Frequently Asked Questions
How old do you need to be to rent?
You must be at least 21 years old to rent a boat. If you were born on or after January 1, 1988, state law requires you have proof of completion of an approved boating safety course and a picture ID. There are two options available for completing a boating safety course online- a free course that takes approximately 4-8 hours to complete and is good for life, or a much shorter course that costs $10 for a temporary certificate good for one year. Click here for the free, lifetime boating safety course and click here for the temporary certificate course.
Where can we go with the boat?
Click here for our map of Estero Bay. Popular destinations include the beaches at New Pass (20 minute ride) or Lovers Key (15 minute ride). You can also go further north to the end of Fort Myers Beach, head south to Delnor-Wiggins Pass, or enjoy a slower trip up the Imperial River. Venturing into the Gulf of Mexico is prohibited.
Are there parking charges? Should we carpool?
Parking is limited at Bonita Boat Rentals, so please carpool and allow our parking attendant to direct you. There is a 3 vehicle maximum with rental of the 21 foot pontoon boat and a 4 vehicle maximum with rental of the 22 foot pontoon boat. Parking for additional vehicles is subject to a $25 charge each.
Is it possible to get stranded on the beach?
Yes, it is possible to get stranded with the boat on the beach. If you are on the beach during an outgoing tide, you will need to push the boat into deeper water as the tide drops. Click here for our local tides. If you do get stranded on the beach, there will be an additional $200 charge to come out and get you.
Is alcohol allowed on the boat?
Yes, but with some restrictions. Management reserves the right to make all determinations regarding alcohol on the boats. Operating a boat while under the influence is against the law in the state of Florida.
Will we see dolphins or manatees?
Seeing dolphins is a good possibility on your trip, especially if you hit the passes. Manatees are also out there, but they’re harder to spot. Harassment of marine mammals is illegal in the state of Florida. This means no feeding, touching or getting too close. Enjoy viewing them in their natural habitat at a safe distance.
Can we bring dogs on the boat?
Yes, dogs love our boats! Dog Beach is a short 20 minute trip.
Are there any restaurants reachable by boat?
Are you open on holidays?
Yes, and we tend to get very busy. Please call us in advance to make a reservation if you’d like to enjoy your holiday with us.
Can I fish off the boat?
Yes – our pontoons make excellent fishing vessels! Children under the age of 16 and Florida residents over the age of 65 may fish without a license, but everyone else needs to purchase a Florida Saltwater Fishing License from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission in order to fish our waters. We offer rod rentals with tackle for $10 and sell bait shrimp for $5 in our front office for your convenience. Ask our employees what’s biting and always remember to practice catch and release if you are unsure of the local fishing regulations for what you can keep. Tight lines!
Can I bring a grill?
No – grills are no longer allowed on our boats. Violation of this policy will result in a $1,000 charge.