Graphic design of a boat, sailing with birds and clouds in the distance.

Boating Safety 101

Staying safe on the water.

For Renters

Owner and Captain Safety

Boat owners and captains are responsible for operating safely and according to Coast Guard, national, and local regulations, including all licensing and safety standards.

  • How Getmyboat Works

    Browse, book, boat. Find the perfect boat in just three steps.

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  • How-To Guides

    Getmyboat’s unique collection of educational how-to guides.

    View Guides

  • Boating Checklist

    How to prepare for your upcoming day on the water.

    Get the Checklist

Renter FAQ

What are the basics of boating safety?

Whether you're taking a boat out on your own or renting a captained charter with a group of friends, there are some basic boating safety guidelines to remember:

  • Life Jackets

  • Weather Awareness

  • Use the Buddy System

  • Listen to Your Captain

Learn more about boat safety basics.

What do I need to bring on my trip?
  • Layers, preferably ones that are UPF-rated

  • A complete change of clothes – just in case you get wet or the weather gets bad.

  • Sunglasses

  • Hat

  • Sunscreen – don't forget to reapply every two hours, or more frequently if you get in the water.

  • Plenty of Water. Staying hydrated is very important.

  • Snacks

  • A book or magazine – disconnect from your smartphone and relax.

What should I expect before a charter?

Is it your first time on a captained charter? No need to worry! The captain and crew are there to ensure you have a fun and safe experience.

  • Explain who is required to wear life jackets and/or PFDs based on local, state, and federal laws

  • How to help someone who has gone overboard

  • Give instructions on safe swimming around boats

  • Show you where fire extinguishers and emergency equipment is located

  • Identify and explain the uses of horns, flares, VHF radios, and bilge pumps

  • Provide a basic plan in case of an emergency on board.

Don't hesitate to ask questions! Boat captains are there to help you and they want to provide a memorable experience on the water. They're also a great resource if you're interested in learning more about booking charters in the future.

How do I prepare for a bareboat rental?

If you've booked a bareboat (non-captained) rental, here are some tips and recommendations for making your upcoming rental safe and fun.

  • Pack your certifications and licenses. Depending on the watercraft and where you're boating, you may need a skipper's license or to complete a boating education course.

  • Ask the owner ahead of time for a pre-rental and post-rental walkthrough

  • Ask for local recommendations

  • Ask the boat owner if they are covered for bareboat rentals with insurance

Learn more about how to prepare for a bareboat rental.

Can't find the answer here?
Visit our help center.

For Owners and Captains

Know Your Waters

Local lakes, marinas, and waterways all have different regulations, which are essential to understand and follow. To help you navigate them, we’ve created helpful guides to our top boating areas.


For Owners and Captains

Keeping Your Boat Safe

Getmyboat has partnered with BCI to offer an insurance option that replaces an owner’s standard annual coverage, with full protection for rental bookings.


Owner Resources

  • U.S. Boating Requirements

    Stay up to date on federal boating laws, and regulations by state

    Learn More

  • Boating Insurance

    An annual policy that covers both personal use and rental coverage

    Learn More

  • Education and Certifications

    Expand your boat operation and navigation knowledge

    Get the Checklist

Owner FAQ

What should I expect before my trip?

Establishing a process to document, brief and communicate with renters during their trips is essential to being a great GetMyBoat owner. Here are some tips on how to get started:

  1. Set clear expectations

  2. Get to know your guests

  3. Keep safety documentation

  4. Prepare your watercraft

  5. Follow up with renters

  6. Our 24/7 support team is here to help

Our 24/7 support team is here to help with things such as rebooking, refunds, rescheduling and more. Send us an email at or call +1 (818) 927 2148.

Do I need to be certified?

Captain’s licenses are required to legally carry passengers for hire, having a license enables you to book charters for things like fishing, and sightseeing.

You’ll need to decide which type of captain’s license you want. There are two types:

The Operator license is for uninspected vessels (boats that hold up to 6 passengers, weigh up to 100 gross tons, and travel up to 100 miles offshore). These are also called a 6-pack license (because Operator boats hold 6 people).

The Master license is for inspected vessels (larger boats that can carry 7 or more passengers) that travel up to 200 miles offshore or on inland waters. If you wish to carry more than 7 passengers on your own vessel, with you operating as the captain you will need a Masters License.  However in this scenario you will be operating as a small commercial passenger vessel and therefore will need to have your vessel inspected by the CoastGuard.

You can find info on courses and certifications here.

What if my boat gets damaged?

It is important to know that Getmyboat does not offer insurance. Owners are expected to provide their own insurance. If there are major or catastrophic damages, owners should work directly with their insurance company to resolve any issues.

In the case of minor damages, boat owners and guests are encouraged to first work together to try to resolve any issue. A pre-rental and post-rental walkthrough can help set expectations and minimize any potential disagreements. Should an issue need to be escalated, Getmyboat will collect documentation to substantiate a claim. While Getmyboat does not offer insurance, it does have the security allowance that may help owners recoup at least some money if there is damage or other charges post-rental.

Learn more about How to file a claim for the security allowance.

What are my insurance options?

Getmyboat does not offer insurance through the platform directly. Watercraft operators must have insurance in place that covers their vessel for rentals or charters. If you require information regarding insurance we can recommend our partner Boat Charter Insurance.

Learn more about Getmyboat + Boat Charter Insurance (BCI).

Can't find the answer here?
Visit our help center.