Florida Boating Requirements

Whether you’re a seasoned captain or a novice navigating the Florida waters, you’ll need to navigate through the requirements and laws that ensure safety and compliance when boating in Florida. Let’s dive into the essentials and requirements to operate a boat in freshwater streams or just off the coast. So, grab your captain’s hat and let’s head into the insight of Florida’s boating laws!

An individual stands navigating the wheel of a boat.
Set sail behind the wheel! Your boating adventure awaits!

Requirements to Operate a Boat in Florida

Before you can embark on your boating journey in Florida, you need to meet certain requirements. First and foremost, anyone born on or after January 1, 1988, is required to complete a boating safety education course, approved by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). This applies to operators of vessels with 10 horsepower or more. The course covers topics ranging from navigation rules to emergency procedures, ensuring every captain is knowledgeable in the essentials of safe boating.

Safety Equipment for Personal Watercraft

Safety first – a mantra that resonates when it comes to personal watercraft (PWC) in Florida. For PWC operators, the law mandates the use of a U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device (PFD) and a lanyard-type engine cutoff switch. These precautions enhance safety and minimize the risks associated with PWC operation. When renting a boat from Castaways on the River, we ensure your safety gear is in place!

Multiple pontoon boats lined up waiting to be taken out on the river on a sunny boating day.
The pontoons are lined up ready to be taken out for the day!

What are the age requirements to drive a boat in Florida?

The allure of captaining a boat often begins at a young age. In Florida, aspiring young individuals can take the helm as early as 14 years old, but certain conditions apply. To operate a boat powered by a motor of 10 horsepower or more, a 14 or 15 year-old must complete a boating safety education course approved by the FWC. Additionally, they must be accompanied by an adult who is at least 18 years old and possesses the required boating education. Note that individuals must be 18 years of age or older to rent a boat at Castaways on the River. 

Boating Options at Castaways on the River

When embarking on a boating adventure with Castaways on the River, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the boat rental policies. We offer both full and half-day rentals. Keep in mind boat rentals are confined to an 11-mile boundary North and South of Castaways on the River, as indicated on the authorized areas map. If your furry friend is joining the voyage, four boats are designated as dog-friendly, allowing one dog per boat! For a full list of our boat rental information please visit our boat rental page or contact us by calling 352.759.3422!

A dog is shown on the edge of a boat with their tongue sticking out.
Our furry friends love navigating a day out on the river!

From mandatory safety education courses to legal amendments, understanding state requirements ensures your boating experiences are enjoyable but also responsible. Ready to take on the river? Be sure to view our boat rental options at Castaways on the River. Tag us on X, Facebook and Instagram with #CastawaysontheRiver to share your day boating on the St. Johns River!

Exploring the Wonders of the St. Johns River

The St. Johns River is a charming waterway for anyone who loves adventures and nature. And guess what? At Castaways on the River, we have bottled up all the fun the river has to offer. It’s the perfect spot for anyone seeking to dive headfirst into the great outdoors and soak up all that natural beauty!

How Far Can You Navigate the St. Johns River?

The St. Johns River is an ideal spot for all adventures! As you gear up for your river excursion, here’s a handy tip to keep in mind: our boat rentals come with a gentle reminder. There’s an 11-mile boundary both north and south of Castaways on the River. For a visual guide on where your nautical adventures can take you, check out our map of authorized areas. At Castaways on the River, we’ve got fantastic pontoon rentals available, perfect for enhancing your time on the water.

Pontoon boats displayed lined up at Castaways on the River.
Ready to set sail along the St. Johns River!

What is the Depth of the St. Johns River?

Spanning over 300 miles, the depth of the river can vary quite a bit. In some spots, you’ll find it’s pretty shallow, maybe just a few feet deep, especially closer to the banks. But as you move toward the middle, it can surprise you, reaching up to 20-30 feet in some places! It really depends on where you are along the river. So, if you’re planning a dip or wondering about boat clearance, it’s a good idea to check out specific spots or areas along the river where you’re headed.

