Our season generally runs from June through September, although sometimes we might be able to get some boats in the water by late May or keep them in into early October. Early or late in the season, it is best to e-mail, text, or call to inquire about availability; otherwise our online calendars are always up-to-date (they are what *we* refer to ourselves)
In the off-season, we only accept advance reservations for rentals of 5 days or more contiguous.
What you are getting yourself into: our Rental Agreement
NOTE: Maine’s coastal waters are littered with hazards to navigation, and prone to fog, shifting winds, changing tides and currents, all of which can be challenging to even experienced boaters. Operating a boat in these waters is not a care-free joy-ride, it requires constant vigilance.
Right of Refusal: The renter must provide evidence satisfactory to West Harbor Recreation, Inc. (WHR) of their knowledge and ability to operate and navigate the selected boat properly, safely, and in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations, including the “rules of the road.” WHR reserves the right to refuse rental in the event of prevailing or anticipated bad weather or reduced visibility, if the renter is deemed insufficiently knowledgeable or experienced, or if the renter or any member of their party appears intoxicated or otherwise in-capable of, ill-equipped, or ill-prepared for boating. Should we choose not to continue the rental, a full refund will be issued immediately. WHR’s acceptance of the renter does not absolve the renter of their full responsibilities as Master of the vessel.
Financial Responsibility: Our insurance policy does not extend to you! In renting this boat, you accept full financial responsibility for any and all costs arising from your use of the boat, including our lost revenue should the boat need to be taken out of service for repairs. But your liability extends well beyond damages to the boat, to include damages to the property of third parties, as well as medical costs due to injuries or loss of life. If you run the prop onto a rock, you could be facing several thousand dollars in bills; if you are involved in a serious accident, you could be looking at millions of dollars in bills…. Does that scare you? It should!
Acknowledgement of Risk: The renter acknowledges that boating and other waterfront activities have an inherent risk of damage and injury, including the possibility of permanent disability, paralysis, or death. Renters and visitors using the dock, boats, swimming, or exploring the shore do so entirely at their own risk. West Harbor Recreation, Inc., and their lessors, contractors, employees, and officers, will not be responsible for injury, including death, to any person, nor for damages to any person’s property, sustained as a result of use of these boats or waterfront facilities.
Release, Hold Harmless, and Indemnification: The renter agrees on behalf of all members of the renter’s party and any visitors or guests of the renter’s party, to release, hold harmless, and indemnify West Harbor Recreation, Inc., its lessors, contractors, employees, and officers from any and all liability or claims, including those of third parties, arising out of or in any way a result of renter’s or any guest’s use of our boats, waterfront facilities, equipment, or grounds to the fullest extent allowable by law.
Maine does not yet require a boating license or certification. That said, if you have a “Safe Boating Certificate” or similar credential from another state, or a license from the US Coast Guard, we would love to see it. In any case, you still need to satisfy us of your competence to take the boat out. We don’t have any specific test for you, but we want to know about your boating experience, your understanding of the “rules of the road,” and your abilities to navigate and to handle the boat. If you’re taking the boat for more than a day, we’ll also want to know about where you plan to moor or dock the boat.
If you are interested in obtaining certification, we recommend looking for a course/test that meets the standards of the NASBLA (National Association of State Boating Law Administrators), as that might be portable to the most jurisdictions. Some online resources:
- Boat-Ed http://www.boat-ed.com/
- BoatUS http://www.boatus.org/onlinecourse/default.asp
- United States Power Squadron – http://www.americasboatingcourse.com/index.cfm
- NASBLA http://www.nasbla.net/courseListing.php
For reference: the official “Boater’s Guide to Maine Boating Laws and Responsibilities” (online web version, also available as a downloadable PDF)
Payment for the first day of the rental is required to confirm the reservation. The balance of your reservation, plus a security deposit, will be collected when you come to pick up the boat.
Should you need to cancel: If more than 10 days prior to your reservation, you would be refunded in full less any transaction processing charges that might have accrued (typically around 3%); Within 10 days of your reservation, you would be refunded only if we succeed in renting the boat to someone else, or if the weather or other conditions are such that we would not let you take the boat out anyway.
Our navigation area covers the coastal waters from the Sheepscott River (Southport Island, Barters Island, etc…) to the Damariscotta River (East Boothbay, Back Narrows, etc…), out to Damariscove Island, including Boothbay Harbor, Booth Bay, Linekin Bay, Townsend Gut and Ebenecook Harbor.
