5 Things to Know About Boating in Sanibel Before You Begin

Whether you’re into yoga, pickleball, or kayaking, boating is usually a Sanibel favorite.

Boating is a blast! So what is it about boating that is so universally loved and what can you expect when you’re out on the ocean? We cover the top 5 things to know about boating before you grab your sea legs and venture out from your Sanibel home.

Sanibel Island boat tour

There are Many Different Boating Experiences

So while every boat has its own unique traits and characteristics, every trip is a little different. You don’t always know what to expect, but you can plan on a specific type of boating adventure.

There are speedboats designed to reach maximum speeds over the water. There are special yachts designed to offer a smooth luxury experience. There are fishing boat stocks with rod holders, lots of storage space, and other things needed to make the fishing experience more convenient and better. Flat bottom boats may be great for diving off of or cruising quietly for dolphin and manatee.

All in all, there are many different types of boats designed for different goals and uses. While most boats can make the “switch” from one type of experience to another, generally they are designed for a certain kind of adventure.

Charters are Your Best Friend

If you spend any time in the area, you are bound to come across a charter or two. If you lack any direct boating experience, a boat charter is your absolute best option. The great thing about boat charters is they handle everything. This often includes dinner, fishing supplies and gear, and, most important of all, raw experience.

Almost across the board, boat charters are captained by, well, captains, and they know exactly where to go and when to give you a grand experience. They can help you manage interesting catches, tell you what you got on the line, and help make the experience accessible. Boat charters are fantastic for crews who want an organized and controlled day on the water.

Boat charters also offer other overlooked perks. For example, charters know how to navigate the waters (avoiding any costly fines from breaking the marine law). They also include fishing licenses for you and your team because they are an approved captain. This helps you avoid the annoyance of needing a fishing license (though this can vary- it is always wise to confirm with your charter).

Inshore and Offshore

Generally, you are going to go on an offshore trip or an inshore trip. The difference is everything. Inshore trips are usually within a mile of the shore. It is common for you to see the coast as you fish or simply travel. This is wonderful for family-friendly half-day excursions. Comparatively, offshore incorporates anything a few miles out- and beyond.

The fishing is usually more challenging. You can catch what is called “game fish,” and boast a possibly rare (and beautiful) catch on your rod!

Boats Rock

If you get seasick, you should make special preparations. Boats will rock and sometimes, this can’t be fully controlled. It depends on the size of the boat as well as other variables, such as anchoring and boat control.

Certain large-size yachts and other boat types are designed to “eat” the waves.” But generally, if you are going out for some fishing, you have to account for the waves. Thankfully, the Gulf of Mexico is far more favorable to the questionable boater compared to the ocean side of things.

Dolphin jumping out of the water in Sanibel Island

To Fish or Not to Fish

You don’t have to fish- ever! Boating and fishing are often independent and you don’t need one with the other. On Sanibel, a popular activity is fishing off a pier or dock. Comparatively, some local charter providers take you out at night to spot dolphins or admire the sunset. It is all part of the experience. These family-oriented trips can take an hour or two. Some fishing trips often require a full day (which is around 12 hours for offshore).

Come on out and have an amazing time on the water. Enjoy the breathtaking sunset, spot a dolphin or five, and see all that Sanibel has to offer.