A Guide to Renting a Boat in Portland  

Whether you’re a Portland resident or here on holiday, renting a boat is a fun activity to do – and Portland’s location makes it an ideal location for boat hire. 

Portland, Oregon is located near the confluence of the Columbia River and Willamette River. Having access to the Pacific Ocean as well as the two rivers, mean that the city developed as a port city very quickly. For most of the 1800s, Portland was the most important Pacific Northwest port. Seattle eventually took over towards the 20th century.

The Columbia and Willamette Rivers are popular destinations for houseboat vacations, wakeboarding, water skiing, sightseeing, and more besides. With Portland being the most populous city in Oregon (it’s also in third place for the whole Pacific Northwest following Seattle and Washington), there are lots on offer in the way of boat rental.

A Perfect Climate for Renting a Boat

Since the climate here is a marine west coast climate, this city is known for dry, warm summers and cool, wet winters. For over 100 years, Portland has been referred to as the City of Roses thanks to its numerous rose gardens, which the climate favors. In August, the daily average daytime temperature is 81 °F, while to daily night lows average 58 °F. There are sometimes heatwaves in the city too. These temperatures make renting a boat a great thing to do in the summer.

General Guide to Renting a Boat

A guide to renting a boat in Portland  

Before renting a boat in Portland, there are some things you need to bear in mind. Firstly, make sure to plan in advance. In Portland, boating is a seasonal activity, which means it is very popular during the summer months. 

Check in smoothly

When you’ve secured your booking, make sure you arrive on time – it’s actually best to turn up a little early on the day. This will mean that all of the checks and paperwork can get done quickly and won’t eat into your reserved boat time, which might only be half a day, depending on your chosen vessel and booking. Some companies recommend arriving between thirty and forty-five minutes in advance. 

As well as turning up early, make sure you read your booking information so that you know what you need to bring with you on the day.

Choosing the right boat

Know what your limits are. Don’t book a full-size sailboat if you have no experience. You also need to check that the boat you choose is suitable for your party’s needs. 

Check the weather forecast

St. Johns Bridge views

Since reservations are made in advance, you need to think of the weather. Even in August, it can rain in Portland, so check the weather forecast in the lead-up to your rental and on the day itself. Planning for the weather also means you need to consider what clothing to wear. Even if it’s warm, it can get breezy out on the water, so ensure you bring appropriate clothing.

Pack adequately

Remember, you’re on a boat so you can’t just call in at a store. Ensure you pack appropriately, including spare clothes, water, food, sunscreen and towels.

Consider hiring a captain

There are many boating rentals in Portland that will provide a captain for your boat hire. While this is usually more expensive, it gives you peace of mind that you’re not going to get into trouble out on the water.

Top 5 Best Boat Rental Companies in Portland, Oregon

Best boat rentals in Portland Oregon

Since boating is popular in Portland, there are so many companies to choose from. Let’s take a look at some of the best boat rentals in Portland. We’ve chosen a selection of different types of the rental to suit all needs.

  1. Portland Electric Boat Company – Best all-round boat rental

Portland Electric Boat Company is a popular company for boat rental in Portland. No matter the weather, renting a boat from Portland Electric Boat Company is a great way to spend the day. They have boats that fit up to ten people. They even have ones that have the capability of being open-air or enclosed and heated.

The company began in Seattle, Washington in 2005 with five boats. They now operate from both Seattle and Portland and have more than 35 boats for rent. 

With Portland Electric Boat Company, you can captain a 21 ft elective boat and see Portland from the water. The company allows you to bring drinks or food onboard too and you don’t need any boating license. These boats are similar to driving a golf buggy. 

People who rent boats here do so for all sorts of reasons including family reunions, corporate events, bachelorette/bachelor parties, birthdays, anniversaries – and even proposals!