Is the St. Johns River Freshwater or Saltwater?

When it comes to exploring the waterways around Castaways on the River, one common question that arises is the distinction between fresh and saltwater. The St. Johns River presents a fascinating mix known as brackish water, created when run-off creeks and springs add salt from underground deposits to the river’s freshwater. It also occurs where the river meets the Atlantic Ocean, creating a unique blend. Brackish water is neither fully salty nor entirely fresh; it’s a captivating blend of both. This mix allows for a diverse array of aquatic life to thrive in its midst.

For angling enthusiasts, the brackish water is a treasure trove. With its teeming fish population, including largemouth bass, catfish and crappie, fishing here is an angler’s dream. Castaways on the River not only offers an escape to the river, but also provides insights into the best spots for casting your line. Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned angler, the prospect of landing a prized catch in these waters is an exciting lure that can be explored further in “St. Johns River Bass Fishing: What You Need to Know

A largemouth bass is spotted jumping out of the St. Johns River.
The perfect catch!

Get Ready to Explore! 

With its picturesque landscapes and diverse offerings, the St. Johns River is a mesmerizing waterway awaiting your exploration. Are you licensed to fish in Florida? If not, purchase a license today. Whether fishing, swimming or simply soaking in the beauty, you are secured an escape that rejuvenates the soul.

Pack your sense of adventure and prepare for an experience! Castaways on the River awaits, promising a getaway like no other. Visit our cottage and boat rental options to experience it for yourself! 

6 Tips to Stay Safe Around Wild Alligators

There isn’t a more beautiful place to enjoy the natural beauty and wildlife of north central Florida than on the St. Johns River. When you’re boating, fishing or hiking trails near the river, you’re likely to run into longtime residents of the river – alligators. If you do, we offer these tips to stay safe around alligators while you’re enjoying the St. Johns River.

Don’t Feed the Alligators

This is the most important alligator rule. Alligators are naturally afraid of humans. Feeding them with food other than their natural prey only makes them bolder and makes them want to seek out people to find more food. So keep the people food to yourself. You also don’t want to feed ducks, turtles or other natural wildlife along the St. Johns River.

Be Cautious During Mating Season

Alligators can be a bit testy and do peculiar things during mating season, which happens in the spring and the summer months. Alligators only leave their marked territories this time of year to look for females, so you may see larger alligators more frequently and in places you don’t normally see them. Just wave to them, give them their space and leave them alone.

Never disturb alligator nests or baby alligators because their mom is always nearby ready to protect her babies.

Keep Your Dogs on a Leash

Everyone likes to take their dogs boating and fishing on the St. Johns River. Just be sure to keep them on a leash when you disembark the boat for a restroom break. You don’t want them running off alone, especially during alligator mating season.

Keep your Distance

Alligators may look lazy and slow, but when they want to move, they can move fast! You should stay at least 60 feet away from alligators at all times. If an alligator hisses or lunges at you, you’re way too close. Also, never disturb alligator nests or baby alligators because their mom is always nearby ready to protect her babies.

alligator on the river
Don’t swim in areas where you can’t see your arms or legs to avoid alligators.

Water Safety

The cool refreshing water of the St. Johns River is enticing when you’re on the boat and want to take a swim. But if you can’t see your arms, legs and feet when you’re in the water, you shouldn’t swim in the water. Stick to swimming in the cool, refreshing springs like Silver Glen Springs and other springs you can access from the St. Johns River. The water is shallower, crystal clear and alligators aren’t likely to be there.

Fishing Around Alligators

Be cautious when casting a line near alligators. Some alligators will try and grab a hooked fish. Also stay away from fishing in heavy vegetation and near the water’s edge where alligators like to hang out. You don’t want to catch an alligator on your line.

Plan Your Trip

It’s time to plan a trip to the river. Rent a hotel room or book a cottage at Castaways on the River to make your trip perfect. Once you step outside your room, there’s a variety of rental boats sitting in the marina waiting for you to cruise the river or go fishing. Call Castaways on the River at (352) 759-3422 to plan your fishing trip on the river.

