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Sydney, with its world-famous harbour, lined with unspoilt beaches, is an idyllic location to explore by cheap boat hire. It can also be one of the most expensive! Thankfully we’ve found a range of great cheap boat hires in Sydney to make this experience more affordable and enjoyable for all – with or without a boat licence.
Most boat hires in Sydney Harbour start around $400 per hour, then double that cost if you were looking for a skipper. However, with self-drive hire options, you can get this cost to well under $50 and less per hour, normally with a minimum hire period.
Getting the cheapest boat hire means considering small boat hire in Sydney so you can get more value for money. It also is cheaper to hire a boat during the day instead of at night time.
Most boat hire locations are within Sydney Harbour itself. This is ideal due to the calm nature of the water, meaning vessels such as pontoon boats are also available. If driving your own vessel around the Harbour isn’t your thing, check out these top boat trips from Circular Quay.
1. Oz Boat Hire
For the cheapest boat hire in Sydney, check out Oz Boat Hire. They have a good range of small to medium-sized self-drive boats for hire. Boats are delivered to a boat ramp at Five Dock boat ramp (Drummoyne) or Ermington boat ramp.
The Runabout and Bowrider are ideal for cruising, sightseeing and fishing within the harbour and waterways. The Center Cabin is much bigger and steadier, meaning it can be taken up to 9 km offshore.
Oz Boat Hire rents out their boats for the full day. Their day prices are reduced for multi-day hire, and there is an additional cost for fuel used.
A valid boat licence is needed for all boat hires.
Another party pontoon boat is available from Sydney Boat Hire. These boats are a lot of fun, especially in the harbour’s calm waters. They have two different pontoon boats – one for seven passengers, the other for twelve. Neither required a boat licence.
Sydney Boat Hire also has a smaller Easyrider 509 for five passengers and a slightly larger Cruiseabout 610 for eight passengers. These v-shaped hulls are a little faster on the water, perfect for exploring and fishing, and require a boat licence.
They also come in as one of the cheapest boat hires in Sydney because they include fuel and fishing licences!
East Sail has 2 vessels available for self-drive hire with no need for a boat licence (some restrictions will apply).
Their Smartliner 17 is a basic half cabin boat for up to four people and is their cheapest boat hire. Arvor 20 carries up to eight people on board and has a swim deck at the rear. Both of these vessels are for day time use only.
Arvor 23 is available for up to seven people on board, with a diesel motor and electric winch. To hire this vessel, you do need to have some experience in motor boating. It can be used for overnight charters and sleeps five in a double v-berth, a single quarter berth and a fold down dinette double berth. There is also a fridge, gas cooker, private bathroom with a flushing toilet and deck shower.
East Sail also has a range of skippered motor boat hires, sailing yachts, and sailing school courses. They are located at Darling Point within Sydney Harbour.
We love what CCA Boat Hire stands for, and they are a good choice of cheap boat hire in Sydney. Named after the initials of their three daughters, CCA Boat Hire offers a whole range of vessels, with or without a boat licence.
CCA aren’t the cheapest boat hire in Sydney, but they aren’t far from it. Their cheapest boat hire is the Bow Rider. Not found with all boat hires in Sydney, they do offer some different towables available to hire for that added bit of fun!
Located in Putney, with CCA, you are paying for that bit of extra luxury from the perfect location.
Hiring a boat and where to go
When considering hiring a boat in Sydney, please be mindful of experience and confidence out on the water. It’s great that there are options for everyone to get out there and enjoy what’s on offer, but Sydney Harbour is the busiest port south of the equator. You and those on board with you will need to keep your eyes open for other vessels and know what to do in a difficult situation. Cruise liners. Ferries. That sort of thing!
The general rule is that if a boat licence isn’t required, the boat will be more restricted in its capable speed. This ensures the safety of those on board and others around you.
Training is offered before all boat hires – don’t be afraid to ask for more time if you are unsure of anything.
Wondering where to head to in the harbour? We love this sightseeing map from CCA Boat Hire and gives you an idea of what to explore:
You can also download the PDF here.
A couple of other options to consider are Book My Boat, which is an up-and-coming platform for residential and commercial vessels. Also, Get My Boat is another growing platform that features more sailing boats if this is more of what you were thinking of hiring.
What is your favourite cheap boat hire in Sydney? We would love to know what you think in the comments below.
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!