ST. JOSEPH BOAT RENTALS FAQS
The following FAQs are provided by Bluewater Boat Rentals and are provided here for convenience.
I know how to boat but I don't know much about the boat I am renting or the area. Is there training?
We require all persons that may drive the boat take a 15-minute training session prior to the rental. This training will cover how to operate the boat, and a checklist will be completed by your tour guide to ensure you know and understand the Coast Guard enforced laws that pertain to safety and operation of a vessel on the Great Lakes. We will also provide a map of the river and the Lake. We will review with you any known scratches, damage and gas levels prior to departure. We recommend that you arrive 30 minutes prior to your rental to allow for the training so it will not affect your rental times.
Can I go onto Lake Michigan with my rental? Is it safe?
All our boats, except the dinghy boats, are allowed on Lake Michigan. We do restrict the dinghy boats to the river. For your safety we do generally restrict Lake Michigan access for all boats on days that the Lake has more than 2-foot waves according to local buoy reports.
Can we travel to Warren Dunes or South Haven MI?
We do not allow our boats to travel further than 3 miles from the St. Joseph light house on Lake Michigan without consent. Our boats are frequently checked, maintained, and repaired prior to all rentals, but for your safety and our operational resources we must have a restriction. In the case of an emergency or equipment failure, we do not have the equipment or man-power to handle issues that arise more than 3 miles from our facilities.
Where are you located? How do I get to Lake Michigan?
We are located at Anchors Way Marina, next to the Bicentennial Bridge. Our Address is 143 Anchors Way St. Joseph MI, 49085. Our phone number is 1(888)4-BOATMi (1-888-426-2864). The Marina is located on the St. Joe River. You will begin at the docks at the Marina and travel approximately 10 minutes through the river’s "no wake zone", under the Bicentennial Bridge, past the Train viaduct, and will pass by the South side Lighthouse out to Lake Michigan.
What do we need in order to rent a boat? Do you charge a security deposit?
We do not charge a security deposit but have the right to charge your credit card for damage or other rental issues. A government-issued photo ID and a valid credit card on account in case of damages, or theft is required. We accept all major credit cards, and cash for payments. We do accept checks that are mailed and cleared 10 days prior to rental. We also require a working cell phone on the boat that is registered and verified with us prior to departure.
Do we need a reservation?
Yes, Reservations are required to ensure that the boats are properly cleaned and ready for rent. We do accept rentals the day of, but we do require a full payment to secure rental and 1-hour minimum. If you book online and do not receive the rental agreement to your registered email, please call.
Is gas or tax included in our rental price?
Gas is included for a 1-hour river cruise rental and all single day dinghy boat rentals. All boat rentals will begin with a recorded amount (generally a full tank) and the guests are required to refill gasoline at the gas docks when returning to the marina. We will charge guests an unfilled tank the costs of fuel+ a $50 service fee if they fail to do so. Guests may have to fill gas during full day rentals depending on the boat and how it is used. A tow-in fee plus lost wages fee will be assessed if we need to retrieve a boat due to negligence of the boating party.
I am a little inexperienced or unfamiliar with the area, where do we get gas? Am I going to be able to find the place and pull up to the dock to get gas? How much time does this take?
The gas dock is located at Anchors Way Marina. There will be dock employees that will assist you into the dock and will pump the gas for you. The docks accept cash, or major credit cards/debit cards. The process usually takes 10 minutes. On rentals shorter than a full day we do add on 15 minutes to ending time in order to offset the delay.
Where should we park?
We’re located in a busy marina that has paid members. We have parking available in designated areas that will be coordinated prior to arrival. Parking is free but may be limited on busy weekends.
I'm bringing a very large group, what do you recommend we do?
We recommend to car pool as best as possible, the groups of 15 should try to coordinate parking to the best of their ability. We also advise having ONE spokesperson, to avoid any miscommunications.
Am I looking for a Blue Water Boat Rental sign on the building and parking lot?
Blue Water Boat Rentals rents space at Anchors Way Marina and does not have its own building or facilities. Look for the marina sign and other signs directing you.
