Although human beings are terrestrial creatures, the human race has always had a strong relationship with water. For many millennia, civilizations and tribes around the world built boats for trading and fishing, went fishing on the shore to catch food, and even built ships of war. Today, fishing is mainly done via commercial fishing boats, and naval battle isn’t a part of everyday life. But then again, ordinary Americans can and often do enjoy the water on boats that they rent or buy, ranging from pontoon rentals to speedboats and more. Studies show that many Americans young and old love to get on board party boats to have a good time in style, and many marinas offer a variety of pontoon rentals and speedboat models for interested customers. If someone doesn’t own a boat, they can browse models to rent, and this may take some discretion. What should a customer look for in pontoon rentals, and what are the best ways to have some fun on board a boat?

Americans and Boats

First, let’s think about how often Americans use boats. Many older Americans have the cash to buy their own boat, and they can tow it to a lake or the coast by truck and ease the boat right into the water. Around 87 million Americans take part in recreational boating, and this industry has a serious economic presence today. This industry’s impact weighs in at $121.5 billion, including direct, indirect, and induced spending of all kinds. It also supports around 650,000 jobs and 35,000 small businesses. Most Americans live within driving distance of a body of water suitable for boats, such as lakes, and they take full advantage of that. Of course, boaters are also careful about protecting the marine environment, such as taking care to not over-fish, and they check their boat’s ballast water so they don’t accidentally introduce invasive species, such as zebra mussels, to a body of water.

Boat Rentals Done Right

It can be costly to buy a boat, even a used boat, so people who can’t afford one (or don’t go boating often enough to justify the expense) can opt for boat rentals instead. This is a great idea for a picnic at a lake, or for going wakesurfing or taking part in a charity boat race. A guest may visit the marina and, with the help of local staff, look over some boat models and choose one to rent for their day’s activities. What to look for? Bear in mind that pontoon rentals and speedboat rentals are good for different activities, and they’re not interchangeable. Either way, the renter should check a boat’s hull for any cracks or holes, and they can also check to see if the awning can fully deploy and retract correctly (many pontoon boats have foldable awnings on them). And of course, the renter can ask to take the boat in question for a test run, to see that the motor is in good shape. The renter can also check to see if the boat’s carpet and leather seats are in good shape, and free of holes, stains, or rips.

What to do on board a boat? Pontoon rentals are good for more leisurely activities, since a pontoon boat is wide and has enough room for several people to stand up and sit down. Pontoons have the room, seating, and even table space for a picnic or small party, and they’re also a fine choice for cruising around to explore the area or go fishing. Pontoon boats have a limited top speed, though, so they’re not idea for wakesurfing or racing.

A speedboat is narrower and only seats one or two people, but it can go fast and kick up a big wake. This makes them ideal for wakeboarding, when a wakeboarder stands on a board and hangs onto a rope that extends from the boat’s rear (the rope will probably have handles, too). Wakesurfing is similar, except the rider lets go of the rope when they get to top speed. Speed boats are also a natural choice for racing, such as charity races where the boats must reach designated checkpoints in a timely fashion.