Let me start by saying this boat rental started out like a nightmare.
After calling the friendly staff at Captain Hook's my wife and I booked a 19' Cobia for a day.
We arrived at the marina were expertly instructed on places to go by their friendly staff.
We pulled out of the dock and headed out to do some snorkeling. Right past marker 1 we proceeded to plane out the boat and after a second it conked out. I tried a few more times to come up on plane to no avail. Luckily the engine remained running and we were able to limp back to shore at idle speed. I told the staff and one of the mechanics/managers about the symptoms and he changed out the fuel filter and said, “Boats been serviced just a few days ago. With the filter change you’re all set, head out." I insisted he come along to see what I described to him as either water in the gas or some fuel delivery problem for a quick test ride.
After some grumbling he agreed and we took a quick ride. Well.... the boat's engine after a minute this time died and wouldn't start back up. We lost power and drifted with a pretty swift current into a bridge. The mechanic braced for a 4 MPH impact and I assisted what little I could.
Luckily this happened about 50 yards from their dock space and a Coast guard boat was right there watching the whole thing. They asked if they could throw lines out but the mechanic didn't want their help, threw in an anchor and called a staff member in a 23' Cobia to tow us back to the marina.
The nice thing is they upgraded us to the 23 footer at no extra charge and said we could come back 1 hour later at 5PM not 4PM their return time for all full day rentals.
The boat had a 200 HP Yamaha outboard but the GPS was old school and essentially unusable. The main thing is the engine was reliable and there were no surprises.
I had to navigate by chart and compass heading as I was unfamiliar with the waters in the keys.
We set off our adventure to Coffins patch as we were told it was 2 1/2 miles from marker 1 at 180 degrees in Marathon.
Never saw it.
Rather than wasting any more time we did the touristy thing and went to Sombrero reef where we had an excellent time, relaxing, eating and doing some great snorkeling in some pristine waters.
Visibility was excellent, tons of fish, albeit the spot was a little crowded.
In the end it turned out awesome and the highlight of our stay in the keys.
When we got back to the marina we used about 24 gallons of gas.
So for about 300 bucks that included snorkeling gear and boat, I don't think you could get better than that.
We would give Captains hooks 5 stars if it wasn't for the potential show stopper in the beginning.
We would recommend this place.
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