Where to Rent a Boat in San Diego

by Paul Joseph  |  Updated March 6, 2023

San Diego has long been a hugely popular destination for yachting visitors keen to explore the area’s waters as well as its land-based attractions.

Boats docked in a San Diego harbour (Photo: Paul Sableman via Flickr / CC BY 2.0)

Situated on the Pacific coast of California and renowned for its sandy beaches, public parks, art galleries and idyllic climate – not to mention the Mission Bay neighbourhood that’s more than 50% water – San Diego and its surroundings are home to several boat rental companies. Whether it’s a party boat, speed boat, pontoon boat, or whether it’s with captain or without, if you’re planning to rent a yacht here, we’ve looked into the available options and selected three of the best online resources, based on several factors including range of vessels, ease of use, and customer reviews.

Click & Boat

With more than 40,000 vessels for hire worldwide, Click & Boat are one of the biggest players in the boat hire industry. Owners are invited to create a free listing for their boat and renters can then contact them directly to ask any questions, as well as see reviews from previous renters of the same vessel. While bareboat rentals are the most affordable option, you can benefit from having a captain onboard if you’re willing to pay extra. In San Diego there are over 50 boat rentals available, with prices starting at around $500 per day, plus fees. Many boat owners also provide water sports equipment for your rental, too.

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Whether it’s a short sail of just a few hours or a week’s island-hopping adventure, Boatsetter offers memorable on-the-water experiences for every taste and every budget. Their online marketplace connects boat owners with renters, and with more than 50,000 boats in over 700 locations worldwide, there’s almost certain to be an available vessel near you. Renters can choose from a portfolio of vessels that suit their exact needs, location, and lifestyle, with communication between owners and renters made simple and secure. Choose a licensed captain onboard for stress-free cruising, or take the helm yourself. When we searched for rentals in San Diego, we found 112 boats for rent by the hour, with pricing starting at around $70 per hour, before fees.

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Sail San Diego

Founded in 1988, Sail San Diego has more than three decades of experience sailing on the beautiful waters of San Diego Bay & Pacific Ocean. The company has grown into a major player on San Diego’s yachting scene, boasting a charter fleet that includes a number of impressive vessels including 3 Catalina 400s and a Vision 42 by Bavaria Yachts, all helmed by highly experienced and often award-winning captains. The company offers a wide range of cheap boat rental experiences, including 2-hour summer specials, 3-hour sunset sails, and small-group private sails, ensuring there’s something to suit every taste and preference. Sail San Diego’s marina is also very close to the Pacific, giving guests the option of sailing either in the bay, or out in open water. Pricing starts at $75 per person for a 2-hour morning trip, including fees.

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