The Main Marinas to Rent a Boat or a Jet Ski in Lake Tahoe
By: Kayla Anderson
Stretching 12 miles wide and 24 miles long with a smattering of trees, boulders, and towns dotting its shoreline, there is plenty to see and do from a speedboat in Lake Tahoe. Bar hopping, visiting Emerald Bay, wakesurfing, looking at houses, and hydrofoiling are popular activities to participate in on the water. Or it’s easy just to spend a whole day just hanging out sunbathing on the boat and swimming in the crisp, cool massive blue drink when you get a good tan going on.
Whether you are visiting or have lived in Tahoe for years, getting out on the lake at least once in your life with all your friends is a must. Thankfully, there are plenty of marinas and businesses in Lake Tahoe who are around to help make that happen. We’d like to share some of biggest and best places to rent a boat and/or jet ski in the area, but first…
Driving a boat or a jet ski is not like driving a car, and some rental companies (like the Tahoe City Marina) require that you show proof of boating experience by showing a boater’s license or safety course certification. Be aware that you will be responsible for any damage to the watercraft (I once saw a family go out and immediately ram the boat’s $400 prop into a sandbar) and it’s good to be aware of any landmarks and how long it takes to get there and back (it takes at least an hour to get from Tahoe City to Emerald Bay via boat). Along with that, here are a couple of other requirements that most Lake Tahoe boat rental companies have in place:
- Must be 18 years old to rent a boat and at least 16 years old to ride a jet ski on one’s own
- Fuel is not included
- Most boat rental companies are only open May-September
Now, here are Tahoe’s top marinas that let you get out on the water easily and safely:
Zephyr Cove Marina (Southeast Tahoe)
From Sea-Doo jet skis to its 36-ft. long pontoon boat that holds 12 people, the Zephyr Cove Marina has every kind of water toy you can imagine. It also keeps a fleet of 20-24 ft. Sea Rays and Malibu ski and wakeboard boats that can be rented out for around $1500 a day and wakeboards, wakesurf boards, and tubes are available for an extra cost. Must be at least 18 years old to rent a ski boat and 16 years old with a valid ID to drive a jet ski.
High Sierra Waterski School (West Shore)
Located on the West Shore near Hurricane Bay (which ironically has the smoothest water for wakeboarding and waterskiing), the High Sierra Waterski School keeps the largest fleet of Correct Craft Ski Nautiques in the nation. They have more than 20 ski boats in their quiver, those for rent ranging from $1140-$1240 per day depending on the size and features you’re looking for. They also rent jet skis and give waterski and wakeboard lessons.
Tahoe Sports at the Ski Run Marina and Tahoe Keys (South Lake Tahoe)
Operating out of two lakefront marinas on the South Shore, TahoeSports.com has all kinds of jet skis and powerboats to rent as well as takes people out parasailing and gives boat charters if they want to leave the driving to a professional. Powerboats that hold 6-13 passengers range from $169-$269 per hour.
Tahoe City Marina (Northwest Tahoe)
As one of the oldest marinas on Lake Tahoe, this harbor on the northwest shore of Big Blue is home of the Tahoe Gal cruise ship and the Tahoe Yacht Club. And right there on the dock within those boat slips adjacent to the Boatworks mall, the Marina rents out a 20-ft. and a 23-ft. open bow powerboats and a 22-ft. Catalina sailboat. Rental rates range from $105-$215 per hour and can support 6-10 people.
Other Noteworthy Tahoe Boat Rental Companies
There are other companies in Tahoe like North Tahoe Watersports operates out of Kings Beach and offers parasailing experiences and jet ski rentals, or Stellar Tahoe ran by longtime local Matt Lund who takes people out on his luxurious Formula 330 ss boat that floats in the Sierra Boat Company marina in Carnelian Bay. Full Throttle Tahoe also offers boat charters and wakeboarding lessons behind their Centurion boats; they also headquartered on the north shore of Lake Tahoe.
Some Ideas for a Food & Beverage Stop (for the passengers)
Related Articles to get you getting on the water in Lake Tahoe under your own power.