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Renting a boat for the ocean or stay in the bay

Saint Louis...
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Renting a boat for the ocean or stay in the bay

We'd like to rent a boat in a couple days. Having seen the bay (darker murky water) and the channel to the ocean (clearer blue water) we are trying to determine if worth paying extra for a boat that we can take out into the ocean as opposed to the bay-only pontoons. Have read numerous reviews and posts but haven't located anything spelling out the difference between the boat in the bay only and the ocean. Would like to swim some from the boat, and don't need to go out far into the ocean by any means. Just would prefer nicer water/beaches to access from the boat. Do people swim and access beaches in the bay? Any advice?

Tampa, Florida
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1. Re: Renting a boat for the ocean or stay in the bay

With the Gulf water so close, you wouldn't find people swimming in the bay. If you want the boat simply for access to bathe in the Gulf water save your money and go into the water from the beach.

Saint Louis...
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2. Re: Renting a boat for the ocean or stay in the bay

Is there much to do just pontooning around the bay? We have plenty of lakes in Missouri that seem to be a very similar type of experience unless I'm missing something? Just trying to determine if it is worth the 1/2 day and money. Thanks

Tampa, Florida
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3. Re: Renting a boat for the ocean or stay in the bay

If other inland waterways (as the bay waters are called) are anything to go by one aspect of using a boat in it will be to see the upscale homes that line the bay.

Cincinnati, Ohio
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4. Re: Renting a boat for the ocean or stay in the bay

Most people don't swim in the bay... great fishing and wildlife watching.

For swimming the beaches from Captiva to Bonita Springs are great.

If you are a boater and like to cruise at speed then you have to go offshore.

Ft.Myers Beach,FL
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5. Re: Renting a boat for the ocean or stay in the bay

There is plenty to do in the Back Bay, swimming included. Stay in the channel as the water gets shallow fast. There are Manatee zones where you have to go slow, enjoy the ride. Check out Mound Key State Park, only accessible by boat. Go to Flippers at Lovers Key for lunch, and you can go under that Bridge to a beautiful beach and still not be out in the Gulf/Ocean. Our waterfront eateries-Parrot Key, Doc Fords, Matanzas, Nervous Nellies. It's cool to see the Shrimp Boats, Pirate Ship and all the Boats in the Mooring Field. I would not pay extra.

Saint Louis...
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6. Re: Renting a boat for the ocean or stay in the bay

Thanks for the feedback. We went ahead and booked a pontoon for the morning (with option to extend into the afternoon). We will be departing from Snook Bight. Given our time frame of about 4 hours and wanting to see manatee, possibly dock by lovers key to swim, and fish a little....would we be best suited to head south to Lover's Key? Or is heading north better for this trip? Our pontoon allows for us to go into the gulf (waves depending).

Ft.Myers Beach,FL
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7. Re: Renting a boat for the ocean or stay in the bay

South. Watch for Manatee zones otherwise its full speed ahead. You should get a chart with rental and watch the sky for weather,

Chicago. Illinois
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8. Re: Renting a boat for the ocean or stay in the bay

we like going to the south as well .grab a couple sub sandwiches from publix next to marina and head towards dog beach .you can beach it for a bit (be aware of tide). good place to wade as there is sandbar on south end off lovers key. also fish near the channel there (tide ?) . as far as heading out to gulf ...you could stay on south end head in /out at big carlos pass or new pass depending on wind or wave direction .it would take you at least an hour plus to circumnavigate FMB if you wanted to see view from the water past lani kai and pier . note that the boat probably has to be back by 430 pm . sometimes i rent boat for two days so that i can stay out closer to sunset . i rent from fish tale marina . great operation .there boats have no lights though .enjoy the water and keep eye out for summer storms popping up . please report back to forum

9. Re: Renting a boat for the ocean or stay in the bay

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