6 Must Make Pumpkin Fish Recipes for Fall

Pumpkin is the rage right now. Pumpkin everything is on grocery store shelves, in coffee and even corn chips! Why not combine your love of fishing with all things pumpkin? Pumpkin is a delicious squash that adds a lot of nutrition to your plate. If you’re ready, we have the six must make pumpkin fish recipes to turn your catches into fall season entrée masterpieces.

pumpkin fish recipes
We have the six must make pumpkin fish recipes to turn your catches into fall season entrée masterpieces.

Baked Fish With Pumpkin Curry Sauce

This is the time of year to reel in some large mouth bass in the St. Johns River. We have the fall bass fishing tips guide you need to prove it. Once you bring home that bass, ignite your taste buds with this baked fish with pumpkin curry sauce recipe courtesy of Budget Girl.

This recipe can also include a ½ teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice if you want to kick the pumpkin in your recipe up a notch. The main course pairs nicely with some brussel sprouts as a vegetable and some pumpkin pie for dessert.

Pumpkin Risotto with Salmon

Add a pumpkin risotto recipe with any great fish dish to make a more fall festive dinner. Yummly’s Pumpkin Risotto with Fish and Cherry Tomato recipe creates a hearty meal with a Parmesan cheese mix twist. Serve immediately with fish, cherry tomatoes and a lemon wedge.

pumpkin fish recipes Pitnerest pin
Book a stay at Castaways on the River to catch some fillets for pumpkin fish recipes.

Thai Yellow Pumpkin and Seafood Curry

Looking for a pumpkin seafood recipe with some Southern charm? The Food Network’s Thai Yellow Pumpkin and Seafood Curry recipe satisfies your cravings. The recipe calls for shrimp and salmon fillets. This dish pairs nicely with a nice fresh loaf of French bread to sop up the flavorful curry at the bottom of your bowl.

Apple-Stuffed Baked Fish

Add some fall apples to your fish recipe! The Cooper Cookin’ Apple-Stuffed Baked Fish Recipe, courtesy of The Old Farmer’s Everyday Cookbook Almanac, creates an apple-based stuffing that pairs well with a number of fish fillets.

Pumpkin Seed Fish Sticks

How about a fall take on the tried and true fish sticks? Yummly’s Pumpkin Seed Fish Sticks recipe allows you to toss in some pumpkin seeds along with your breading mixture to create a nice crunchy, fall fish stick.

pumpkin fish recipes soup
Fish fillets and seafood pair nicely in pumpkin-based stew and soups.

Pumpkin and Fish Stew

Seeking to enjoy some of your fresh fish on a cool day? Keep warm and enjoy fall with A Day in the Life on the Farm’s Pumpkin and Fish Stew Recipe. Fish fillets pair nicely in the pumpkin-based stew with tomatoes and chicken stock.

Book Your Fall Fishing Visit

Your fall fish recipes are in place and will excite and wow your friends and family. Now you need to book a stay at Castaways on the River to do some fishing and catch some fillets for those pumpkin fish recipes. The marina can handle all of your boat rental needs. We offer cozy cottages and motel rooms so you can enjoy fall on the St. Johns River while you go fishing. Call Castaways on the River today at (352) 759-3442 to book your boat rental and fishing adventure today.

St. Johns River Fun Facts

It’s BIG

The St. Johns River is the longest river in Florida at a whopping 310 miles long.  It flows through 12 counties, moving from northeast Florida to the Atlantic Ocean.  At its largest point, the St. John’s River is almost 3 miles wide.


It is also separated into three river basins and two watersheds.  The Upper Basin of the St. Johns engulfs approximately 2,000 square miles, and the largest basin is the Lower Basin covering 2,600 square miles. Thanks to its massive size, the river transports about 16,000,000 tons of freight through the ports in Jacksonville, Fla. per year.

It Flows North

The vast majority of rivers in the world flow from north to south.  This is usually due to the river’s source, mostly mountains, is to the north of the mouth causing the water to flow downward.  However, it is said that fewer than 30 rivers in the United States are the exception to the rule and flow northward, including the St. John’s River.