We have a large group and would like to rent a boat that we can be together, I see there are capacity limits, but we have mostly teenagers, what should we do?
It will help you and our staff to discuss your group’s plan prior to reserving and review our boat selection. We will not allow rentals that exceed weight limits as it poses a safety hazard. Having a head count and a spokesperson is always helpful. We also do not recommend the person limit to be maximized as the seating can become limited and could possibly hamper your experience. We will try to work with large groups to rent multiple boats at a discount to maximize the safety and enjoyment during your rental. Please be aware that while we have a fleet of boats, weekends and holidays are peak times and demand can be high.
How old must you be to rent a boat?
We require you to be 25 years old with a valid credit card to secure the reservation and 21 years old with a valid driver's licensed to be permitted to drive the boat. Adults who wish to rent motorized boats for their children between 21 and 25 will assume all liability for damage and must leave their ID and credit card as a security deposit and complete the rental agreement. We do reserve the right to refuse service without refund if the renters appear to be intoxicated or unsafe to operate our equipment.
Do we need to bring life jackets?
No, Life jackets are provided and fit for all members of the renting party at no charge. If you would like to bring your own life jackets that is acceptable, provided they are Coast Guard approved. For all boat rentals, children 12 and under must always wear a life preserver, while adults need only to have a preserver on board with them. We cannot guarantee the comfort of jackets for all infants as we have standard infant jackets. All infants are required by Coast Guard to wear the jackets for the entire rental. Failure to follow this law will result in a ticket if stopped by local patrol.
Do children count towards a boat's max occupancy?
Yes, even the infants/toddlers. To ensure safety and comfort for all size groups we must abide by the Coast Guard approved size limits. Also, there is only a certain number of seating and walking space available on each vessel. Please see our price sheet for details. Our boats have a strict maximum occupancy regardless of age/size, as your safety is our number one priority.
Do infants count towards a boat's max occupancy?
As all children must always wear a Coast Guard approved life preserver, we are not permitted to allow infants aboard our boats if they do not safely fit a CG approved life preserver. We reserve the right to refuse to allow an infant aboard our boats for safety reasons, so we recommend you call ahead with any questions, or prepare to have an adult on shore to stay with the infant. Please note that we cannot refund an unused portion of the rental because a child was sea sick or crying the whole time.
Are dogs allowed on your boats?
Dogs may be allowed on some of our vessels but you must be given advanced permission as we have the right to refuse a rental due to pets. Also, there may be an additional cleaning fee/deposit added due to pets.
Can we swim from your boats? Is there an anchor?
Yes, swimming in designated areas on Lake Michigan is part of the fun of boating. Please stay mindful of the propeller. Swimming is not permitted anywhere in the St. Joe River, from our boats or otherwise. All our boats (except Dinghy boats) do have an anchor.
Can we fish from your boats?
Yes, however please be aware you must follow all MI fishing regulations including licensing. See the local DNR for more information. We do not sell fishing licenses, bait or poles on site, so please plan accordingly. We will charge an additional cleaning fee and for damage due to hooks in the vinyl seats.
Canwe bring alcohol?
Are Tubes included with the rental? Can I bring my own?
How will we know when our rental is over?
How late can we start our boat rental?
How late can we start our boat rental?
The latest start time for motorized rental is 2 hours before sunset.
What if inclement weather happens?
Weather may cause unsafe boating conditions in which we may have to cancel the reservation and refund payments
When can we reserve a boat or jetski?
Reservations are required boat rentals and can be made same day. We begin taking weekend reservations in April for the Summer season
What is required to book a boat rental?
$200 down required at the time of booking with a signed rental agreement. The remaining balance is due 10 days prior to rental. You can also pay for the entire rental at the time of booking.
What if I am late starting my boat rental?
Due to time restrictions, Rentals will begin at the scheduled time and will not be added to the ending time
How early should we arrive?
We recommend to arrive 30 minutes early for parking, training and fitting for life jackets. All Rentals do include Life Jackets, and all coast guard required safety items.