Below is a detailed chart of Boothbay Harbor’s inner (inside Tumbler Island) and outer (between Tumbler and Squirrel Islands) harbors. Note that the entire inner harbor inside Tumbler Island is a NO WAKE zone. All boats are restricted from passing between Tumbler Island and Spruce Point. Sailboats are also restricted from sailing in the yacht club mooring field and in the main harbor mooring field. Sailboats are also restricted from passing through Townsend Gut.
Some areas where people have gotten into trouble — check these out on the charts to see for yourself:
- Trying to go between Tumbler Island and the mainland coming back into Boothbay Harbor; yes, you’ll see other boats go through there, but it is not the direct path that you think it is, so just don’t do it!
- The ledges across the mouth of Linekin Bay — “red and green, go between?” That’s NOT a rule; “Red Right Returning” IS the rule. Look at the chart!
- The ledges running south from the west side of Mouse Island — not all the hazards have buoys or other markers, but they are all show on the chart so you need to study it and pay attention to where you are at all times!
- The “ink bottle” at the north end of Townsend Gut — going north up the gut, the Red Nun buoy looks like it is way over close to the western shore, with a whole lot of water off to the right. But you are “returning” from the sea, headed inland, so you must observe the “Red Right Returning” rule. Look, just study the chart carefully and be able to translate that to what you see when you are out on the water.
- Between the Hypocrites and Fisherman’s Island — there are rocks there, they are shown on the chart, keep clear of them…
Most of Booth Bay is open clear water free of obstrutions; what hazards there are are well known and shown on the chart. Pay attention to the chart and stay away from those areas, it’s not that hard!
Picking up your Rental
Unfortunately, we do not have the resources to provide delivery and retrieval of the boats, nor are the boats trailerable (they are in the water, here at our dock on West Boothbay Harbor, ready and waiting for you!). You should make arrangements to pick up and return your rental from our dock located at Harborfields Cottages on the shores of West Boothbay Harbor.
Please call ahead to make an appointment for a specific time to pick up your boat. Allow ~1/2 hour for paperwork and checkout on the boat.
If you intend to take a boat for more than a day, please provide information (including the exact address) on where the boat will be docked or moored for the duration of your rental. You are also welcome to leave the boat with us and operate out of our facility for the duration of your rental if you would like.
The coordinates of our dock are approximately 49°50’30″ North latitude, 69°38’49″ West longitude in degrees, minutes, and seconds — or 43°60.65’N and 69°38.82’W in degrees and decimal minutes.
We send you out with a full tank of gas in all of our boats.
With the Powerboats, you must return the boat also with a full tank of gas. We recommend stopping at the Carousel Marina fuel dock on the east side of the Harbor to top off before returning the boat. Make sure you leave time for this in your float plan! Please present a receipt to show that you did fill the boat. If we have to re-fill the boat, we will charge you double the cost of the fuel, with a $50 minimum.
With the Sailboats, that first tank of fuel is on us.
Rather than charge your card for a security deposit, only to refund when you return the boat, we collect your credit card information and your signature authorizing us to charge any amount up to $1,000 on your card, up to 30 days following the date signed, for payment of any fuel charges, clean-up fees, late fees, repair charges, replacement of lost equipment, or settlement of claims by third parties resulting from your use of the rental boat. If you are not comfortable with this arrangement, please bring a security deposit of $1,000 in cash.
The security deposit will be refunded in full (or not charged) if the boat is returned on time and in the same condition as it was checked out (see note above about fuel charges). Return of the deposit may be pro-rated if the boat is not returned on time, if the boat or engine need repairs, if equipment is missing, or if fuel is needed. In case of a partial refund, amounts returned might be by check mailed to the supplied mailing address. In some circumstances, return of the deposit may take several days to process.
The most common repair we have to do is replacing damaged blades on the propeller because people hit something (a rock, a submerged log, or even just a lobster pot buoy…); sometimes we also have to replace the skeg (or fin) on the bottom of the outboard, and that can get expensive…
Day time use only! You are not allowed to operate the boat after sunset or before sunrise, even if the boat is equipped with running lights.
Water skiing, wake-boarding, tubing, and other such activities are not allowed with any of our boats. There are inherent dangers, and it’s just not something people generally do around here: the water is cold, there are too many lobster pots, the waves can be big, and there is often too much other boat traffic.
Maine State Law requires that children under the age of 12 must wear an appropriately fitted lifejacket at all times when boating; we strongly recommend all members of the renter’s party to wear lifejackets.
Available for your review: