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Adelaide is blessed with a beautiful coastline just waiting to be explored. Over the last few years, local boat rentals that offer private boat hire in Adelaide have been popping up all around the city! In comparison to the East Coast, there are only a selected few to choose from. But know that the teams running these hire operations are super passionate as a result of the amount of South Australian red tape they’ve had to get through to get up and running!
Whether you are looking for your next serious fishing boat hire, boat tuition to get more confidence, cruising along with friends and family on a lazy weekend, fun watersports, the ultimate party boat, a day on the water celebrating Australia Day or just to chill out, there really is something for everyone.
And let’s admit it, owning a boat can be a bit of a hassle. And an expensive hassle too! But by hiring a boat with one of these self-drive boat hires, not only do they launch and retrieve the boat for you (saving valuable time and stress queuing at the boat ramp), they offer induction and safety briefings, all the safety equipment needed and advice on local destinations and fishing spots. To make the experience even better, they also offer equipment to hire (fishing rods, eskies, etc), bait to purchase as well as an ultimate finale – cleaning the boat for you at the end of a windswept day. Perfect!
All of these reasons are why we chose to sell our boat and just hire one whenever we wanted to get out on the water. This has been undoubtedly cheaper over a 12 month period and much less hassle!
There is a range of self-drive hires where a boat licence is required. But there are also tuition hires, BBQ boats, River Cruisers and Charter hires where a boat licence isn’t needed, to get you out on the water in no time! All of these boat rentals are within close proximity of Adelaide’s CBD.
Why not also check out our Top 12 Adelaide Boat Trips & Water Adventures post for the best water experiences – no boat licence required! Or thinking about getting your licence? Find out how to get your South Australian Boat Licence in this post or find a local boat licence course near you.
We’ve done our fair share of boat hiring across Adelaide and here are some of our favourites:
Self-Drive Boat Hire
What we love about Ben and his team at B.A. Boat Hire is that they’ve grown over the past couple of years to become one of the best Boat Hires in Adelaide. They now have 2 boats in the water – their 4.8m Bluefin Weekender and their new addition, a 6.5 Amara Centre Cabin – both perfect for South Australian Waters.
Check out our post about spending a day out on the water with B.A. Boat Hire or if you want to find out more about Ben and the team, read this informative conversation we had all about their boat hire in Adelaide and across South Australia.
New for 2021 – B.A. Boat Hire now offers a range of Adelaide Fishing Charters to make it even easier for you to get out on the water!
Both vessels require a boat licence and are available already in the water so you can walk on and walk off from North Haven or West Beach boat ramps. Both vessels are also available for towing so you can create your own adventure! Hire is available for half days, full days, weekends and extended hires.
Their smaller vessel, the Bluefin Weekender, licensed for 4 passengers is ideal for someone who has just passed their boat licence or looking for an easy cruise as this vessel is one of the easiest around to operate. With a 60hp Mercury 4-stroke engine, we can vouch for this easy handling as we loved the morning cruise we took on last year in the Weekender! It’s stable, reactive, reliable and perfect for us bagging out on crabs during a stunning autumn’s morning.
Their newer larger vessel, the Amara Centre Cabin, licensed for 6 passengers is for the more serious water adventure. Centre Cabs are known for making some seriously dedicated fishing simple with their large decks and walk around cabs, but easy work for a great family day out with plenty of room for 6 people. The added bonus to the Centre Cab is that it comes with a toilet for those full days out on the water.
Both vessels come with peace of mind that they are AMSA surveyed, have all quality safety equipment on board, Hummingbird GPS/fish finders with pre-loaded fishing spots, rod holders, bait boards, radio and shade – either a shade cover or the centre cab.
B.A. Boat Hire can also make available quality fishing gear, eskies and tackle boxes at an additional cost for the perfect hassle-free day.
B.A. Boat is available launched from North Haven Boat Ramp and West Beach Boat Ramp.
Alternatively, you can tow the boat and trailer yourself (depending on meeting vehicle requirements) and head towards the Murray River, Riverland, Fleurieu Peninsula, Yorke Peninsula and beyond!
Boat tuition is also available – a boat licence is required.
The team at Port Adelaide are the latest kids on the block and really turning Port Adelaide into the water playground it deserves. The Port is changing with so much residential and commercial development going on, so remember to book ahead with these guys as this area is getting busier and busier.
What started out as a couple of tinnies available from St. Kilda, Port Adelaide Boat Hire has grown into a daily operation from Port Adelaide Wharf. You can’t miss their blue information shed right on the water’s edge and offer a range of activities, not just boat hire.
Port Adelaide Boat Hire have 2 vessels – their 6.1m Bar Crusher, one of Australia’s favourite boats, and a 4m Tinny, both available for hire. For you to take the boat out on your own, you will need a valid boat licence and it can be readily launched for you. And it’s not just Port Adelaide you can leave from. They also launch from North Haven boat ramp, Snowdens Beach and St. Kilda.