The reasoning behind the unusual flow is the slight slope in the river itself.  Beginning in the Saint John’s Marsh, the rivers course slowly lowers about 30 feet to the mouth meeting the Atlantic Ocean.  This extremely gentle slope causes a very lazy river; it’s actually one of the slowest in the world.

It’s VERY Connected

About 3.5 million people live within the various watersheds that feed into the St. Johns River.  It’s the main water body in the St. Johns River Water Management District that covers about 21 percent of Florida or about 7.8 million acres.


It has a Salty Side

The St. Johns River begins as a network of marshes, consolidating into a blackwater stream.  This means that due to its groundwater and marsh beginnings, the River is predominately fresh water.



It’s not until the River hits the Jacksonville area that the water becomes brackish.  This is due to the sides pushing seawater into the mouth of the St. Johns River, creating a estuarine ecosystem in the area.  This means animals usually seen out to sea such as dolphins and sharks are sometimes found thriving here.

It has…monkeys?

Where the St. Johns River meets the Wekiva River, troops of Rhesus Monkeys can be found monkeying around.  Known for their adept swimming abilities, the origins of the Rhesus Monkeys transports remain unknown. However, several theories exist. Many believe they were brought in during the 1930’s filming of Tarzan. Whatever the case, they have adapted well to their new Florida home off the St.Johns River.


It’s Fun

There is never a shortage of fun in the sun on the St. Johns River, known as the most significant recreational river in Florida, and for good reason.


Known as the Bass Fishing Capital of the World, the St. Johns River is rich in fisheries including ample crappie, bluegills, catfish and other varieties freshwater fish. During the spring and summer months, visitors can enjoy clear waters for swimming, boating, and scuba diving along the river’s connected watersheds.WWW.CASTAWAYSONTHERIVER.COM (7)

Ashore, the St. Johns River Water Management District maintains approximately 700,000 acres of land for hiking, camping, hunting, biking and equestrian riding.

Blue Springs State Park

The St. Johns River is also linked to 14 lakes and numerous Florida Springs including Blue Spring State Park, a protected Manatee Refuge. During the winter season, hundreds of manatees inhabit the surface of the spring for onlookers to enjoy.



Boat Rentals on the St. Johns River

At Castaways on the River, we offer boat rentals at our Lake County location in Astor, FL. Looking to stay awhile? Rent a cool cottage or a motel room today at Castaways on the River, which is right on the St. Johns River.

Share your Favorite Spot

Do you have any favorite spots along the river? Leave a comment, below.  You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Don’t forget to tag us! We’d love to hear from you.

Castaways Rent a Boat pin

Snorkeling In the Springs

The network of freshwater springs along the St. Johns River in the Ocala National Forest provides visitors with spectacular opportunities to explore this unique environment and the life that thrives there. Snorkeling in the springs is a popular way to get an up close view of this underwater paradise.

Visitors are drawn to snorkeling in the springs along the St. Johns River since the crystal clear water maintains a constant average temperature of 72 degrees year round. And be sure to do your homework ahead of time to learn whether snorkeling is permitted in a particular spring.


Snorkeling vs. Scuba Diving

While snorkeling is permitted in a majority of the freshwater springs in the Ocala National Forest, those same springs largely prohibit scuba diving. So what’s the difference in the two activities?

Snorkeling – uses a snorkel tube that extends above the surface of the water for breathing while the face is submerged.

Scuba diving – the diver is equipped with an independent source to breathe while totally submerged underwater.

In addition to a snorkel tube, those wanting to take part in the activity should also be outfitted with:

Mask – properly fitted so you can see clearly while underwater.

Fins – a set of fins to move around better in the water like the fish.

Optional equipment may include a wet suit, snorkeling vest and additional gear designed to block the sun.

