Boats a Great Way for a Bay Dream
From Kayaks to Yachts, You Can Rent It All Around the Chesapeake
If your boating knowledge begins and ends with former Rep. Duke Cunningham’s (R-Calif.) Kelly C, then it might be time to ditch the BlackBerry and escape on the Chesapeake Bay. For landlubbers and sailors alike, the Chesapeake offers a range of boat rental options, from paddle to power to sail, and you don’t have to risk indictment to enjoy them.
32218 Lankford Highway
Cape Charles, VA 23310
The Eastern Shore of Virginia may be better known for its seaside beaches and wild ponies, but David Burden and Bo Lusk of Southeast Expeditions are two experts who don’t overlook the Chesapeake. From their base paddle sports shop at Sunset Beach in Cape Charles, the pair is
renowned for offering some of the most memorable sea kayak trips on the bay. A $35 fee pays for a trained guide, equipment and instruction on a two-hour sunset tour of the Chesapeake. Dozens of half-day and full-day trips also are available for $65 or $95 and include a snack or lunch, respectively. (New trips are always being added, so call ahead to see what is available.) Southeast even offers kayak-bound fishing and clamming excursions.
For $65, sea-green paddlers and rusty waterwomen alike can hone their skills in one of the many kayak instruction courses, from Sea Kayak 101 to the Women’s Kayak Clinic, a class “taught by women for women with a focus on the finer points of paddling from a woman’s perspective,” which Southeast’s Web site notes is the most popular sea kayak course it offers.
Paddle or Pedal
600 Quiet Waters Park Road
Annapolis, MD 21403
Looking to sink your oars, but can’t commit to an expedition? Paddle or Pedal specializes in short-term rentals and boasts a burgeoning fleet of canoes, pedal boats, rowboats and kayaks. A sea or touring kayak rental costs $20 for an hour or $55 for the whole day, while a recreational kayak costs slightly less. Save money when you bring a friend and double-up in a two-seater for $15 an hour or $50 a day — the same price as a canoe, pedal boat or rowboat. A $5 launch fee applies, but once in the water renters are free to appreciate the serene waters of the Chesapeake watershed at their own pace.
“Children under 17 need an adult’s signature, but there are no other restrictions on rentals and we’ll be happy to help you out if you’re a beginner,” said owner Kate Weeden, who suggested families make a day of it at Quiet Waters Park and bring their canines to the popular dog beach.
South River Boat Rentals
2802 Solomons Island Road
Edgewater, MD 21037
Chesapeake Yacht Charters
64 Old South River Road
Edgewater, MD 21037
These sister operations in Edgewater offer the best of both sail and powerboat rentals. South River Boat Rentals specializes in sailboats, and most vessels are available by the half-day, day, overnight and week. Prices vary greatly because of the options available, but the baseline cost for a half-day ranges from $160 for a zippy 24-foot Rainbow to $450 for a solid 37-foot Hunter that sleeps seven. Chesapeake Yacht Charters features a large fleet of powerboats spanning from a 36-foot Trawler Catamaran to a 50-foot Navigator 500, available daily for $1,200 and $2,300, respectively.
All boats come extensively equipped with essential navigational equipment and amenities, said South River owner Griffith Bell, who also noted that obtaining Maryland certification to operate the motorized boats is not a problem. (Anyone born on or after July 1, 1972, must have a boating safety education certificate to operate a motorized vessel.) “We are licensed to test and give temporary certificates right here,” Bell said. “But if you want a professional, we can help arrange that.” Captains are available to instruct and help you for $100 a half-day.
20846 Rock Hall Ave.
Rock Hall, MD 21661
Seasoned sailors can appreciate the nearly two-dozen sailboats available for bareboat charter (without captain or crew) from Haven Charters. From the stately luxury of “Our Dreams Awake,” a 45-foot Jeanneau equipped with a flat-screen television and a Bose surround sound system, to the more restrained “Our Solitude,” a 30-foot Lippincott, Haven’s boats are available for a variety of rental options, though the baseline lease is for a two-day weekend and ranges from $675 to $1,650.
BaySail on the Chesapeake
100 Bourbon St., Suite D
Havre de Grace, MD 21708
It is a simple equation: Sailing schools combine instruction along with rentals so that beginners are put at ease. BaySail on the Chesapeake is a top-tier sailing school — it was named “Outstanding School of 2006” by the American Sailing Association — and provides nearly a dozen courses certified by the ASA. Class size is kept to a four-person max, ensuring that students get the personal attention they will need to earn ASA certification and the confidence they need to sail on their own. The Basic Sailing Course (ASA 101) is a three-day seminar taught on 22-foot Capris by licensed instructors for $440 per person (book more than one spot for a discount), but the school also provides private lessons on its boats at $35 an hour that can be catered to your needs.
Once students have the proper assurance, they can take out one of the same Capris on which they were taught for a half-day price of $155, or try something new, such as a 30-foot Hunter or 22-foot pontoon boat, both $250. Potential pupils also can combine school and vacation in one package called the Seven Day Sailing Vacation, which includes ASA 101, ASA 103 (Basic Coastal Cruising) and two extra days on the Chesapeake for $4,100.