Lots of options to be found for fun on water

The Augusta Southern Nationals drag boat races will be in Augusta this weekend, featuring high-performance race boats that can go up to 250 mph.


If these speedy boats are giving you the urge to set sail, here are some tips on where to find boats, canoes, kayaks, pontoons and paddleboats for rent in the Augusta area:


Little River Marina and Family Resort, 4271 Old Lincolnton Road, Appling, (706) 541-1358, boating at Thurmond Lake

- Canoe, kayak and paddleboat rentals: half day, $25, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. or 1 to 5 p.m.; full day, $45, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Life jackets and paddles provided, $100 refundable deposit is required.

- Pontoon rentals: full day, $250, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays, gasoline is not included.

The pontoon has a large deck, seats eight to 10 people and has a canopy and a table. Life jackets are provided. There are no overnight rentals, and grilling, pets and alcohol are prohibited. Kneeboards, water skies and tubes are not available for rental with pontoon boats. A $500 refundable deposit is required.

- Are you in the mood for romance? For $59.95, you can get a half-day canoe rental, picnic basket with lunch for two, parasol and paddle, framed photo and a list of conversation topics to enhance your relationship.

Broadway Tackle, 1730 Broad St., (706) 738-8848

- Canoes, kayaks and small jon boats: $35 per boat for 24-hour rental. Paddles and life jackets are included.

Boaters can either pick up the canoe, kayak or jon boat or have Broadway Tackle drop it off at Savannah Rapids Pavilion. There is a $35 fee if the store transports the boat. This covers up to five boats.

"For the canoes, they can do the trip down the canal. They can arrange transportation ... and then come down the canal to our store, which is about a three-hour trip," manager Tracy Teasley said.

Boaters can leave their cars at Broadway Tackle and get a ride with the canoe to Savannah Rapids Pavilion. If boaters prefer to transfer the boat themselves, they can bring it to the place of their choice -- the Savannah River, Lake Olmstead or a private pond, he said.

Broadway Tackle is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday and 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. If you rent a boat Saturday, you will return it Monday morning.

American Wilderness Outfitters, 2328 Washington Road, (706) 738-8500.

- Canoes and kayaks: half-day, $35 per boat (single) and $45 per boat (double), up to six hours; full day, $45 per boat (single) and $55 per boat (double), up to 24 hours; weekend rental, $75 per boat, pick up at closing Friday and return by 10 a.m. Monday.

- To rent equipment: personal flotation device, $5; canoe paddle, $5; kayak paddle, $10; and canal shuttle, $25

- Twilight paddle: $35 per person, 5:45 p.m. on Thursdays, guided trip down the canal, river or lake of the guide's choice. If you have your own boat and gear and want to join in, the cost is $15.

- Boating packages: canal trip, $55 per boat, ideal for beginners and someone who wants a slow-paced, easy paddle. 21/2-hour trip; river trip, $65 per boat, a trip down the Savannah River starting at Savannah Rapids Pavilion and ending in Hammond Hills. You and your partner must have paddled at least once previously.

- Thurmond Lake trip: $85 per boat, open water trip, check for availability.


Know the rules


- Younger than 12 years old: May not legally operate a personal watercraft (Jet Ski, WaveRunner, etc.)

- 12-15 years old: May legally operate a personal watercraft only if they have passed a boating safety course approved by the Department of Natural Resources, are accompanied by or under direct supervision of a competent adult.

- 16 or older: May operate any boat on the waters of Georgia if they have proper identification on board.


- Each person riding on a personal watercraft must wear a Coast Guard-approved Type I, II, III or V personal flotation device which is properly fitted and fastened. Inflatable Type V personal flotation devices are not approved for personal watercraft.

- Must be operated at idle speed if within 100 feet of a nonmoving boat, dock or pier, bridge, person in the water, shoreline adjacent to a residence, public park or beach, swimming area, marina, restaurant or other public use area.

- May not be operated between sunset and sunrise.

- A personal watercraft, operating at more than idle speed, cannot run around, ride or jump the wake of, or be within 100 feet of another moving boat or personal watercraft unless it is overtaking the other boat in compliance with the rules for encountering other boats. When a personal watercraft is overtaking another boat, it must not change course in order to ride or jump the wake of the boat being overtaken.

- It is illegal to rent, lease or let for hire a personal watercraft to anyone younger than 16.

FOR MORE information on Georgia's boating regulations, boat ramp locations and boat registration, visit: goboatgeorgia.com.