Springs for Snorkeling

Snorkelers flock to the popular Silver Glen Springs off the northern shore of Lake George in the Ocala National Forest. The spring is located north of Astor, Florida and is known for the sightings of manatees warming up in the winter. Silver Glen Springs produces an average 65 million gallons of water each day from two vents. The spring is home to a wide variety of fish.

Did You Know: Silver Glen Springs is an important archeological site and considered sacred space for Native Americans?

The depth of Silver Glen Springs is shallow in comparison to other springs in the region so children can explore it too. A number of other great springs for snorkeling in the area include Juniper Springs and DeLeon Springs.

While snorkeling consider taking photos of what all you see underwater to capture the moment. A good waterproof camera can come in handy.


Getting To the Springs

Most of the freshwater springs along the St. Johns River in the Ocala National Forest are best reached by boat. In case you are wondering when you’ve arrived at the actual spring, most are marked with signage as you enter the spring run. However a sure sign that you are close to a spring is that the water will appear crystal clear and seem to bubble to the surface. In fact that’s exactly what it’s doing as it flows from the spring head.

Snorkeling From The Boat

Coming to visit us in Astor soon and you want to plan a couple of fun days in the area? Make sure to reserve a boat to enjoy the St. Johns River and get ready for snorkeling in the springs. Castaways On The River in Astor, located on the edge of the Ocala National Forest, also offers accommodations either quaint cottages or spacious motel rooms. Contact Castaways On The River at (352) 759-3442 or to reserve a rental boat, a cottage or hotel room or need assistance with other plans.


Plan A Perfect Summer Barbecue

Enjoying lazy days in the sun and on the water is a great time to plan a perfect summer barbecue party. Family and friends will want to be included in all the fun, and of course the main attraction will be the food.

As for what is on the menu, it will depend on a variety of factors like who is doing the cooking, how many people are attending, and what time the food will be served? Will it be an all-day affair or have a designated timeline? Will food be served in shifts? Served at a specific time? These are questions you’ll need to answer up front so your guests know what to expect.

It’s best to have an idea early on of how large the gathering will be to determine how much food will be needed. This will help with the overall food shopping and delegating who can supply what item.

Before we get too far along, let’s clear up a question that may be a matter of preference. Is it a barbecue or cookout? Technically the two can be considered the same in terms of events. There is no right or wrong menu item when it comes to chowing down. A barbecue just means cooking outside on the grill.


How to Plan A Perfect Summer Barbecue Party

So now that we’ve settled that, let’s move on to figuring out the menu. The typical summer barbecue party menu includes burgers and hotdogs. Some gatherings may include more elaborate fare to enjoy such as the days’ fresh catch from the St. Johns River.

The seasonal fishing calendar forecasts it’s a good time to catch Bass, Bluegill, Redear, Specks, Stripers and Catfish. So anglers let’s see what you add to the barbecue. When you return to the boat dock here at Castaways, use the convenient fish cleaning station to get everything ready for the grill just a few steps away.

And don’t forget about all the great side dishes to go along with the main entrees from salads, beans, and other tasty treats and appetizers. Invite everyone to provide their favorite dish to help feed the masses. Get ready for recipe sharing or be prepared to protect the secret ingredient.

And since we are talking about summer time, get the ice cream churn out and put the popsicles on ice so everyone young and old can enjoy a variety of cool goodies.

A good grill master must be included to plan a perfect summer barbecue .

Barbecue Grill Duty

Before everyone digs in to enjoy the spread of food, make sure to thank the person who handled the grill duties. This is often a hard, hot and thankless job. Remember without someone on the grill, it’s just eating out. Tips to show your thanks is to make sure the grill master has a cold, refreshing beverage close by to enjoy. It’s likely to already be hot, then add to that the heat and smoke from the grill. Keep the cook cool and comfortable.

It’s also a good idea to designate helpers for the grill master so they can play close attention to the food and not have to worry about carrying it to the serving area. They may need other tools and supplies so extra pairs of hands are often appreciated.

