Airlie Beach Boat Hire: Different ways to explore the Coral Sea


Charter a yacht or hire a boat when visiting Airlie Beach and experience the gateway to the Whitsundays in a way that suits you.

Airlie Beach boat hire can be by the hour, day and even over several nights or weeks! Party boats, private charters, self-drive fishing boats or self-skippered yacht charters are all on offer from The Gateway to the Whitsundays.

In this post, we’ll outline the different types of boat hire available from Airlie, and of course, we’ll go into some finer details around the best type of Airlie Beach boat hire – bareboat.

Boat hire Airlie Beach bareboat yacht

Different types of boat hire in Airlie Beach

Self-drive boat hire for Whitsundays sightseeing and fishing

Airlie Boat Hire
Airlie Boat Hire is a family run business operating out of the Coral Sea Marina in Airlie Beach. They offer self-drive boat hire with a licensed and non-licensed hire option. Their powerboats can be used for fishing, sightseeing and dugong or turtle spotting with the opportunity to go out to the islands or stick around the Whitsunday coastline.

Bareboat hire near Airlie Beach

Whitsunday Rent a Yacht

Bareboats are typically catamarans, monohulls or power cruisers which can be hired over several nights.

When you hire a bareboat, you, your family and friends are the crew. You choose where you want to go among the Whitsunday Islands. Snorkel, dive, fish, kayak, hike and discover untouched beaches in your own time and spend the evenings relaxing under the stars on warm nights.

Bareboat vessels come fully equipped with everything required for a comfortable stay. You need to arrange your provisioning and pack your items such as sunscreen, swimming gear and cameras.

Private charter companies and boat hire in the Whitsundays

There are many private charter companies which can take up to 10 people out for a day among the islands, including stopping over at Whitehaven and Hill Inlet. From high-end catamarans to speed powerboats or sailboats where you can take the helm, there is a private charter in Whitsundays for all adventure seeking styles.

Sailing-Whitsundays has a page which lists private sailing charter and boat hire companies operating in the Whitsundays. 

Customised boutique boat tours

Whitsunday Paradise Explorer
Whitsunday Paradise Explorer is a personalised private boat tour and charter company who provide a customised way to see the beautiful Whitsunday Islands. They take no more than eight guests; you charter their private vessel exactly where you want to go and get to experience the Whitsundays away from crowds. Whether it’s snorkelling, bushwalking, exploring the coastline, finding a hidden gem or just relaxing on your own private beach for the day – these guys can take you there

Mars Charters
Among a plethora of transfer, water taxi and chase boat services, Mars Charters also offer private boat charters. You can book an Express Charters, Half Day Charters, Full Day Charters and Sunset Cruises onboard their small fast boat vessels. Mars private boat charters are fully customisable and fully skippered. Pricing is for the boat, not per person. With no set Itinerary,  they will take you where you want when you want!

Party boat hire Airlie Beach

You can hire a boat from Airlie Beach for a private party, or join one of the many party boat tours, typically for those aged 18-35.

The party boat tours are for those who want to mix with other travellers and who don’t mind staying in shared, bunk style accommodation. If you want a quiet relaxing sailing adventure around the Whitsundays, do not go on a party boat tour!!! These boats are for a social crowd, with loads of games, water sports and of course an after-dark party with music. Some ships even have hot tubs!

Sundowner Cruises

For a more customised Airlie Beach boat hire, Sundowner cruisers offer group and wedding private charters. Great for special celebrations, Sundowner is a purpose-built catamaran designed for parties and functions. This floating venue has ample room to move and socialise, a capacity for 48 guests, fully licensed bar and organised catering on request.

Party Boat Hire Airlie Beach

Questions Relating to Boat Hire from Airlie Beach

What is the weather like in Airlie Beach?

Airlie Beach is a sub-tropical environment which means fine, mild weather most of the year. There is a wet season over summer which only has occasional showers. Winter in Airlie Beach doesn’t feel like winter at all, with an average temperature of 23 degrees Celsius.

It’s possible to sail the Whitsundays at any time of year, with each season offering its unique attractions. 

Do I need a license to charter a boat in the Whitsundays without a skipper?

The need for a license will depend on the type of boat you want to hire and where you want to go. There are several considerations when it comes to a license.

  1. If you want to take a self-drive boat out to the islands and Whitehaven Beach with Airlie Beach Boat Hire, you need one person to hold a valid boat license – National or International.
  2. Unlicensed boats can be hired through Airlie Beach Boat Hire to fish and sightsee in designated areas. Please note that if you hire a day boat without a license, you can’t go to the islands.
  3. If you hire a bareboat from a yacht charter company in the Whitsundays, you do not need a license or sailing qualifications.

Do I need sailing experience to go on a bareboat charter?

We do suggest that one person on your charter has some basic boating knowledge and we are required to have at least two crew members over the age of 18 on each vessel.

Our experienced staff will support you all the way, helping plan your itinerary, giving you a comprehensive briefing on how to operate your vessel and staying in regular contact over VHF radio.

If you are feeling unsure about your sailing experience or your ability to handle a boat, you can hire a sail guide for an hourly or daily rate to make sure you’re confident with skippering the boat yourself.

We also run the Whitsunday School of Sailing, which is an option for anyone wanting to brush up on their sailing knowledge or learn the basics before a charter.

How do I know what bareboat to hire?

The vessels in our fleet can accommodate up to 10 guests. You can choose a sailing yacht, a catamaran or a motor cruiser. The boat you hire will depend on your budget, availability and how many people you need to accommodate.  

To help you decide between a catamaran or sailing yacht, we’ve completed a list of pros and cons. Most families and large groups who charter in the Whitsundays opt for a catamaran.

Where can I go on a bareboat around the Whitsundays?

There are 74 Islands within the Whitsundays group with more than 40 anchorages. You’ll be able to visit secluded islands away from day crowds as well as all the Whitsunday highlights such as Whitehaven, the Hamilton Island marina and our top snorkelling sites.

Where you go will be determined by the weather and the things you want to do. We have created these suggested itineraries, however, please chat with your briefer to help customise a trip on the day you set sail.

Shute Harbour Boat Hire Airlie Beach

Whitsunday Rent a Yacht Base

Whitsunday Rent a Yacht is based 10 minutes from Airlie Beach, in Shute Harbour. Unlike other charter companies which operate from the public Coral Sea Marina, we have a private base and jetty, which gives exclusive access to our vessels and facilities.

Shute Harbour is worth a visit in its own right. The Conway Ranges National Park surrounds this tranquil haven, and the marine life is abundant here. When you hire a boat from Shute Harbour, you are instantly closer to the islands, with the nearest overnight anchorage less than an hour away. Comparatively, hiring a boat from Airlie Beach means that the commute out the islands is at least two hours longer.

If you are looking at Airlie Beach boat hire, then look no further than a bareboat charter with Whitsunday Rent a Yacht. We’re the longest operating, Australian owned bareboat charter company and hiring a boat with us means you get exclusive access from Shute Harbour.





Hire a boat in Airlie Beach and enjoy the freedom to explore

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1800 075 000

+61 7 4946 9232


6 Bay Terrace
Shute Harbour QLD 4802

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