Before booking, please read some of the frequently asked questions below.
This will ensure you and your guests have the best experience.
Our dock is located in the same lot as Estate Club and we share their parking lot. However Estate controls the paring and valet. While they do allow our customers to park in the lot, there may be days when valet is required. We do not have information about what days valet is required. This is based on the events at Estate.
Valet is normally between $10-$15. There are days when parking is free however we do not know in advance.
There is also street parking in the area around Estate. If you opt for street parking, you should allow ample time to search for parking or to save time and money. Or to save time, consider reserve parking with Park Whiz.
Our dock is located at 1177 N Elston in Chicago. The dock is just a little south of Goose Island, on the southeast corner of Elston & Division. When you enter the address into a GPS, it will pull up as Estate Ultra Bar and Yacht Club. We are just east of the 90/94 expressway at the Division exit. When you arrive, you will see our trailer in the parking lot. Please come directly to the trailer to check in with a host.
We do not offer Captains however our partners at Sassy Social offers drivers. Drivers are $150.00 for two hours. You can book directly through them and I have included the info below,
Keep in mind, The driver counts as a person. This means if you have an 8 person boat, you can have 7 people plus the driver. Also, when you book, simply choose the same date that your cruise is scheduled for. Once Sassy receives your booking they call us with your name and match it to your booking.
The link to book a driver is below. If you have additional questions about drivers, you can contact Sassy Social at firstname.lastname@example.org
The pontoons do have Bluetooth capabilities, and can play music through the Bluetooth system. However, we do not guarantee the music will work with your phone. As with any type of electronics, malfunctions happen especially on rentals that are used over and over. Therefore, there are times when the radio or Bluetooth system does not work. We recommend bringing a speaker that works with your phone. In case the music system is not working.
Food and Drink
We definitely allow small coolers on the boats, but we just ask you to be mindful of the size of the cooler you bring. If you bring a large cooler with a boat at full capacity, it will count as a person.
The boats are also BYOB, so we do allow alcohol but we ask that the person driving the boat does not partake. We also ask that no glassware is to be brought on board, because we do not want anything to accidentally fall over, possibly shatter, and possibly hurt any of our guests. Plastic and aluminum are fine, but we just do not allow glass.
Keep it simple and bring less. We will be happy to have provide food for you as we do offer boxed lunches and catering which can be delivered right to the boat.
Illinois law requires that life vests be on all boats for all passengers. Children 13 and under must wear life vests at all times while on our boats. We do have life vests in all sizes for each boat and they are located under the sets. Your boat guide will show you during your training.
If you are bringing an infant, we recommend bringing your own or using your infant’s car seat. This will ensure the baby is comfortable. However, we do have infant life vests if needed. We simply want your baby to be comfortable. The car seat would be the best option however, the baby must remain in the car seat at all times.
Conservation Police officers patrol the river and will pull boats over if they see children without vests. if you get ticketed, there will a fine you will have to pay and they will end your cruise.
Your safety is our concern. Please prepare before your cruise.
Can we dock or pick up/drop off anyone during our rental period?
We do not allow our boats to dock or tie up for any reason anywhere along the Chicago River except for our docks. This is not only for your safety, but to minimize damage to our boats. The river is patrolled by our team members so please do not dock and risk additional fees.
Capacity and Weight
The eight (8) person boats can hold a maximum of 8 people, this includes infants. If you have 6 adults and 2 infants, you will be at capacity.
The same rules apply for our 12 person boats.
The weight limit is 1,200 lbs. for the 8 person pontoon, and 1,800 for the 12 person pontoon. These weight limits are non-negotiable. It is illegal to operate the boat above those limits and capacities.
Again, Infants and children will count towards the capacity regardless of size. If more people show up than the boat’s capacity, somebody would need to stay behind. Don’t risk ruining the event or your day friends or family.
Chicago Boat Rentals does not offer cancellations of boat rentals.
If Chicago Boat Rentals cancels your rental due to weather, you will be able to reschedule at no additional charge. If you are unable to reschedule, a Chicago Boat Rentals gift card will be issued. The gift card can be used anytime or may be gifted to another person. There are no refunds.
Boats will usually go out rain or shine because we have awnings. Only a manager of Chicago Boat Rentals can cancel boat rentals. Oftentimes weather will pass and it may only be a slight drizzle. No shows or canceling the day of a rental without a manager approval forfeits any money paid and forfeits any rescheduling options. In addition, no refunds, credits or rain checks will be issued.
Our boats operate rain or shine. Our boats do have partial awnings however, that may not keep you dry. Reservations are only canceled if the manager on duty deems the weather too dangerous (i.e., thunder, lightning, heavy winds, hail or heavy rain) to safely navigate the river. Although it may be storming in the suburbs that does not mean it is storming downtown and you are still required to show up for your reservation unless notified by a manager. Rentals that need to be canceled due to weather bu Chicago boat Rentals are entitled to a reschedule for another day.
