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Renting a boat is the best way to explore Hvar. Wondering whom to rent it from?


    Last Updated: 04.04.2024


      If you are planning to go to Croatia, you have certainly heard of one of its most beautiful attractions; an island that is frequently bucket-listed as a must-do thing when in Croatia – the magnificent Hvar island. Situated in the central Dalmatia region (that’s right, that is a Croatian region that gave the name to the famous dog breed), Hvar is only an hour’s boat ride away from the biggest town of the region, Split. Given that this is an island famous not only for its amazing coast but also for the amazing archipelago surrounding it (think: Pakleni islands, Vis, Blue cave, Brač, etc.) the most sensible thing to do when in Hvar is to rent a boat!


      One of the most common questions we get is whether you can rent a small boat without a license in Croatia. While this problem was sort of a grey area and was passing under the radar for a long time, renting a boat without a valid boating license is no longer possible in Hvar, Croatia. As of summer 2021, regular marine controls in Hvar port have become more rigid and licenseless sailors, as well as the companies that issued them vessels have received hefty fines. Therefore, even if you are a very experienced sailor and you only want to rent a small 5hp boat for a day, according to Croatian law, at least one person on the vessel should possess a valid Navigational and VHF license.


      In case you don’t have a boating license, do not despair. There are two options that might work well for you:

      OPTION 1: In case you are staying for a bit longer, you can take the “B category” test, which will be sufficient to be able to hire a boat. This test is taken on Mondays in Split’s Lučka kapetanija (Harbor masters), and costs around 100 euros (information liable to change). You can learn the necessary material in a couple of days. You can also find several online courses that will prepare you well for the exam. It will also take a couple of days to get your document (check if you can get an alternative proof for the meantime)

      OPTION 2: If you don’t have the time for taking your test, or just want to relax on your vacation (because that’s what vacations are for), the best idea is to hire a boat with a skipper included. This is something we would recommend even to those with a license, as the benefits are numerous: it will put your mind at ease, and while you relax on a boat and sip a glass of wine, the skipper will take care of all the stressful parts of sailing. Also, an experienced skipper will know all the secret little coves and bays that you can’t really read about online. Finally, if you plan to go to the Blue cave,  we definitely recommend hiring a skipper, as this is a very busy route and docking isn’t possible in many locations (on the Blue cave itself, for example).  The cost of the skipper will on average be an additional 100 euros.


      In case you have rented a boat, but do not feel very confident riding a boat in foreign waters, Pakleni islands and the south shore of Hvar with its Red rocks are the perfect destinations! A suggested itinerary  would go something like this:
      check out Dubovica beach, Malo and Velo Zaraće (two beautiful bays very close to each other), go for a swim to the Red rocks (aka Crvene stijene), on your way back visit Pakleni islands. There are several amazing locations to have a lunch break or a swim when on Pakleni: Palmižana is the most popular bay (with the famous Laganini beach bar, Bacchus, Zori, and more), but if you prefer something more private and authentic, we would suggest visiting Vlaka bay with Dioniz restaurant, immersed in nature. If you still have some time left, a great idea would be to finish your day in Vela garška bay and have a drink in Calma beach bar as you enjoy the last minutes of the setting sun. If you need more ideas regarding the itinerary for the South shore of Hvar, you can check them out here.

      If you wish to go to Vis, bear in mind this is the busiest route in this part of the Adriatic, and some of its most beautiful locations are somewhat hidden, so it would be best to hire a skipper who will know the area. More about Vis island tour can be found here.


      With Mario rent, there are plenty of options for boat rental. The main features you should consider when renting a boat are engine power, material (hardtop or RIB boats), sundeck or shade room. A useful note to take is that most hardtop boats stronger than 150hp will require hiring a skipper in Hvar, even if you have a license. This is not the case with RIB boats as they are more resilient and easier to maneuver; so there shouldn’t be any problems renting a RIB boat in Hvar, if you have a license, of course.  Here are some of our most popular boats, and decide on your own what amenities are most important for you:

      Aquamax 23 (license or our skipper required)

      Our rigid inflatable Aquamax 23 boat is also one of our most requested boats. Easy on the waves, this boat will provide ultimate comfort for your day out on the sea. The boat can fit up to 9 persons comfortably, plus the skipper. There is a sundeck in front that can comfortably fit 4 persons, and there is plenty of room in the shade in the back. The tent in the back can go down, in case you wish to get some extra sun.

      Crownline (only with our skipper)

      people on a boat near Hvar

      Our hard-top boat Crownline has great seating arrangement and is favored by medium-sized groups (5-8 people), and its strong engine (420HP) will get you from point A to point B in no time!

      Camaro  (only with our skipper)

      Camaro family boat Hvar
      With a cabin, plenty of room in the shade, and table seating, Camaro is the perfect family boat. A great sound system, sundeck, and bathroom are excellent addition to this versatile boat.