If we can give one bit of advice when it comes to using Port Adelaide Boat Hire, it is to consider where you are launching from. If you want to head out to sea from Port Adelaide, remember that it can take around 45 mins when sticking to the speed restrictions to travel along the Port River and Lipson Reach to reach the open water. Whilst this is a great way to explore the history and industry along South Australia’s largest port, it can be time-consuming, especially during a half-day hire. You would be better launching straight from North Haven. Alternatively, have a chat with the team and see if you can launch and return from different locations.
Port Adelaide Boat Hire also offers a unique service in South Australia. Boat Tuition is available for anyone thinking about getting their South Australian boat licence or recently got one. Getting a boat licence in South Australia is one of the few licences you can get without actually having to do any practical assessment so offering this service makes perfect sense.
Maybe you are looking to get some extra confidence, or have never driven a boat before – then this is ideal for you. It would also make a perfect gift for someone special who is in the same boat (pun intended!). It could even be that you are considering purchasing a Bar Crusher – a perfect way to try before you buy.
Their boat tuition experience takes you through everything you need to know to be your very own skipper. From launching, handling, towing and steering, your ability to handle a boat in and out of the water will no doubt be greatly improved. And the best bit is, you can custom this tuition to your needs. If you know you’ll only ever use a tinny, perfect, just learn by using theirs. Or if you want to go big and bold, get behind the Bar Crusher and find out what Australia’s addiction to boating is all about!
You can choose how long and where you feel you’d like to improve. Alternatively, they can work out a perfect beginners course to give you the skills and knowledge you need for your boat licence, or to reinforce what you just learnt by sitting your licence. Tuition takes place along the Port River which is an ideal environment to learn in – often protected by the elements, reasonably calm most of the year and plenty of space to perfect those turns.
Advanced boating tuition sessions are also available that includes boat hire, fuel and tuition.
They also offer some other family activities to help get you out on the water.
Jump onboard their new Eco Tours which is one of the few small boat tours available in Adelaide. Take the popular 2-hour tour as you venture right into the depths of the Port River, sharing the resident dolphins’ playground and exploring areas many cannot get to. Being on a smaller vessel, you can get amongst the mangroves, weave between the shipwrecks and spot as much wildlife as your eyes can take. Why not custom your own trip, perhaps even a night river tour?! Did we tell you Port Adelaide was seriously haunted?!
Or how about taking out one of their Paddle Boats and relax along the river…
Fancy kayaking? Explore all the hard to get to places, head towards Garden Island, watching out for playful dolphins who love to be nosey and discover the mysterious shipyard graves amongst the mangroves. The ideal way to have a water adventure at your own pace!
If you are looking for more information about Port Adelaide, check out our Port Adelaide Destination Guide for how to make the most of this unique South Australian Port!
3. SA Boat Hire
SA Boat Hire is one of the longest standing boat hire companies in Adelaide. Located in North Haven, the boat can be moored ready for your launch or you can tow to your destination. It comes fully equipped with all safety equipment, a Bimini for sun protection, GPS with fishing locations and a fish finder. SA Boat Hire also offer a range of other equipment to help make your adventure on the water hassle-free.
We personally don’t have experience with SA Boat Hire. After trying several times to book, we constantly found the response to be that it was fully booked/not available. This may have changed with new boat hire operations now in full force in Adelaide, but just something we wanted to make you aware of.
SA Boat Hire offer an 1802 Trophy Fishing Boat with either a 2 or 4 stroke engine. This vessel is a good size to walk around, perfect when fishing or cruising along enjoying the sun. This is also a cut-out cabin making an ideal space to relax or get out the elements if needed.
Services are offered for full days only with a difference in pricing for walk on, walk off and pick up and tow options.
A bond of $1000 is required and will be refunded provided there is no damage to the vessel or equipment.
4. Show & Go
Show & Go, located on Brighton Road, Somerton Park are more known for their motorcycle rentals but do also have a couple of boats for hire. These boats are available on trailers only and not for a walk on, walk off service.
We also don’t have experience in using Show & Go hire services as we struggled with their availability. However, we have seen the boats at the back of their store in Somerton Park and all we can say is that they look well used. We got the impression when trying to book that regulars use these vessels and have done for a while. That’s all we are saying!
Show & Go offer a 4.5m Brooker 40HP vessel with forward controls and an electric start. A fold-down Bimini is available for shade and comes with all safety equipment. The boat is licensed for 4 people and has night navigational lights for night use.
They also have a 3.1m Stacer which is available with no engine. Alternatively, a 5HP Mariner Engine can be hired for use.
River Boats for Hire
These round inflatable boats are becoming a popular way to chill out on the water and to no surprise because this experience is the ultimate way to enjoy relaxing on the water.
5. BBQ Buoys
The BBQ Buoys have got their big floating donuts set up along the majestic River Torrens, right in the heart of Adelaide CBD. Cruise along the river banks on a balmy summer’s day, taking in the stunning CBD backdrop whilst sharing the magical sociable experience with those special people around you. Check out their #funafloat for some awesome photos shared by some happy customers.
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BBQ Buoys offer a range of alcohol (no BYO alcohol and the skipper needs to be well behaved) and food packages, consisting of meat and grazing platters. But you can take your own food too. Onboard you’ll find the use of a centrally located BBQ for everyone (or wooden board if a BBQ is not required), table, esky, ice, cutlery, plates, cups and the all-important bluetooth speakers. Perfect for any special occasion!
