet will be okay with boating if they’ve never been before. Check out our guide for boating with your dog, and if you do decide to bring your dog along, make sure you have the appropriate lifejacket and other safety gear for them!

Services, Costs, & Fees

How much does it cost to rent a boat near me?

GetMyBoat’s mission is to make boating more accessible and affordable. To do this, we’re constantly growing our team of boat owners, captains, and operators around the world to offer a wider range of boat rentals and services at different price points. We want to provide the joys of boating to everyone - regardless of their budget.

Boat rental costs will vary depending on the size and type of boat you wish to rent. Other factors that impact the price of a boat rental include: trip duration, desired route, and itinerary. A boat rental usually costs between $50 and $150/hour but can range up to over $400/hour. Renting a boat for a few hours is usually less expensive than renting a boat for a whole day, but you can sometimes save money on the hourly rate by renting for longer - some owners and rental services offer discounted rates.

There’s no booking obligation at the inquiry stage with GetMyBoat - so you can send an inquiry message to a captain to get a price quote before you commit.

How much is a boat rental near me for a day?

The cost of a boat rental will depend on the duration of your rental, the size of the boat, and the size of your group. Sometimes, specific itineraries (i.e., traveling far distances to get to a famous swimming spot) can add extra costs if they require additional fuel. Typically, a half-day boat rental is 4-hours, and a full-day is 8 hours. Depending on your specific needs, you can expect to pay anywhere from $250 to over $1000 for your boat rental.

How much does it cost to rent a boat on the Chicago River?

Boat rentals on the Chicago River start at around $100/hour and can range from there to over $500/hour for a larger yacht. You can find boat tours of the Chicago River for as affordable as $40/person, but this is generally with a larger public group and not an individual boat rental.

How much does it cost to rent a party boat in Chicago?

Renting a boat in Chicago starts at $100 an hour for a small powerboat and goes up to $800 an hour for a luxury motor yacht.

How much is a yacht rental in Chicago?

Yacht rentals in Chicago start at around $250/hour and go up to over $1,000/hour depending on the size of the vessel, capacity, and special features.

How much does it cost to rent a boat on Lake Michigan?

A boat rental on Lake Michigan typically costs between $150-300/hour, but it can vary depending on the size of the boat, the day it is rented (weekdays are typically more affordable, and holiday weekends are very expensive), as well as other factors that impact cost. Expect to pay between $500-800 for a half-day boat rental on Lake Michigan.

How much should I tip the boat captain?

When a captain and crew provide excellent service on the water, leaving a gratuity as a show of appreciation is a common custom. In many places, 10-20% of the rental cost is standard, but this can vary depending on where you are using boat rental services. GetMyBoat does not handle tips or gratuity payments, so please bring cash with you to tip, or many boat captains also have the option of CashApp or Venmo for leaving a tip after your boat charter.

How much does fuel cost for a boat rental?

Sometimes the boat owner/captain you are renting from will include fuel costs in the total fee charged, while others will charge on a usage basis - so depending on how much you use on your boat day. Inquire with the boat owner/captain about the typical fuel costs for your boat rental duration.

Are there additional costs for renting a boat near me?

Costs for your boat rental will vary from owner to owner, so be sure to inquire about any extra costs that might not be covered in the listed price - like fuel, captain’s fees, or additional charges for unique itineraries. Your captain will let you know what to expect if there is any deviation from the price on the boat listing.

Safety, Laws, and Regulations

How old do you have to be to rent a boat?

You must be at least 18 years old to rent with GetMyBoat. To operate a boat without a captain, you will need to ensure you meet the correct boating safety requirements. Boat owners and operators on GetMyBoat sometimes have their own individual age requirements for renting, so inquire with them on their minimum age when you send a booking inquiry.

How old do you have to be to rent a jet ski?

