Houseboat rental: Aramark vs friends

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Boudreaux

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We are discussing our first houseboat trip. It will be out of Bullfrog in late May. Some family members want to rent from a friend with an older house boat that is used 3-4 times/year, to save some money. My feeling is that renting a standard houseboat from Aramark or whatever company will have a shallower learning curve for us and be easier in general. This is with the assumption that they boats are maintained and checked regularly. I do plan to call and ask about extra charges, such as cleaning, dumping waste tanks, etc. Can you think of any questions I should definitely ask about renting when I call? Is renting from a houseboat rental company a better idea for newbies than from a private party? If so, why?
 

Rivergoer

Well-Known Member
Pump-out (“dumping waste tanks”) and refilling fresh water tanks are handled by Aramark so less hassle, rental vs ‘borrowing’ from a friend.

Another plus with renting is Valet boarding service. All your gear/food/baggage is loaded onto cart trains pulled by ATVs and placed aboard for you (Bring some tip money).

Pay the extra $$ for “Pre-Boarding” the night before. You can spend the 1st night aboard at the dock, then get early morning orientation and on your way...it’ll save you 1/2 a day on the front-end.
 

birdsnest

Well-Known Member
You didn't say how many people are going or how cozy the group is. More people on a boat really makes a difference on per person expense. Also May is the month that prices go up from off season to full cost. We always go in the middle part of May before price changes. We always negotiate the cost of pre-board usually getting it at half price. We also make sure to get our instruction and equipment check on the day of our pre-board so we don't have to wait for the morning we leave the dock for the dock to open to get instruction. Instruction and equipment check is required before leaving the dock. Alot to think about but the planning makes the difference for at least an extra half day on the water. 46 footer is about $2.5K, 54 footer is about $3.5K. Full price preboard is $400. There is about $500 difference between off season and in season.
 
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wayne gustaveson

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Staff member
Just FYI. The water is @#$@#@# cold in May! Heck we don't go in June, cause our pansy CA bums freeze in the water in June!
May is the best spring month to come to the lake because the fishing/catching is so good. You don't have to swim and can still enjoy the beauty of this magical lake. And it is not as busy as in June and July. Great days in May!!
 

Pegasus

Well-Known Member
Cold in May? We go in April and don't always use a wet suit. Pretty sure I have been in the water at Powell in March...........
My wife and I both waterskied on glass in Wahweap Bay during the first week of April 1997 - water was mid-40's - with only thin "shorty" wetsuits. Skiing was great, but we both were seriously hypothermic. We sat in front of the heater in the houseboat for many hours trying to warm up just shaking almost violently, unable to even hold a beverage in hand. It was fun to do, but never again. I'm in the "won't get in until the water is AT LEAST 75 degrees group now"! Which is mid to late June most years.
 

Dave I.

Well-Known Member
We are discussing our first houseboat trip. It will be out of Bullfrog in late May. Some family members want to rent from a friend with an older house boat that is used 3-4 times/year, to save some money. My feeling is that renting a standard houseboat from Aramark or whatever company will have a shallower learning curve for us and be easier in general. This is with the assumption that they boats are maintained and checked regularly. I do plan to call and ask about extra charges, such as cleaning, dumping waste tanks, etc. Can you think of any questions I should definitely ask about renting when I call? Is renting from a houseboat rental company a better idea for newbies than from a private party? If so, why?
Having worked in the rental fleet at Aramark (many years ago) I do know we went thru the boats to insure (or try) they would be problem free with every trip. One thing with getting a rental on the lake is they have a high turn around and the hours on them run up fast. Unlike your friends houseboat, which might see 50 hours per year.

One thing great about Aramark is they will give you a "class" on how to run the boat, anchor the boat and they do have mechanics on hand to rescue you if there boat does happen to break down. And yes, it does happen. With the turn around, work load and understaffing, employees at the rental fleet may miss some things. They do the best they can.

With your friends boat, yes, he can't legally rent it to you for a week. But....You can legally buy a timeshare for one week each year. Funny how that works. The great thing about your friends boat is it is privately owned and probably not driven like it was stolen. But, if you have a breakdown, you are responsible for the repairs and tow if needed. But, personally owned houseboats have less breakdown times because they are used less and usually taken better care of by the operators.

One thing to ask about the rental company (Aramark) is the what if questions and sadly some are newbie questions and some are over confident questions. Such as:
Cost if I hit a rock and damage occurs?
What if I get stuck on a beach because I didn't re-anchor with the declining water level?
What if I go up lake and out of radio range and have a break down?
What situations would cause me to loose my deposit? All of them. What's covered under the rental agreement and what isn't?

And the list goes on. What ever you do, ask any questions you can come up with that suits your needs and concerns.

Most importantly, don't stress when you get on the lake. Be careful, stay aware and be safe. Have a great time. We all know we'll be seeing you again.

Happy Boating!
 

Boudreaux

Well-Known Member
Having worked in the rental fleet at Aramark (many years ago) I do know we went thru the boats to insure (or try) they would be problem free with every trip. One thing with getting a rental on the lake is they have a high turn around and the hours on them run up fast. Unlike your friends houseboat, which might see 50 hours per year.

One thing great about Aramark is they will give you a "class" on how to run the boat, anchor the boat and they do have mechanics on hand to rescue you if there boat does happen to break down. And yes, it does happen. With the turn around, work load and understaffing, employees at the rental fleet may miss some things. They do the best they can.

With your friends boat, yes, he can't legally rent it to you for a week. But....You can legally buy a timeshare for one week each year. Funny how that works. The great thing about your friends boat is it is privately owned and probably not driven like it was stolen. But, if you have a breakdown, you are responsible for the repairs and tow if needed. But, personally owned houseboats have less breakdown times because they are used less and usually taken better care of by the operators.

One thing to ask about the rental company (Aramark) is the what if questions and sadly some are newbie questions and some are over confident questions. Such as:
Cost if I hit a rock and damage occurs?
What if I get stuck on a beach because I didn't re-anchor with the declining water level?
What if I go up lake and out of radio range and have a break down?
What situations would cause me to loose my deposit? All of them. What's covered under the rental agreement and what isn't?

And the list goes on. What ever you do, ask any questions you can come up with that suits your needs and concerns.

Most importantly, don't stress when you get on the lake. Be careful, stay aware and be safe. Have a great time. We all know we'll be seeing you again.

Happy Boating!
Excellent advice. Thank you.
 

Ryan

Well-Known Member
My wife and I both waterskied on glass in Wahweap Bay during the first week of April 1997 - water was mid-40's - with only thin "shorty" wetsuits. Skiing was great, but we both were seriously hypothermic. We sat in front of the heater in the houseboat for many hours trying to warm up just shaking almost violently, unable to even hold a beverage in hand. It was fun to do, but never again. I'm in the "won't get in until the water is AT LEAST 75 degrees group now"! Which is mid to late June most years.
One of the local boat dealerships used to do a "Cold Water Classic" - a fund raiser for homeless vets. It was on Thanksgiving morning. The last year I went (yes, I did more than one trip) I remember they had to have a string of vehicles with tow chains to get the truck/boats up the ramp as it was a sheet of ice.

38* water temps if I remember right. What I am sure of, is that it was cold enough that between the time I completed my run, and walked from shore to the "warming tubs" in the parking lot, my hair had froze. Even a dry suit isn't enough in those temps.

I'm not that hard core anymore, but I don't think that temps in the 60's are that bad. Even 50's are doable with a wet suit and a boat heater.

Boating season is too short to only participate in water sports when it is "hot". :)
 
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