Boat Rental FAQs, Tampa

Pontoon Boat Rental FAQs in Tampa Bay Area, FL

It's also a good idea to read our Rules & Guidelines. An informed customer is a happy customer!

How far in advance should you book a boat?
During the week 1-2 days is normally fine. On the weekend 3-4 days in advance to get the boat you want. Holiday weekends (4th July, Memorial Day, Labor Day) and Spring Break book 2-3 weeks in advance.

What do you mean by Non-Refundable Deposit?
Deposits are only refunded in the event of bad weather. All day rain, high winds or when the coast guard has issued a small craft advisory. You have the option of receiving a full refund or rescheduling your day. After all, it's not your fault if mother nature has a hissy fit!

If you CANCEL FOR ANY OTHER REASON, your deposit will not be refunded. However, if your plans change, you can reschedule (with 48 hours notice - except holiday weekends), and you can use your deposit towards anything else we do, such as paddle craft, another pontoon rental or even a Windsong T-shirts. We will hold your deposit for 6 months before you totally lose it. If you reschedule or postpone your rental LESS than 48 hours before the booking, YOU LOSE YOUR DEPOSIT, and you will be required to pay another deposit for the new date. More info on this in our guidelines.

Do your rates include fuel?

How does the fuel charge work?
We provide you a full tank of gas and you pay for what you use. You MAY NOT gas up the boat yourself because Premium Marine non-ethanol fuel must be used or you'll blow up the engine.

How much fuel can I expect to use?
If you go just to the islands and back, our boats will use between 4-6 gallons depending on your load and how heavy you are on the throttle. Depending upon fuel prices, average $25 and $35. More if you do a lot of exploring.

How old must I be to rent a boat from Windsong?
You must be 21 or older to rent a powered vessel. In addition to this, the driver of the pontoon boat must be born BEFORE January 1, 1988. If you were born after 1/1/1988, you must have a Florida Boater's Safety Certificate or other state equivalent. State Law requires permanent or temporary Boater Safety Card be physically carried on you with picture ID. If you are renting the "Party Limo", this boat is only available to guests who have hired a USCG Licensed Captain at $30/hour.

Take the test here: BOAT TEST 101.

Do you provide life jackets?
ALL LIFE JACKETS ARE PROVIDED, including infant, toddler, youth and adult sizes.

What times can we depart?
HALF DAY RENTALS ARE FROM 8.30AM-12.30PM, and 1.00PM to 5.00PM. FULL DAY RENTALS ARE FROM 9AM TO 5 PM. Plan to arrive at least 20-30 minutes ahead of your scheduled departure otherwise the mandated check out speech will eat into your rental time.

9am is way too early in the Summer. Can I leave later?
Maybe. If it is a Fri-Sat-Sun reservation then get your lazy butt outta bed and be on time. If you want to sleep in - choose the afternoon slot.
Weekdays - Monday through Thursday there MAY be more flexibility depending upon reservations. Just ask us. During Winter we are very flexible.

What if I arrive late to pick up my boat?
Too bad, so sad! You are required to be back at the marina on time. No discount. No ifs, no ands, no buts, no nothing. Don't argue. Come back in on time.

What if I return the boat later than the agreed return time?
The late fee is $2 per 1 minute. Our people work long hours and if you keep them away from their families even longer, expect to pay the overtime. Oh, and don't speed down the channel trying to get in on time, the speeding fine issued by Marine Patrol is more than $2 per minute! A LOT MORE! Come back in on time or pay the late fee with a smile on your face.

If I come in early, will I get a refund?
Depends. If you came in early because you didn't like communing with Florida's nature or got too much sun, then NO WAY! However, if the weather turned and WE INSTRUCTED you to come in early then we will pro-rata your time on the water.

How many people can we load on the boat?
The boats are rated according to number of people or weight whichever comes first. (See Pontoon Rates Page). Add up the estimated weight of the party including any coolers and equipment. If your party consists of LARGER people, plan accordingly!!! Like the airlines, we have a scale!!! Overweight boats WILL NOT leave the marina, and NO, you can't pay for extra baggage!!!

What happens if we don't pay attention to the tides and our rental boat gets beached?
Your checkout person will advise you of the tide swing of the day. If you don't pay attention - you are up the creek without the proverbial paddle. If we have to send another boat out to fetch your butts and one of our poor staff members has to sit on your boat until the tide comes in 10 hours later, they need to be paid for their time and gas, so there will be a $500 charge added to your credit card. Stupidity unfortunately, has its price. You can avoid this charge by keeping an eye on the boat and water AT ALL TIMES and letting the anchor lines out as the tides drop AS ADVISED PRIOR TO DEPARTURE!

