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Everything You Need to Know About Chartering a Boat in Gig Harbor...

Updated: Jun 22, 2023

Gig Harbor, nestled in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, is a captivating destination known for its scenic views, serene waters, and abundant marine life. One of the best ways to explore the charm of Gig Harbor is by chartering a boat. Whether you're seeking an adventurous fishing trip, a leisurely guided tour, or a peaceful paddleboarding experience, Gig Harbor offers a plethora of options for getting on the water.


In this blog post, we spoke with veteran boat captain and owner of On Time Tours & Charters, Tony Ewald to get some insight into the various types of boats available, the activities you can enjoy, how to choose between private and group tours, considering the season, and more. One of the unique things about the Gig Harbor boat rental community is they are all friendly with each other and don’t hesitate to refer clients to each other, depending on what their needs are. For a list of local charters, tours and rental companies scroll down.


Gig Harbor charter boat captain
Capt Tony of On time Tours & Charters

A little more about Captain Tony: After dedicating 25 years in law enforcement, he recently retired in 2021. Throughout his tenure, Captain Tony specialized as a skilled police diver and an accomplished marine patrol officer. A few years back, fate smiled upon him as he was presented with an extraordinary opportunity to embark on a new career as the captain of his very own vessel.


Currently in his second season as the proud new owner of On Time Tours & Charters in Gig Harbor, Captain Tony has some exciting news to share. The company has made a notable investment in a brand new, state-of-the-art, 2023 29’ Jeanneau NC 895, delivering an exceptional experience. This boat boasts breathtaking 360-degree views, remarkable maneuverability, the latest in navigation electronics, and is heated, enabling tours to now be offered year-round. If you are seeking an exclusive and tailored charter tour for up to six people, On Time Tours & Charters is the ideal starting point. For further information, please click here.


Inside looking out from Capt Tony's new charter boat

Here are Captain Tony’s best tips for getting out on the water in Gig Harbor:


Tip #1: Consider All Your Options

When it comes to chartering a boat in Gig Harbor, you'll find a wide range of options to suit your preferences. Really, there's something for everyone. Some popular choices include:

Electric Boats: For an eco-friendly and peaceful boating experience, consider renting an electric boat. These silent vessels provide a serene and environmentally conscious way to explore the harbor.


Fishing Charters: Gig Harbor is a haven for fishing enthusiasts. Fishing charters are available, providing you with the opportunity to catch fish, crab, and more. Experienced guides will ensure you have a successful and memorable fishing adventure.

Guided Tours: If you prefer a more informative experience, opt for a guided tour. Knowledgeable guides will navigate the harbor, providing fascinating insights into the area's history, wildlife, and scenic spots.


Paddleboards and Kayaks: For a closer connection to the water, paddleboards and kayaks are excellent options. Explore hidden coves, navigate calm waters, and observe marine life up close while enjoying a peaceful and active adventure. Just make sure you ask the rental company about tides changes and harbor etiquette before you go.


Tip #2: Decide if you want a private or group tour.

Before booking a boat charter, consider whether you prefer a private tour or a group excursion. Private tours offer exclusivity, allowing you to customize your itinerary and enjoy an intimate experience with your chosen companions. On the other hand, group tours can be more cost-effective and provide an opportunity to meet fellow travelers who share similar interests.


Tip #3: Consider the season.

The season plays a significant role in determining the best time to charter a boat in Gig Harbor. The summer months (June to September) offer pleasant weather and are the most popular for boating activities. However, spring and fall can also be delightful, with fewer crowds and a chance to witness the changing colors of the surrounding landscapes. Because winter in the PNW tends to be rainy, if you do plan to go out on the water, make sure you check with local charter companies to see which boats are enclosed and heated.


Tip #4: Do you prefer covered or open boats:

Another aspect to consider is whether you prefer a covered or open boat. Covered boats provide protection from the elements, ensuring your comfort even if the weather turns inclement or even on extremely sunny/warm days. Open boats, on the other hand, offer an immersive experience, allowing you to fully embrace the natural beauty of Gig Harbor but you’ll want to come prepared. Choose the option that aligns with your preferences, and the weather conditions during your visit.


Tip #5: Where do you want to go and what do you want to see?

When chartering a boat, think about how long you want to be on the water and what sites you may want to see. Do you want to take a kayak tour around Gig Harbor and stop at Tides Tavern for lunch, or do you want to head under the Narrows Bridge and see the sites? Whether you're interested in a fun paddle around the harbor, venturing to nearby islands, or seeking out popular fishing spots, many companies can tailor the experience to meet your desires.


No matter what you choose, there’s never a wrong way to get out on the water and enjoy all that Gig Harbor and the Puget Sound has to offer.


As of the publication of this blog post, below are the list of local tour, rental and charter companies operating in Gig Harbor. Click the links below to learn more.


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