Plan Ahead

Consider creating a list of all the items needed to pull off the perfect summer barbecue party. It’s always the little things like forgetting a special condiment that can derail a good plan. If you are heading to a remote area, it may be difficult to run to the nearest supermarket or big box retailer to pick up a few items. So pack what you’ll need ahead of time to ensure everything arrives at the barbecue.

Also who is bringing the plates, cutlery, napkins, drinks, ice etc.? Yes those are all the things that round out your barbecue that need to go on the plan ahead list.

It may also be wise to have a backup plan in case of rain on the day of the barbecue. A quick rain shower or rolling thunderstorms is a daily occurrence in Florida during the summer months. Check the local weather report to see when rain is forecast. The information can help if you need to change the start or end time of the barbecue. You’ll also want to keep a close eye on the clouds if those attending the barbecue go out on a boat.

Barbecue Party Accessories

Bring a few board games for all to enjoy or a deck of cards to see who has the best hand. This is where the fun begins with plenty of laughter and great memories are made. Pose for a selfie or two to capture the moment.

Board games also come in handy while waiting for the weather to clear up outdoors.

And what’s a party without some good tunes on the speaker? Designate a DJ to make sure the music is playing and everyone gets to hear a favorite song. Create a play list to get the party started. Dancing is a good way to work off a few of those calories you enjoyed from the grill.

Don’t forget to plan for everyone to enjoy time in the sun or get out on the water. All that fun is sure to work up hearty appetites which will be ready to feast on a barbecue spread.

Let us know how we can help you plan a perfect summer barbecue party here at Castaways.


Plan Your Party Along the St. Johns River

Castaways On The River in Astor, Florida has space, outfitted with grills, to plan the perfect summer barbecue party. The resort has rental cottages and motel rooms to accommodate guests. Also inquire about our fleet of rental boats to get out on the St. Johns River to fish and to enjoy nature at area attractions like nearby freshwater springs. Castaways is nestled on the eastern edge of the Ocala National Forest, located between Ocala and Ormond Beach along State Road 40. Call Castaways On The River at (352) 759-3442 to book a rental boat, reserve rooms and to arrange additional plans.



What to Do During A Storm On A Boat

Storm season presents many challenges to Florida boaters. It’s best to be aware and prepared for what may come rather than being caught by surprise without an action plan.

A saying in Florida is true, it’s not if a storm is coming especially during the busy summer months, but rather when is it coming? Typically you can set your watch by Florida’s predictable afternoon summer storms. If you are heading out to enjoy a fun day on the water or to get in a little fishing, there are a few tips to follow to ensure you know what to do during a storm when boating.

Make Your Boating Plans Known:

Make sure someone knows your boating plan for the day. Whether it’s a family member not on the boat with you or the staff at the boat rental facility, inform others of where you are headed on the boat. In case a storm rolls in and you are unable to return, they will be able to notify authorities of where to search should you need assistance.

Make sure everyone has on a life vest. It’s Florida law for children age 6 and under to wear a life vest at all times on a boat.

Wear Life Vest While Boating:

This next tip is common sense, but few take time to heed it until it’s too late. Take a moment to put on a life vest or other personal flotation device (PFD). It simply can save your life if the weather turns bad and you are separated from the boat. And remember, it’s the law in Florida that children age 6 years and younger must wear an approved life vest while the vessel is underway.

Check the guidelines for life vests, life jackets, or personal flotation devices. Note: inflatable personal flotation devices are prohibited.

Note: The National Safe Boating Council promotes National Safe Boating Week annually in May.

The Boat U.S. Foundation is a reference for free online boater safety courses. In order to rent at boat at Castaways On The River, anyone born on or after January 1, 1988 must have a boating safety card.

Check The Weather Before You Leave The Dock:

Be sure to check the weather for your planned boating day. A storm prediction may mean altering your plans a bit. Instead of going out in the afternoon, it may be best to boat in the morning and return to shore well ahead of the storm.

Be prepared of what to do in a storm while on a boat.
Be prepared of what to do in a storm while on a boat.