There are traditional packages available for 2 people right through to 10 people along with special events such as New Year’s Eve and Date Nights!
A boat licence is not needed to hire a BBQ Buoy, but a car licence is needed as well as to be at least 21 years of age.
The more mates you bring along for fun, the cheaper the experience! For more information and to find out their Drinks & Food Menu, check out the pricing section of their website.
The latest edition to the new inflatable trend in Adelaide are the Portobello River Cruises. These inflatable vessels are a unique way to enjoy the gorgeous Port River with its resident dolphins, especially during a magical sunset.
Portobello Food.Kitchen.Bar is a locally well-known waterfront cafe/restaurant situated in New Port, just next to Port Adelaide. This experience brings their culinary delights floating outdoors, taking alfresco to a whole new level!
Portobello River Cruisers seat from 1 – 6 people with ample space to enjoy the setting. Food and drinks can be pre-ordered from the onboard menu. There aren’t any cooking facilities onboard but trust us, you won’t want them when you see what’s on offer from Portobello! With a range of snacks, platters, pizzas, wine, beers, ciders and soft drinks, there is something for everyone.
Chartered Yachts for Hire
Adelaide has a good range of Charter boats for hire. Each one comes with their own skipper so all you have to do is enjoy yourself. Whether it’s a special romantic date to sail off into the sunset, an anniversary to celebrate all those years, a wedding in true style, a milestone birthday or just an excuse to hire a party boat, here are some of our favourite Chartered Yachts for hire in Adelaide:
Temptation Sailing has got to be our favourite Adelaide Sunset Cruise! Famous for its Swim with Dolphin Cruises, this gorgeous 58 ft long catamaran, located at Glenelg is insanely wide which results in smooth sailing – perfect for those sunset selfies… and the ultimate party boat!
Book yourself and up to 49 other passengers to a treat onboard the Temptation for an exclusive cocktail style event for every occasion. Night cruises are also available and check out their underwater lights illumination for the ultimate party experience.
Cruises range from 1.5 hours to 3 hours, with a fully licensed bar (BYO is not allowed for beverages). Ample catering options are also available. Being situated at the Marina Pier, there is a good choice of restaurants to help with your catering or find recommendations here for suggested companies.
Jump onboard the Solomon Ophir, a 16 metre Ketch available for private hire. The Solomon can carry up to 49 passengers, is perfect for any special occasion, has a fully licensed bar and can offer buffet-style dining. Being one of the larger vessels available, this is a great choice for a party boat in Adelaide.
Situated at the South Australian Royal Yacht Squadron at Outer Harbour, Blue Ice Charters also offer a unique sleep afloat bed and breakfast experience – whether it’s just for the weekend or to a destination of your choice.
Join Kevin and Annie onboard their luxury catamaran, Summer Breeze for the ultimate entertainment experience. Summer Breeze, located at the South Australian Royal Yacht Squadron at Outer Harbour offers stable cruising with her two hulls, ensuring nothing stops the party rockin’!
With maximum space for comfort and safety, join Viking Yacht Charters for a range of packages including:
- Sunset Cruises
- Sightseeing Cruises
- Proposals and Romantic Cruises
- Party cruises
- Hens Party Cruises
- Buck’s Show Cruises
- Corporate Event and Team Building Cruises
Food and drinks packages are available or organise your own culinary enjoyments. BYO is allowed, where there is a corkage fee.
Party Boats for Hire
10. Dolphin Cruise
***Unfortunately the Dolphin Cruise is no longer in operation***
Port Adelaide’s Dolphin Cruise has been a popular Party Boat in South Australia for many many years! With 2 separate function decks, a full bar, dining and dance floor, this is an ideal floating venue for any special occasion or event.
Dolphin Cruise also offer a range of Themed Cruises throughout the year, making it even easier to jump on and enjoy the party!
The Popeye River Cruises are iconic in South Australia and with good reason. These smaller, more intermit boats offer a great space for more informal parties and gatherings whilst cruising the picturesque River Torrens through the city.
With quite a few options available, check out their website for more details.
12. Private Charters available in Adelaide
If you are up for some serious fishing, it’s worth contacting an Adelaide Fishing Charter to arrange your own charter. Not only will your skipper know some of the best fishing spots in Adelaide, but they will also be geared up for the best experience.
Some of Adelaide’s best fishing charters are:
- B.A. Boat Hire – North Haven
- Strike 1 Fishing Charters – West Beach (check out our review here of this fishing charter)
- Go Get Em Fishing Charters – West Beach
- Glenelg Fishing Charters – Glenelg
- Absolute Fishing Charters – Glenelg
- Get Hooked Fishing Charters – West Beach and North Haven
Let us know what you think in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you if you tried any of these local private boat hires in Adelaide or anywhere else around Australia that you’ve enjoyed.
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Water loving British girl who moved to Australia and seriously caught the travel bug! Loves to explore and share destinations that inspire others to spend more time on the water and in the great outdoors. Typically, you’ll find her on a boat or next to the ocean, often in a daydream!