      Enzo  (only with our skipper)

      Enzo boat

      Super spacious and comfortable, Enzo is favored by big groups of friends. Its great sound system will get any party started, and its massive sundeck in the back can comfortably accommodate all the confident dancers on the boat.

      Colnago (only with our skipper)

      The flagship of our fleet, Colnago is a luxurious 11m long, 420 hp strong vessel that will suit anyone’s taste. This boat is incredibly smooth on the waves, it is comfortable and spacious enough to host larger groups of people, and will take you from Hvar to the Blue cave, or any location of your choice, in record time. Cushioned sundeck, bathroom, sound system and wind protection screen are only some of the perks of this powerful boat.

      Here you can take a look at all the boat rental options with and without the skipper, just select your desired option in the selectbox to get the pricing.


      • Check wind strength: before sailing out, make sure to check wind apps to see what the wind strength is like out in the sea. Even if the weather seems calm to you, bear in mind that the situation might be somewhat different out in the open sea.  Go to windfider.com, and type in Hvar, Vis or any other area that you are planning to go to. For example, a wind stronger than 10  knots might mean that it will be a bit choppy. Wind stronger than 15 knots might mean that you should stick close to the shore where you are protected from the wind (more about this in the following bullet point), that you should hire a skipper, or that you should reschedule your boat rental for another day.
      • Check wind direction: 3 most famous (and strongest) winds in Dalmatia and Hvar are Jugo (SE), Bura (NE) and Tramontana (N). In the case of Bura and Tramontana, you’ll be fine boating anywhere along the southern shore of Hvar and the southern shore of Pakleni islands. Some of the locations that are beautiful and secluded are Palmižana (Vinogradišće side of the bay), Perna, Red rocks, Zaraće (both Malo and Velo – two connected bays). Vis is not a good idea in case of strong northern wind, especially if you are not familiar with the area. In case of strong southern wind (i.e. Jugo), it is better to stick to the northern side of Pakleni islands because the southern coastline of Hvar and Pakleni will, logically, be affected by wind gusts. Mlini, Ždrilca, Palmižana (but from the northern side) and Vela Garška are your best options for boating around Hvar in that case.
      • Wear proper clothes: in pre- and post-summer season (think: May, June, September, October) the weather can easily fool you. You might be walking around Hvar town in your shorts and your tank top, but once you get onto your boat and sail out to the open sea, it can get quite chilly. For that reason, it is a good idea to bring a long pair of sleeves, or ideally, a windbreaker for your boat ride from Hvar to any of your desired locations.
      • Don’t speed within 300 m from the shore. Not only will you risk hefty fines, it is also extremely dangerous because of swimmers and divers swimming outside of the designated area. This is also one of the most frequently penalized offenses by the port authorities along the Adriatic.
      • Bring drinks and snacks: there are plenty of restaurants around Hvar, on Pakleni, Vis, and along the Southern shore of Hvar. However, it is always a good idea to bring some extra drinks and snacks for your boat ride. At Mario rent coolers are always included on our big rental boats, so feel free to fill them up with drinks of your choice.


      Rental periods for boats in Hvar are usually from 9 am to 7 pm. The reason 7 pm is the norm is that roughly around that time the sun starts to set in summer in Hvar, so it is important that you bring your boat back before the night because night sailing can be quite dangerous and not all boats are equipped for night sailing. Also, at Mario rent we like to have our boats back by 7 so we can clean them and refill the gas for the following day.


      Whether you are traveling with a group of friends, with your family or your significant other, boating is almost always a good idea. However, there are some instances when you should reconsider if renting a boat is worth the risk.

      First and foremost, you should check the wind situation before renting a boat or hiring one with a skipper. While most passengers will be put off by rain and cancel or reschedule their reservation, it surprises that not many travelers will even check the wind situation. This is even more important if you are hiring a boat without a skipper, that is, if you will do the driving yourself. Not to underestimate the skills of any sailor, it is just a matter of familiarity with the location and the versatility of the winds.

      Secondly, we all know a boat ride can get bumpy from time to time, even on the calmest of days. Therefore, if you or any of your co-passengers have back problems or are pregnant, it is better to reconsider your decision to go on a boat. While boat rides are generally safe for the passengers, problems occur in case of bouncing due to sudden or strong waves.



      Can I rent a boat without a license in Hvar?

      No, it is necessary to have a valid boating license to operate a boat in Croatia. Previously, renting a boat without a license in Croatia was a grey area, but it is more and more regulated and you risk hefty fines if renting a boat without a license.

      How much does it cost to hire a skipper?

      Hiring a skipper will cost you about 100 euros. So the price of renting a boat with a skipper goes from 400 euros up.

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