Drive yourself on Sydney Harbour

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Self Drive Boat Hire allows users to enjoy the sights of Sydney Harbour from a boat.
Self Drive Boat Hire allows users to enjoy the sights of Sydney Harbour from a boat.

Self Drive Boat Hire allows public to get out on the water without a licence.

A Sydney-based boat charter company is giving people the opportunity to spend some time out on Sydney Harbour in a power boat, even if they don’t have a boat licence.

Based at Rushcutters Bay, Self Drive Boat Hire, part of the EastSail group, runs a fleet of five boats including a Smartliner 17, two Arvor motor yachts and a Dufour 335 yacht, all of which are available for hire with a captain if required.

For hirers without a boat licence, the boats are restricted to 10 knots and an area to the limits of Watsons Bay. If they have a licence, they can travel at 15 knots and go out to Manly and Middle Harbour on the bigger boat.

All boat hirers undergo a detailed safety and operation briefing to ensure they’re comfortable with the boat and the rules of Sydney Harbour, and are given advice on safe anchorages, places of interest, and fishing spots.

Hires are around $300 for a half day on the water, with the option of hiring fishing rods, ice, bait, and catering if required or BYO, as well as complimentary NSW fishing licence.

The company says the service has struck a chord with a diverse demographic.

“People from all over Sydney are keen to get on the water and give boating a go,” said Joe Goddard, business manager.

“Our 20-footers take groups of up to eight people. They are all sturdy and stable, built for the North Sea, easy to operate, have great sunshade and plenty of room for a nice lunch or sunbathing onboard. The Arvors are diesel powered and the Smartliner is a half-cabin with 25hp Yamaha outboard.

“Boat clubs or syndication may be out of reach for some and hiring a boat can be quite intimidating. Self Drive Boat Hire is appealing to uni students, foreign visitors, country people spending a week in Sydney, locals who have friends or family visiting and want to show them the delights of Sydney Harbour.

“They are all keen to see icons like the Opera House and Harbour Bridge from the vantage point of the water and explore the bays and inlets, with none of the hassles or complications of larger boats. The only requirement is a driver’s licence.”

Feedback from hirers has been positive. One young family commented: “The overall experience was fantastic! Our two-year-old daughter loved it! We have never taken out a boat before and we were surprised how easy it was to drive.”

Another who hired the Smartliner 17 for four hours said: “It was a splendid four hours, touring the Harbour, parking for lunch on our boat, the service was professional with backup fuel, and our bond was back in our account in two days.”

“It has really taken off,” added Goddard. “We are welcoming back return customers and their referrals. People have their different reasons for hiring, but they all have one thing in common: they love the convenience, ease of access and the freedom of stepping off land and living the dream for a day!”

More information at www.selfdriveboathire.com.au

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