Welcome To Chicago Boat Rentals
Chicago’s top-rated gas powered boat rentals.
You are the driver, which allows you and your group the privacy you deserve.
BYOB and snack or we can have your food and drink waiting.
No Captain Needed
Easy to drive and private to your group
Bring The Family
Our river cruises offer family fun for kids and adults.
Birthday, Bachelor, Bachelorette, Reunions or Corporate Events
View Chicago From the Water
You Are The Driver
Our Pontoons are easy to drive and only a valid drivers license is required.
Cruise The Scenic Chicago River
Please read through the questions below. Most questions can be answered here.
Our phone lines are busy due to COVID, we recommend, emailing or texting your questions for a faster response.
Phone numbers and email information are listed below
We are located at 1177 N Elston ave in Chicago. The parking lot is the property of the restaurant, Azul. The restaurant offers valet parking which ranges anywhere from $10-$20 based on the day and/or events. Street parking is limited.
We do not own the club/restaurant and we do not know parking rates. Information about the club/restaurant can be found here
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. which is now Azul. 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 drivers for our pontoons. Someone in your group is the driver. You do not need to be a certified captain or need a special license to drive the pontoons, but you must be 21 and have a valid driver’s license. Our pontoons are easy to drive and our boat staff will train your group’s driver when you arrive.
For our yacht rental, you will book the crew separately. A list of the qualified, recommended crew will be emailed to you once you book. Payments for the crew are made directly to the crew and is not made to Chicago Boat Rentals.
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.
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.
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
Covid-19 Restrictions As of July 6th, 2020
Durig COVID, Chicago, has restricted our boats to six (6) people.
Infants and children will count towards the capacity regardless of size. If more people show up than the above capacity, we cannot let the group board.
Please do not risk losing your rental.
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’s 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 the 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
Availability Of Boats
You can check for availability by simply clicking on the date you are interested in. The availability will be completely 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 to 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 at firstname.lastname@example.org
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 is as follows
48 hours or more before the rental date-$20
24 hours before the rentals date/time – $50
Day of reschedule-$100
No Call/No Show- Forfeits all money paid and no credits or reschedules are allowed
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.
We only allow task-trained service animals
Task-trained service animals are animals that receive specific training to perform life functions for individuals with disabilities. We do not allow emotional support animals.
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.
During COVID restrictions please bring your child life vest if you are uncomfortable using our used vests.
We do not work with any daily deal sites such as Groupon/Living Social.
We will not be offering any discounts in 2020 due to the loss of revenue during COVID restrictions.
A waiver must be filled out before you board. If you did not fill one out when you booked, you cannot board.
The person who rented the boat MUST sign the waiver.
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.
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 4:30. you would book both time slots.
Arriving and Checking In
Upon arrival, the person who rented the boat must check-in with a photo ID and the credit card that was used to purchase the rental.
The waiver needs to be filled out before arriving by the person who rented the boat. The photo ID will be matched to the waiver and credit card.
Contact Numbers - Emails
Office – 224-422-8136
Due to the high number of during COVID restrictions, please text or email for a faster response. Text messages are answered daily.
Emails are answered Monday- Friday. Please email email@example.com
Dock- 224-760-8930– this phone goes directly to dock workers who are at the boats. Text or call this number if you are running late on the day of your rental. The dock is busy with Guests who are boarding boats and can not answer general questions. This number is only available Wednesdays-Sundays while boats are operating.