Your reservation will not be canceled and refunded for weather unless you have been contacted by a manager. If you choose not to go out due to weather, there are no refunds. We will reschedule a rental as long as it is a minimum of 48 hours before and a $20.00 reschedule fee will be incurred. we are unable to refund and/or reschedule if your group does not show up. Remember our office is closed on the weekends, if you need to reschedule over the weekend. please call or text our dock phone. 224-760-8930
You can check for availability by simply clicking on the date you are interested in. The availability will be completley up to date on the website. The office is unable to check the availability for you, as they can fill up fast. You might see availability today and the next day it may be filled. For these reasons, we prefer our customers make the choice to book when they check availability. Please note, we are unable to check availabilities at the dock. It is extremely busy there and our hosts are checking in other guests. Please check availability online.
If you wish to change the date/time of your rental, please make sure you check the availability for your desired time. If the time slot is still open please email us. Once we reschedule your rental, you will receive a new email confirmation. If you do choose to reschedule, there will be a fee charged to your card on file. The rescheduling fee up to 48 hours before rental is $20. If you reschedule 24 hours before your rental, the fee is $50. If you choose to reschedule the day of your rental, your fee will be $100.
Can the boats go on Lake Michigan?
Our pontoons are only allowed on the Chicago River. The lake is very dangerous and can cause the boats to flip over. Those caught on the Lake Michigan will be fined by CBR and ticketed by the Coast Guard. Your safety is our biggest concern.
What time should we get there?
We ask that you please arrive at least 15 minutes early. This will allow our Boat Staff to teach you how to drive the boat safely and answer any questions you may have. If you are late to your rental, it will cut into your time on the water.
How fast do the boats go?
Our boats run on gas and they can run anywhere from 10-15 miles per hour. Our pontoons are much faster than the electrical boats and have a much smoother ride.
Our pricing is online. Simply click on the boat you are interested in and the date. Before you pay and confirm your booking, a Chicago amusement tax, a dock fee and fuel fee will be added as well.
We also offer insurance for $15 which can be purchased as well. The insurance is optional.
Children and Pets
Children are included in the passenger count, as the passenger count is meant to be total bodies on the boat. This also includes infants in travel seats.
Pets are not allowed on the boats except for service pets. We ask that you please supply the service pet’s papers at the time of your booking.
All children under the age of 13 must have a life vest on at all times in accordance with Illinois State Law. We have life jackets of all sizes, including infant sizes, though infant car seats can be used as a flotation device. All adult life jackets are stowed in an easily accessible storage compartment that your crew member will show you prior to departure.
We are not able to accept expired vouchers however, we will apply the value of the voucher to a new rental. You must send your expired voucher with the redemption code. Once we have that we can send you a gift card for the value.
A waiver must be filled out before you board. If you did not fill one out when you booked, a host will have you fill one out when you arrive.
We do not require a deposit as security. However, The waiver ensures that if there are any damages during your rental, the costs are agreed upon and covered.
Who operates the boat? Is there a license that I need to drive the pontoon?
The boats are operated by the guests themselves. They are very simple to operate, and only take a few minutes to learn and our dock crew are experts. We’ve never had a customer complain that the boats are too difficult to operate. . We do ask that the person who drives the boat, is at least 21 years old with a valid Photo ID. This could be a driver’s license, or a State Issued ID. There is no special boating license that you need to operate these specific pontoons.
If you prefer to hire a driver, our partners Sassy Social offers drivers. Drivers are $150.00 for two hours. Keep in mind, The driver counts as a person. This means if you have an 8 person boat, you can have 7 people plus the driver. Also, when you book, simply choose the same date that your cruise is scheduled for. Once Sassy receives your booking they call us with your name and match it to your booking.
The link to book a driver is below.
Fees and Insurance
Below are the fees for missing or damaged items- Insurance does cover some items. Insurance is $15 and must be paid before the cruise.
|$20||Throw able life preserver||Covered with insurance|
|$50||Fire extinguisher||Covered with insurance|
|$20 each||Bumper fenders||Covered with insurance|
|$10 each||Tie-up ropes||Covered with insurance|
|$40 each||Life jackets||Covered with insurance|
|$100||Body damage- minor||Covered with insurance|
|$250||Dock along river or Lake
|$1,000||Awning damage||Covered up to $500|
|Burn holes or tears||Not Covered|
|$20||Cleanup Fees||Not Covered|
|$199.00||Damage to blade||Covered with insurance|
|Up to $25,000||Damaged Vessel||Covered up to $15,000 but must pay a $500 deductible|
|$3500||Engine||Covered but must pay a $500 deductible|
|$75 Per half hour||Late Fees||Not covered|
REDELIVERY OF WATERCRAFT: The renter agrees to return said Watercraft, furnishings and equipment to the location from which taken at the end of the rental period. If not, Renter will pay a continuing rental charge of double the normal rental rate or any part of, plus all expenses incurred in locating and/or recovering said Watercraft or property.
Our boats are on a schedule in 2-hour blocks. if you would like to book 4 hours you would simply book your rentals back to back. For example, if there is a 2 pm rental the next rental would be at 4:15. you would book both time slots.