Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah, but renting a boat sucks

Since the winds are up but most of the guys down for the holidays have plenty of time to wait it out, I and taking a rare Christmas day off. 

Yesterday we fished from a 24 foot Hydrasports rental from All Aboard Boat Rentals with a 250 Yamaha.  The boat ran great and everything worked well enough to have fun.  However, there are plenty of boat renters that would have been aggravated by the time it takes to check out and the bottom finder not working perfectly at full throttle.

Electronics are quirky, probably by design to ensure job security.  So high dollar units, tweaked perfectly will pick up at full speed but most tend to have noise issues meaning so fine tuning and adjusting your speed is required most of the time.  Experienced boaters know that BOAT stands for Broke Or About To learn to deal with situation were you don't have 25 people waiting patiently for your tech support call.  So an "old salt" is much less likely to be disappointed by the quality of a rental boat provided it can make a round trip without sinking. 

Rank amateurs and people believing they should have been born with silver spoons up their butts tend to be much more critical of just about everything in life than people in the "know."   The main reason I guide is to show people how to have fun on the water without tearing stuff up and hurting themselves.  Every time I see a negative review of boat rental companies I know that there is a pretty good chance the complainer could have saved themselves some grief by hiring someone like me. 

I have been through this a few times with the Coast Guard and others, but a guide with just a bit of local knowledge and a crap load of boating experience is a good thing.  However, in our litigious society, "people in authority" think everyone in a "position of responsibility" has to be certified up the wazoo, bonded, drug tested and strip searched before they can be "trusted."  There are plenty of 13 year old kids with experience on the water that can save people time, pain, trouble and money. 

So since I am a bit of a PITA to many in "authority" my cards say "fishing consultant" and I do not present any documents other than driver's and fishing licenses when I function as a guide on a rental or private boat.  A guide, is a cheap date which means the average first time boat renter is more likely to take advantage of the service.  Renting a boat with a guide isn't a "charter" or any other kind of regulated action requiring fees so some fat assed got miner can get paid to dream up more regulations to prevent more people from enjoying a day on the water.  Some states are requiring boating licenses, which is fine, but the standard for getting a boating license is mainly having access to a boat, breathing and money to pay for the privileged.  Boating experience is required to actually know what a boater is supposed to know and having someone on board with experience, regardless of credentials, can seriously reduce the costs of gaining that experience.   

This rant is for all the warm and fuzzies that think Utopia is heavily regulated and that a "boat" is a privilege reserved for the wealthy elite. 

Now that that is out of the way, All Aboard, Quality Boat Rentals, Jerry's Boat Rentals, Captain Pips, Vacation Boat Rentals, Tropical Boat Rentals, Captain Hooks Boat Rentals, and a probably a dozen more I didn't mention in the Marathon area, all rent boats and are still in business, meaning the vast majority of renters had an enjoyable time on their rental boat without doing damage to the boat or themselves.  Each and every one has former customers with a gripe here and there because of BOAT and not being aware of what an enjoyable boat rental experience requires, like actually listening to during the checkout and reading the paperwork before signing.  If you don't know the area, try asking some questions ahead of time and think about either hiring a guide or asking one of the rental employees ride along with you for a quick check out.  Everyone wants you to have a good time and not tear their stuff up, so concentrate on that instead of the 15 minutes of time you are "wasting" during orientation if you happen to be a first time customer.

Marathon in the Florida Keys should be your next fishing vacation destination. Join us for charter fishing, fishing guide trips or our fishing 101 so you can fish on your own with better success.

Tight lines,

Capt. Dallas

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