Frequently Asked Questions
Do I have to have a Boater's License or Training for a rental in Florida?
Please visit the FWC website for specific questions about the Florida Boater Education Requirements:
Florida Law requires all Vessel Operators born on or after Jan 1, 1988 to have a valid Vessel Operator License or show Proof of Completion of an Approved Boater Safety Course. Those born before Jan 1, 1988 are exempt but we strongly recommend all Renters to complete a Boater Safety Course if not currently Licensed. If you do not meet the age exemption above and show up on the day of your rental without a Vessel Operator License or proof of a completed course approved by the State of FL, then you will still be charged the full cost of the rental without any refunds and will not be able to proceed with your rental until proof of a completed course is provided.
What Insurance is required or offered?
As of Jan 01 2023, Florida has a new law - Boating Safety Act of 2022 - that requires any "livery vessel" (vessel for rent) to offer all occupants and the operator with insurance. As per requirements, operators and their customers must be offered OPTIONAL coverage of at least $1 million per occurrence and $500,000 per person when the vessel is being rented.
The OPTIONAL insurance is billed on the day of the rental at the time of checkout and is automatically paid directly to the insurance company with no markup by Buena Vida.
Optional insurance which covers damage during your rental can be selected during check-out and would provide you with various levels of damage waiver that would cover up to the selected amount, should an incident occur.
What happens if I damage the boat?
We take pictures of the boat before you leave during your checkout and again when you return. You are welcome to do the same. Your Rental Agreement attests that you agree to be responsible for any and all damages which occur to the vessel from the time it leaves the dock until the time you return, regardless of whether they were accidental or due to negligence. The contract states that you agree to pay for all damages in full as quoted by a vendor of choice selected by Buena Vida.
We operate new boats and spend thousands on maintenance so you have the nicest vessels available during your rental. We can only do that if we are diligent on how the vessels are treated during your use. If you treat the vessel as if it were your own, it's highly unlikely anything would happen that would result in additional charges.
We do offer optional insurance that includes damage waiver protection which can be selected during the reservation process and at checkout.
Cancellation - Bad Weather?
Here's our cancellation policy:
Cancellations may be made one week (7 days) or more prior to the scheduled boat rental departure time without penalty. Cancellations within one week (7 days) of scheduled boat rental departure time shall be charged 50% of agreed upon rental price. Cancellations due to “NO SHOW” or Cancellations with less than 24 hours notice shall be charged 100% of agreed upon rental price on the credit card provided.
We also reserve the right to cancel any reservation due to inclement weather that would make the rental unsafe - and in that case a full refund or a new reservation for a different day will be given. The decision to cancel due to inclement weather belongs solely to BUENA VIDA RENTALS, L.L.C. not the Renter. Examples of inclement weather requiring a cancellation may include "severe thunderstorm warning", "small craft advisory", "dense fog advisory" or "high wind warning". Examples of weather that would not likely require a cancellation would include mostly cloudy skies, scattered light rain, or other "weather watches" which indicate conditions are possible, but not ongoing or highly likely to occur.
What Safety Gear is on the Boat?
We rig the boats with all required safety equipment as per the US Coast Guard. We include up to (12) Adult Life Jackets, (1) Throwable Cushion, (3) Flares, & (1) Whistle (Noise-maker). Our dock staff will show you where these are located during check-out. We do have a selection of Children's Life Jackets at our locations but they are first-come-first-serve and we are not guaranteed to have availability or the proper size so we STRONGLY advise you to bring life jackets for anyone under age 16.
Parking - Where do we park?
Our marinas are built on expensive waterfront property and do not have much space for excessive parking. Due to that, we ask that all of our customers car-pool as much as possible to alleviate congestion and simplify the check-in process. We ask that renters limit the number of cars to 2 per boat, maximum.
Can I fish on the boats?
We welcome fishing on our boats that are rigged to do so (ex: Cobia Bay Boats, but NOT Pontoon Boats) but please be aware of a few rules. We do not provide coolers or cutting boards, and cutting bait on the gunnel or on any boat surface is not allowed. The boat must be kept in a neat and clean fashion and must not be returned to us with excessive soiling or dried blood. Anything deemed excessive by our dock staff may result in additional cleaning fees. Scalloping is welcome and encouraged when in season on all our vessels but the same cleanliness rules apply.
What should I bring with me?
You will be having the time of your life on the water but to make sure you're prepared, we have a short list of items you'll want to pack aboard:
1. Sunscreen - be aware that some aerosol sunscreens can stain and damage the upholstery, we recommend lotion-based products that are reef-friendly.
2. Cooler, Ice, Drinks & Snacks - the sun will be intense so make sure to stay hydrated. No glass bottles, please.
3. Towels - you'll want to bring enough for everyone on board
4. Hats - although all our boats are equipped with some sort of shade, a hat is advisable to keep the sun at bay!
5. Proper Water Shoes - they are great for wearing on the vessel or off. Some of the places you may visit may have docks, rocks, etc so plan ahead.
6. Water Toys - This might be floats, noodles, mask/snorkels, balls, frisbees, etc to make your day on the water complete. Towables, wakeboards, skis, tubes, etc are NOT allowed.
7. Cash for Tips - You can tip on our reservation system at the time of completion and check-in of the vessel or you can tip in cash directly to our staff. Our dock staff work hard to make your day as enjoyable as possible, and gratuity offered to them for excellent service is greatly appreciated.
How do I book a reservation - can I call you?
If less than 12 hours before your rental, please call the phone number for the location you want to reserve. Our staff will collect your information to enter it into our system and you will then receive an email with instructions on how to complete your reservation.
If more than 12 hours from the reservation time, please book on our website. Our reservation system is all online and all reservations must go through that system. You can use a computer, tablet, or your phone. There are liability waivers, insurance forms, and a rental agreement that must be executed online. Payments must be received online via Credit Card.
We do not accept any cash payments for rentals, insurance, or any fee. The only cash accepted would be tips for our dock staff which go directly to them. At no point should any Buena Vida Staff Member ask for any cash payment for any service.
Do you offer discounts?
Yes, we run regular specials that give you discount codes for the base rental fee. These codes are usually posted via Social Media. Follow us to save money!