Three local rental outlets offer well-maintained outboard engine boats ranging from 17- to 26-feet in length. They all come with the required number of PFDs, two anchors and other safety gear; most are equipped with 2-way marine radios and coolers; and some offer sophisticated sonar depth/fish finders. Weekly rates range from $600 to $1,200, depending on the size of the boat – plus whatever gasoline you use during the rental period. Most boats are also available for shorter rental periods of one to three days.
A 17' - 20' boat will be plenty seaworthy for island hopping, exploring the beaches on surrounding cays, or fishing in the Sea of Abaco. If you want to venture into the Atlantic Ocean for snorkeling or fishing the reefs, or if you have a larger group, you’ll need a boat of 20’ or more. If you want to troll for bluewater species out beyond the reefs, be sure to check with the rental company to see if they will allow you to take their boats offshore when you make your reservation.
If you are an inexperienced boater, all three rental companies are happy to provide lessons in operating their boats. Operating a powerboat is easy to learn, and, other than running aground, the only real trouble you can get into is if you pull your boat up onto a beach when the tide is falling, which will leave you high and dry – and stranded – for a full 12 hours until the tide rises again. So, any time you want to explore a beach after the tide has reached its peak, we recommend anchoring your boat in deeper water (with one anchor dug into the sand up on the beach and a second anchored off the stern) and wading ashore. Ask the folks at the boat rental to show you how.
The tides around Green Turtle Cay fluctuate by as much as three to four feet between the high and low – the more extreme tide changes take place during the full or new moon phases. High and low tides occur twice each 24-hour period, on a 25-hour cycle. That means if high tide on your first day is at 8 AM, it will be low at 2:15 PM that afternoon, high again at 8:30 PM, low at 2:30 AM and high the next morning at 9 AM. In other words, high tide “advances” about an hour every day. Click here for moon phase charts for 2014.