Mistakes to Avoid While Boat Renting in Dubai

Renting a boat in Dubai can be an exciting way to explore the emirate’s beautiful coastline and waters. However, there are some common mistakes tourists make when renting boats that can lead to disappointing or even dangerous situations. Avoid these boat rental mistakes to ensure your nautical adventure of boat renting in dubai goes smoothly.  

  1. Failing to Research Companies Thoroughly 

Failing to thoroughly research rental companies can have disastrous consequences. With so many operators in Dubai promising unbelievable deals and easy online booking, the temptation is to go with the first search result or flashy website without digging deeper. This lack of due diligence risks dealing with shady, unlicensed companies with terrible safety records renting dilapidated old boats. 

The dangers are very real – imagine being stranded miles from shore on a filthy, broken down tub with inexperienced crew and faulty life jackets. Multiple tourist deaths in Dubai waters illustrate these are not exaggerated risks. Spending time fully vetting rental outfits, checking recent reviews across platforms and asking detailed questions establishes legitimate, capable firms with well-maintained modern fleets and qualified captains.

  1. Booking an Unsuitable Boat

The type of boat you rent in Dubai can make or break your experience. Book a boat that’s too small or slow and you’ll be frustrated by limited space or a lack of performance. Conversely, huge expensive luxury boats are overkill for small groups who just want to cruise and swim. 

Think carefully about group size, activities wanted, budget and experience level when choosing a rental boat. Groups larger than 10 normally need yachts over 40 feet. Plan to go fishing or waterskiing? Choose a motorboat over a sailboat. Want a relaxed cruise? Go smaller and slower to save money.

Dubai’s boat rental companies offer everything from little speed boats to mega yachts. Take your time selecting the optimal boat for your needs.

  1. Not Checking Licensing and Qualifications

While most boat rental companies in Dubai are legitimate, some cut corners when it comes to legal licensing and crew qualifications. Always check a company is fully licensed. For rentals with crews, ask for certification details like RYA or SIMI qualifications. Don’t risk your life to save a few dollars.  

Furthermore, many Dubai marinas prohibit boat docking or launching without registered berthing contracts. Research your chosen marina’s policies or you might find local authorities refuse launching access on the planned rental date.

  1. Assuming Fuel/Running Costs

Tourists often wrongly assume quoted Dubai boat rental rates include things like fuel. As mentioned before, always confirm exactly what is included. With powerboats and yachts in particular, fuel costs accumulate extremely quickly. 

To avoid nasty payment surprises, ask rental companies for average per-hour or per-mile fuel burn rates of their vessels. Also clarify who pays for refueling – you or them? Armed with accurate fuel costs estimates, your group can set a defined hours/distance limit for the rental to match your budget.

  1. Not Considering cancelation and Damage Waivers

Best case scenario, you won’t need to cancel or damage your rental boat. Worst case scenario costs thousands! Many rental companies offer waivers to cap cancelation fees and damage liability. While adding 10-15% to the base costs, such waivers are worthwhile insurance for most renters.

Evaluate your booking to see if waivers make sense. Large groups booking luxury boats tend to benefit most from waivers due to substantial standard liability. Also useful for those whose travel plans might change before the cruise date.

  1. Failing to Define an Itinerary 

It’s easy to “wing it” on a Dubai boat rental, cruising randomly and simply stopping wherever looks nice. The problem? Without a clear itinerary or destination goals, you can waste tons of time and fuel just drifting about. Or even worse – get lost!

Before setting sail, study maps to identify key destinations and points of interest you want to visit. Cover things like snorkeling spots, attractions like Atlantis or speedboat racing routes. Share this itinerary with your captain/crew so they can efficiently navigate towards your goals for the day.

An itinerary helps you make the most of limited rental time while minimizing fuel costs. Added bonus – gives you exciting destinations to look forward to!

  1. Choosing the Wrong Location  

One of the best aspects of Dubai boat rentals is the variety of locations to launch from. But picking the wrong departure point can make for a tedious, costly ride just to reach your ideal waters. Those staying in Dubai Marina might think nearby departures save time and fuel but consider:

Dubai Marina itself offers limited sights and no snorkeling reefs. Plus constant waves and wake from jetski tours. Expect long rides South just to escape the crowds on a short-term rental.

Meanwhile booking Discovery Gardens rentals means long canal transits before even reaching open water. Carefully factor where you’re staying, target destinations and boat speeds when choosing departure locations for Dubai boat rentals. 

  1. Not Respecting Rules and Customs

Even out on the water, Dubai maintains fairly strict decorum standards covering things like alcohol consumption, clothing choices, unmarried couples sharing rooms and so on. Failing to respect local laws or customs at best leads to your cruise being cut short – at worse jail time or deportation if caught violating the UAE’s more serious codes.

Before renting a boat, research current decency standards in Dubai to avoid trouble. Most rental companies also include detailed conduct advice with their booking paperwork. Follow their guidance to the letter both aboard and when docking/visiting land attractions. Respect local expectations and your Dubai boat adventure will sail smooth from start to finish!


Avoiding common boat rental mistakes takes a bit more research and planning compared to spontaneous bookings. In return, you’ll enjoy maximum value, comfort and safety during your adventures on the water. Define group sizes and interests before comparing vessel options via legitimate, licensed companies. Pack carefully, confirm what’s included pricing wise and chart out an efficient itinerary of must-see destinations around Dubai. Respect all rules across the rental period. Do all that and your next Dubai boat rental promises epic sun-soaked memories instead of headaches!