Around 100 million Americans go boating annually, a number that continues to rise. Lake Norman boasts plenty of water for boat lovers to enjoy a ride. No boat? No worries! Different rental companies are available for boat and jet ski rentals. For those keen on watersports, some providers even offer tubes and skis, while others include captains for those lacking a boater's license. To assist you in navigating the process of renting a boat at Lake Norman, we've put together this guide to ensure you're well-prepared for your visit and ready to set sail.

Lake Norman by Jon Beyerle

Lake Norman Boating

Boaters License 101

Before you take on the lake, make sure someone in your traveling group has taken the North Carolina Boater Safety Course. Any person born on or after January 1, 1988 must complete a NASBLA approved boating education course before operating any vessel propelled by a motor of 10 HP or greater. A boaters license is not required for people born before 1988, but it is recommended. If you don't have a boaters license, don't worry, we've listed places that offer captains with their boat rentals below.


Captained Boat Rentals

If you're seeking a boat rental with a captain, several options are available. For those interested in lake-side bar hopping, Party Pontoon is a fantastic option! They offer excursions to various bars and restaurants on the lake. While cruising, Captain Kevin provides insightful commentary on the lake's history. Prior to your trip, explore our blog to learn more about the lake's background. Feel free to bring along your own cooler stocked with beer and wine for pit stops at popular sandbars. With a capacity of up to 25 passengers, their boat also offers designated reservation slots, perfect for booking a sunset cruise.

Cornelius Pontoon Rentals offers a fantastic lake experience with a captain at the helm. They conveniently deliver the boat to Blythe Landing. Each reservation includes gas, snacks, water, and ice. Water noodles are also provided for both kids and adults to enjoy. Choose from 4-hour or full-day reservations to suit your outing needs.

77 Watersports offer boat tours Monday through Thursday and rates start at $300 for four hours, not including fuel prices. This includes a stop at one of the area's waterfront restaurants. The price does not include the food, so don't forget your wallet. 

Carolina Boat Rentals is another excellent option for renting a boat with a captain. Their captain will meet you at either Ramsey Creek Park or Blythe Landing. They offer renting flexibility, seven days a week, from 8am to 8pm. Prices cover gas and refreshments for your enjoyment during your adventure on the water. Additionally, you can rent tubes to enhance your experience, and you can even make a pit stop at the famous Lake Norman Sand Bar for a quick dip in the lake.

For those who aren't expert water skiers or wake surfers, Ride LKN provides personalized lessons to help you get started. If you're looking to elevate your surfing skills, they'll teach you professional-grade techniques. And yes, Ride LKN also offers captained boat rentals inclusive of tubing and wakeboards.


Carolian Cruising Charter

Carolina Cruising Charters offers luxury boat rentals for up to 10-12 guests per boat and can be reserved for 2, 3, 4, 6, or 8 hours. Charters are captained by USCG Master Captains so you can sit back and enjoy the boat ride. One famous guest of Carolina Cruising Charters is the Jersey Shore gang, who came to Lake Norman for their Family Vacation Series.


Non-captained Boat Rentals

If you've completed a boating education course, you'll find several more options for securing your boat rental. One notable rental provider is Cajun Carolina Adventures in Cornelius. Their standout features are the double-decker water slide and wet bar, which allow for plenty of excitement for all ages. With options for half-day, full-day, and multi-day rentals, it's an excellent choice for extended stays. Their 25-foot boat accommodates up to 12 passengers and can be equipped with pull toys and water mats upon request. Cajun Carolina conveniently will meet customers at Blythe Landing for drop-off and pick-up.

Also in Cornelius, Crown Boat Rentals offers pontoon rentals for up to 10 people. The minimum rental age must be at least 21 years old, and captains are required to watch their boat safety video. (Tip: Rental rates are typically more budget-friendly on weekdays)

Safe Harbor Marinas at Kings Point also offer a fleet of rental boats. They feature a double-decker pontoon boat with a slide, as well as a tritoon with ample power for tubing adventures. Tube rentals are available for an extra fee. The tritoon accommodates up to 10 people, with the double-decker pontoon holding up to 16 passengers. Due to their popularity, it's recommended to call ahead to secure your rental.

For those seeking non-captained boat rentals, other options include What's Up Watersports and Carolina Boat Rentals. Specific driver requirements can be obtained by contacting each business directly.

(Tip: Based on feedback from past visitors, it's wise to bring along a sweatshirt during colder seasons as the lake breeze can feel chilly. Check out our range of LKN-branded sweatshirts!)

Carolina Cruising Charters

Jet Ski Rentals

If you're seeking an added thrill on the lake, renting a jet ski is a great option! Carolina Boat Rentals provides jet ski rentals alongside their captained pontoon rentals. For safety reasons, jet skis are not allowed on Lake Norman after dark, so you'll need to return them before nightfall. 

Lake Norman Jet Ski Rentals opens its rental season on April 1st. To book, you must be at least 21 years old and be able to meet at Queen's Landing for launching onto the lake. They offer an orientation for all operators, covering jet ski operation and North Carolina boating laws and regulations.

What's Up Watersports provides jet ski rentals that can be delivered to almost any location on Lake Norman. Rentals are available for a few hours up to multiple days, with flexibility to fit your schedule.


After reading this guide, we hope you feel confident about renting a boat or jet ski on Lake Norman. For a comprehensive list of boat and jet ski rental companies around Lake Norman, visit the Lake Rentals page. Each listing includes a phone number for direct inquiries about pricing and availability. Don't forget to share your boat ride adventures by tagging us in your photos on social media @VisitLakeNorman!