Be Prepared – Know What To Do On A Boat During a Storm:

It is not uncommon in Florida to have a fast moving storm approach without any warning. If you are caught out on the water, a survival kit of sorts may come in quite useful until you can make it back to shore. Include:

  • A secondary source of communication should the boat radio become disabled.
  • A backup power source is a good item to include in your kit.
  • Extra water and food to tide you over just in case.
  • Flashlights, a first aid kit.
During a storm it's advised to take down the top to prevent damage from high winds and lightning.
During a storm it’s advised to take down the top to prevent damage from high winds and lightning.

Take Down the Boat Top:

Usually the roll of storm clouds in Florida means lightning in most cases is not far behind. If your boat has a top, the high winds may make it dangerous to navigate and it becomes a target for lightning strikes. At the first rumble of thunder and increasing winds, it may be best to stop and take the boat top down. It may mean being wet as the rain falls, but it may make your return to shore safer.

Florida’s tropical climate and warm water temperatures are the perfect ingredients for lightning strikes. The state has the nickname as the Lightning Capital of the U.S. So when you see storm clouds moving in your direction keep an ear out for thunder and prepare to get to safety. It’s better to be cautious than to deal with the consequences of a lightning strike on open water.

Head to Shore Out Of The Storm:

Take a look around to see where you are when you realize a storm is approaching. Once you make the decision to head back, your return route may be altered to ensure the quickest and safest path. This is not the time to speed recklessly, you could cause unnecessary damage. During a storm, take your time and guide the boat safely back to shore.

Plan Your Boat Rental and Stay on the River

Spend the day boating along the St. Johns River from the dock at Castaways On the River here in Astor, Florida. We can help you with a checklist of Florida boating regulations, navigating what you need to know to rent a boat, and plan your stay with us. Call Castaways on the River today at (352) 759-3442 to book your boat rental and area travel plans today!

Your Ultimate Florida Boating Regulations Checklist

“The best boat to enjoy in Florida is someone else’s boat.”

The cost of ownership and upkeep for a boat is pricey, which is why Floridians and visitors alike enjoy the peace of mind that comes with renting a boat. The experience allows you to enjoy the beautiful surroundings of the St. Johns River without the expense of boat ownership. Follow our Florida boating regulations checklist to help you get out on the water faster.

Florida boating regulations
Follow our Florida boating regulations checklist to help you get out on the water faster.

Check for a Valid Marina Rental Boat License

In Florida, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) requires charter captains that rent boats to hold a valid boat license. This license allows rental boat operators to carry between four and 11 boaters on board, depending on which boat license they hold. Make sure you check with the charter captain before you rent a boat to inquire there is a valid boat license. Make sure the rental boats also have proper boat rental insurance.

Florida Boat Rental Age Cutoff

Each state is different when it comes to the requirement age and license requirements for boaters. Those wishing to rent a boat in Florida along the St. Johns River must be born on or after Jan. 1, 1988.

Complete an Approved Boating Safety Course

Those seeking to rent a boat and head out on the water must complete an approved boating safety course. The completion of the course allows you to obtain a Boating Safety Education Identification Card issued by the FWC. Find out answers to your boating card questions to help you pass the course.

If you are visiting from out of town and have boat certification from another state, you can receive a temporary Florida boating certificate from this list of Florida vendors.

Florida boating regulations
Floridians and visitors alike enjoy the peace of mind that comes with renting a boat.

Check the Boat for Damage

Before you take possession of the boat, make sure you assess the boat’s condition with the boat rental operator and document pre-existing issues with the boat so you are not made liable for boat repairs. Look for:

  • Scratches and dents
  • Motor or propeller damage
  • Seat and interior stains and tears
  • Windshield cracks

Review Proper Safety Equipment

All rental boats should come equipped with life jackets for every passenger on board. Discuss where the life jackets and other safety equipment for the boat are located before you leave the marina.

St. Johns River
Get on the St. Johns River to do some exploring and fishing in North Central Florida.