What happens if we break something on the boat?
You break it, you bought it! The State of Florida does not allow us to sell boat insurance, so be careful not to break or lose anything. Ask at the office for the replacement price of items lost or broken.

If I hire a captain am I relieved of responsibility to the boat?
Yes! However, you are still responsible for any damage your party might cause, such as tears in the upholstery, cigarette burns, etc. Plus the best snorkel spots are in a NO BOATING ZONE for self drive renters as they are tricky to find with loads of underwater rocks. Hire a captain, no problem he/she is allowed to take you there.

What happens if I get lost and cannot find my way back?
Call us, all boats have GPS trackers so we know exactly where you are and can guide you home.

What happens if the boat won't start?
Click here for an instructional video on what to do. There is also a troubleshooting page on the boat. If none of that helps, drop anchor immediately and call us.

What if a storm comes while we are out on the water?
Contact us by cell phone for specific instructions. The best place to be in a storm is anchored at the island taking shelter under the shade top. Pontoon boats are generally NOT targets for lightning and our summer storms pass very quickly. If you are delayed returning to dock by a storm you WILL NOT be charged overtime fees. Your safety is our utmost concern. However, if you then use the storm as an excuse to party on at the island well past your return time, we WILL charge you overtime fees! Our office has radar, we KNOW when the storm passed the island.

I have never driven a boat before, will you rent to me?
Certainly, but you MUST hire a captain at $30/hour for your first rental. The captain will teach you the ins and outs of boating in our area. Once he is satisfied with your skill level then you can book a self drive. We highly encourage you to also take the online Florida Boater's Safety Course before you arrive. Take the test for FREE at BOATUS.COM.

May I go out on a sunset cruise?
Yes, but you will need to hire a captain. Being out in the dark can be very confusing and dangerous for a person who does not know the area thoroughly.

May I take my dog with me?
Yes, However...
- Pet(s) count toward your total weight allowance (remember we have a scale!)
- Pet(s) MUST be on a leash (FL Law) and life jackets are recommended for your animal's safety
- We DO NOT provide life jackets for animals
- Owner responsible for ALL damage caused by pet
- Pets are ONLY allowed on the North Anclote Sandbar Island
- Please remember fresh water and a bowl for Fido!

May I fish from the pontoon boat?
Yes, but you need to bring your own fishing license. Persons between age of 16 and 65 are required to have a salt water fishing license to fish off a boat. Florida law states you must gut fish on land. If you get fish blood, bait goo and guts all over our boats you WILL be charged a $75 PIG STY EXCESSIVE MESS FEE! Fishing rods are available for rent. We sell frozen bait.

Can I buy bait nearby?
We sell frozen bait right at our marina.

Can I buy food nearby?
Yes, there is a Publix Supermarket only a block away.

Where can I buy beer?
Either at Publix or a gas station within walking distance. Oh, and the driver of the boat must stay sober - .08 it's the law!

Do I need to worry about alligators?
Nope. They don't like salt water - there are no alligators in the Gulf of Mexico.

Where are the "facilities"?
There is a primitive bathroom on the North and South ends of Anclote Island. That's it!
Other Options:
1) Hold it
2) The Gulf of Mexico is your "bowl"
3) That's it! No other options!

How deep should the water be when I anchor at the island?
Here's our guideline: If you can stand next to the boat and pee without people seeing you pee, you are anchored in the perfect depth for the boat! This means you are in about 2 1/2-3 feet of water - crotch height, basically.

In conclusion...
The secret to a great day on the water with Windsong Boat Rentals is COMMUNICATION! You have a cell phone, call us! We are happy to guide you and advise you.

By now you have realized that Windsong is fun and has a sense of humor and we really want YOU to have fun too!

However, if you break our stuff, our sense of humor disappears very quickly!!!

See our Hall of Shame

Now go ahead and read our RULES and GUIDELINES

Boating Area Map
Picture Gallery
Boat Rental Tour
Island Camping

Areas our New Port Richey location is near to in the Greater Tampa Bay Area

We are about a 2 hour drive from Orlando, Disney World and Universal

Clearwater Beach
St. Petersburg
St. Pete Beach

Palm Harbor
Tarpon Springs
New Port Richey

Port Richey
Spring Hill
Hernando Beach
Weeki Watchee

Hillsborough County
Pinellas County
Pasco County
Hernando County

PHONE - 727-326-7391

FacebookInstagramTripAdvisorContact Us
Fishing License

Bring your own fishing gear.

Is required if driver is born after 1987
Take the test: BOAT TEST 101

© Copyright 2002. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BY WINDSONG CHARTERS & BOAT RENTALS.  Web Design by Longman Computers