To rent a jet ski independently, you have to be at least 18 years old. Often 16 & 17 year olds can operate a jet ski rental if they have a guardian present to sign a waiver for them. No one under the age of 16 should operate a jet ski without being in direct supervision of a parent or guardian.

How many people can I bring on my boat rental?

The boat's capacity will vary depending on the captain’s licensing rules, size of the boat, style of the boat, and the location you’re renting in. Every boat listing on GetMyBoat indicates the maximum number of people allowed on the boat, so you’ll know before inquiring if it will suit your group’s size.

Do I have to rent a boat with a captain?

Whether or not you rent a boat with a captain will depend on many factors. If you do not have boating experience - it is recommended that you book a boat rental with a captain service for safety. Some locations require that renters have a licensed captain onboard operating the boat at all times. If you do have boating experience and want to rent a boat without a captain, in most locations you are able to rent it bareboat to go on your own. Ask the boat rental service provider for information on renting a boat without a captain and let them know information about your boating experience.

Where should I go with my boat rental?

When you rent a boat, it’s a great idea to do some research on your own or ask the boat owner/company for recommendations if you’re not from the area. With a boat rental, popular places to venture to include sandbars, islands, beaches, coves, and waterfront restaurants. It’s a good idea to inquire with the boat owner for recommendations on what to do and advice on navigating there safely.

Do I need my own insurance to rent a boat?

You do not need your own insurance to rent a boat.

Are lifejackets Included in the price of a boat rental?

Most boat owners and boat rental services will include all lifejackets and safety equipment within the price of your listing. It’s always a good idea to ask where the equipment is located onboard before you leave the dock. Your captain or the owner should give you a briefing at the beginning of your rental experience, so you’re aware of all safety features and equipment on the boat.

Boating Licenses

Can anyone rent a boat in Chicago?

To rent a boat in Chicago you must be 18 years of age and have completed a boater safety education course. If you have a boating license from another state, this can apply to the requirements to rent a boat in Chicago.

Where can I take a boating safety course?

Many boat safety courses are offered online and you can earn a certificate that will qualify you to rent a boat on your own. You can also often take in-person boating lessons which will teach you the necessary hands-on skills to operate a boat independently. Check out BoatEd for more information on local boating safety requirements and courses. You can also check out our Top Boating Safety Tips resources.

Do you need a boat license to rent a boat in Chicago?

Boat license rules depend on your age. If you were born after 1988 you will need to complete a boat safety education course and receive a safety identification card. Check out BoatEd for more information on earning a boat safety card so you can rent a boat in Chicago. For more information please check out our Boating Laws and Regulations by State Guide and download our Boating Safety Checklist.

Boating Safety Education Identification Card

Yes, You Need a Boater Education Card if You:
  • Were born after 1/1/88
  • Failed to complete an approved boating safety course in your state
  • Operate a 10+ horsepower boat
  • Operate in state or federal waters
  • Did not complete an approved boating safety course out of state
  • Are not accompanied by a person who is 18+ years old with a Boating Safety Education Identification Card
  • Are not accompanied by a person who was born before 1/1/88
No, You Don’t Need a Boater Education Card if You:
  • Were born before 1/1/88
  • Obtained a Boating Safety Education Identification Card
  • Completed an approved boater safety course in another state
  • Operate a less than 10 horsepower motor boat
  • Operate on a private lake or pond
  • Accompanied by a person who is 18+ years old who has a Boating Safety Education Identification Card
  • Accompanied by a person who was born before 1/1/88
  • Accompanied by a person licensed by the U.S. Coast Guard
How much is a Boater Education Card?

A Boater Education Card will cost anywhere from $0-$50 depending on the type of test you take and if you want your ID card professionally printed.

How long is a Boater Education Card good for?

A Boating Safety Education Identification Card has no expiration date, however, the temporary safety course certificate (proof of online course completion that you can print out and use before the ID card comes) expires after 90 days.

GetMyBoat has 192 listings for boating experiences in Chicago with 3,350 reviews.

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