Rent a Boat

You have everything you need to take possession of a rental boat and get on the St. Johns River to do some exploring and fishing in North Central Florida. Rent a boat today at Castaways on the River, where a marina full of rentals boats is waiting for you. Castaways on the River also offers cottages and motel rooms along the river. Call Castaways on the River today at (352) 759-3442 to book your boat rental and area travel plans today!


10 Fishing New Year’s Resolutions

“The charm of fishing is that it is the pursuit of what is elusive but attainable, a perpetual series of occasions for hope.” – John Buchan

Happy New Year! We know you have big plans to make 2017 another great fishing year on the St. Johns River in North Central Florida. Follow these 10 New Year’s fishing resolutions in 2017 to stay focused on the fish at hand and remember why fishing soothes your soul.

New Year’s fishing resolutions
St. Johns River fishing is all about taking time to unwind and to do some self-reflection.

Study Your Electronics

Let’s face it. If you want to be considered a serious angler in 2017, it is time to get to know the latest electronics that help your sport. An electronic depth finder will help you find where fish are hiding and topographical maps help you navigate the river’s bottom easily.

Barometers also help you measure the atmospheric pressure. When the atmosphere pressure rises or dips over the course of a few hours, fish are more active during that period. GPS and weather electronics should also be on every angler’s boat for safety reasons too.

Fish in the Moment

Fishing is all about taking some time to unwind and to do some self-reflection. Do not stress about where you found fish last year. Take a deep breath, enjoy all the St. Johns River has to offer and trust your fishing instincts while you do some exploring in new areas.

Keep Your Mind Open to New Techniques

We have all said it. “I’ve been fishing here for 10 years and know everything about how to fish here.” That is just not true though. Be open to new technology and take fishing advice from others in the New Year. At the end of the day, fishing should be exciting, fresh and fun. Don’t get stuck in a rut or fishing might become boring for you.

electronic depth finder
If you want to be considered a serious angler in 2017, it is time to get to know the latest electronics that help your sport.

Exercise on Off Fishing Days

We know, we know. Fishing is a sport. But for a good part of the day, you are sitting on a boat waiting for fish to grab your line. Try getting into an exercise regimen on your off fishing days. Strengthen those arms and legs this year and watch as your fishing friends are impressed with your newfound strength when you’re casting bait and reeling in the big one.

Get Your Tackle Box Organized

Most anglers have a mess of a tackle box that somehow works for them each and every year. But imagine if your tackle box was organized and efficient this year! That could make all the difference for an improved fishing day on the water. Take some pride in your sport and follow our tackle box guide to get started.

Help Others on the St. Johns River

There are so many fishers out there that get set in their ways and don’t like to divulge their fishing secrets. We would argue that is the wrong approach in this day and age. One of the best joys in the life of an angler should involve helping others learn the sport and watching them grow to appreciate the hobby as much as you do. Make some friends, be a fishing mentor and enjoy the smiles and appreciation on others faces this year as you teach them new tricks. Try participating in a river cleanup or being a volunteer with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission too.

Take a Camera

Anglers are notorious for telling stories about the big fish they caught but never having the proof to back it up. Make a commitment in 2017 to always take a camera with you to document your catches and capture all of your fishing adventure moments with friends and loved ones on the St. Johns River.

man fishing on the river
Follow these 10 fishing New Year’s resolutions in 2017 to stay focused and remember why fishing soothes your soul.

Be More Patient

A true fisher knows fishing is a game of patience. Anglers can always use a little more patience so try to practice that mantra this year. Leave your bait in the water a little longer and don’t give up on a fishing spot too soon.

Make More Weekend Fishing Plans

Commit to getting away for longer than just a day. Plan more weekend or week-long fishing trips this year. Book a stay at Castaways on the River to enjoy a comfortable cottage or motel room that sits right along the beautiful St. Johns River.

Rent a Boat

Castaways on the River can handle all of your St. Johns River boat rental needs this year. The marina offers a variety of boats that are ready for use on the river today. The St. Johns River in Astor, Florida is a great place to do some serious fishing this year and practice your new fishing resolutions. Call Castaways on the River today at (352) 759-3442 to book your boat rental and lodging needs today!