  • Telephone number: (503) 673-6172 
  • Address: 1181 SW River Drive, Suite 400, Portland, Oregon, 97201
  1. Hook’em Up Guide Service – best for fishing

If you’re wanting to hire a boat for a fishing trip in Portland, Oregon, Hook’em up is a good company to choose. The company supplies all the gear, bait, boat, guide, and licensing, making it an ideal choice for anyone on a vacation in Portland or someone who just wants to try something new! People can choose between a half or full-day, and trips are typically multi-species combinations like sturgeon and salmon. 

  • Telephone number: (503) 575-8755
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Address: 200 North Lotus Beach Drive, Portland, Oregon, 97217
  1. SK Watercraft Rentals – best for a variety

SK Watercraft Rentals has been in operation since 1994. This company offers boat rentals, including jet skis, Sea-dos, and Waverunner rentals, pontoon boats, and fishing boats. The company is open each day from 9:30 am to 7 pm during the summer months (including weekends; mid-June-mid-September). It is also possible to rent boats during the early or late season with an appointment.

  • Telephone number: (503) 2840-6447
  • Address: 250 SE Division Pl, Portland, Oregon 97202
  1. Yacht Tubs – best for fun

What’s a Yacht Tub, you might ask? Well, this is a hot tub-boat combination, hence the play on words. 

Captaining your own Yacht Tub is an excellent way to spend a day. You get to relax in the temperature-controlled hot tub while exploring the Willamette River and taking in Portland’s magnificent skyline. This is a great experience for people wanting to try something new and is popular with groups of friends, families, and couples alike. It makes an ideal date, birthday, or anniversary experience and a new way of seeing the city.

You don’t need a license to drive the boats and the standard rental time is two hours (but can be extended in advance). What’s more, the water inside the Yacht Tub is cleaned for each guest and is heated with the onboard heating system. The boats have an electric motor, which means they’re almost silent so you can enjoy listening to music via Bluetooth stereos. 

  1. PDX Watersports – best for basics

At PDX Watersports, you can hire pontoon boats, high-performance wakeboards, fun deck boats, jet skis, and sea-doos. In total, there are seven different types of boats for rent. The company can bring them to the water edge for you, or you can pick them up from the office. It is cheaper to pay cash as there is a 5% surcharge on card payments.

  • Telephone number (503) 847-6244
  • Email: [email protected] 
  • Address: 23000 NW Marine Drive, Fairview, Oregon

Final thoughts on a boat rental in Portland, Oregon

Whatever the reason for renting a boat in Portland, you have lots of choices available, including things like jet skis and yacht tubs! The most important thing you can do is plan everything in advance. If you do, your trip will be much smoother. Don’t forget the essentials, especially sunscreen, and plan for all weathers too.

In this guide, we’ve given you five places to rent a boat in Portland, but with this city being so close to the water, there are hundreds to choose from so you’re sure to find something that meets your needs. 

Portland is a beautiful city and whether or not you’re familiar with it, seeing the city and its surroundings by boat is a wonderful activity for people of all ages. 


How old do you have to be to rent a boat?

The laws of Oregon specify that children need to be at least 16 years old before they can operate a watercraft alone. However, most companies will always require people to be 18 before allowing them to rent or drive a boat. Some companies will have specific rules about children and lifejackets too so make sure you read the small print carefully and ask questions in advance of your trip.

Do you need a boating license to rent a boat?

In Oregon, you don’t need a boating license to rent a boat. You do, however, need to carry a boater education card and have it with you on board. You could also complete a watercraft safety checklist and have this to hand.

Do you need insurance to rent a boat?

By law, you don’t have to buy boat insurance in Oregon, but it is always a good idea. Some rental companies won’t let you rent a boat without insurance,

How much does it cost to rent a boat for the day in Portland, Oregon?

Boat rental and charter prices in Portland, Oregon very massively. This depends on what type of watercraft you rent and how long you rent it for. It could cost in the region of $250 for a day trip or anywhere up to $6500 if you want a luxury yacht.


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