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Old 07-14-2020, 02:09 PM   #1
WinniVisit
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Default Renting a Boat - recommendations?

Hello,

We have been going up to Meredith area for many years but are looking to rent a boat and explore the lake for a day.

Any recommendations on where to rent from?
Any tips on what to do and what not to do?
Any tips on how to spend the day exploring the lake?

Thanks
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Old 07-14-2020, 02:55 PM   #2
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If I were exploring the lake for the day, I would start as early as possible at Trexler's and head over to the Swallow Boathouse in Senter Cove, Black Cat Island Bridge to see Becky's Garden (might not be there, though), and back to Sally's Gut, stopping at Bear Island to check out the chapel on the way. After Sally's Gut, head to the Weirs to check things out and under the Governor's Island Bridge.

From there, head over to West Alton sandbar for a bit OR lunch at Pop's in Alton Bay.

Afterward, head to Wolfeboro Town Docks for dinner and ice cream at Bailey's Bubble before getting ready for the sunset.

Cruise from Wolfeboro through the Broads enjoying the sunset all the way over to the Long Island Bridge and back to Trexler's.

An alternative would be to start at Melvin Village Marina and explore up to Greene's Basin and back first.

These would require FULL days and great weather.

Godspeed!

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Old 07-14-2020, 03:13 PM   #3
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Are you an experienced boater? and in the size and type of boat you are renting??

If not, I would not consider it, Winnipesaukee is not the best lake to start your boating experience on. Maybe try Winnisquam, I think a good size pontoon on Winnisquam is a safer and more enjoyable outing for a novice.

In either case, beware that most boat rentals outfits no longer offer insurance, so if you hit anything you will pay the full price for the repair and maybe even lost rental time. So carefully read the rental contract.

If you are experienced boater, and committed to boating on Winnipesaukee, I personally suggest you stick to the south side of the lake. Get a map first study it and find the spots you want to see, and only go during the middle of the week!

If you start at Meredith, you can visit the Weirs, Lake Port sandbar, cruise by Governors island, then down to the West Alton sandbar, hop over to Wolfboro, down to Alton town docks, and then hopefully a nice safe trip back to Meredith and it can all be done in one long day. Or any subset of those locations.

Alternatively, you can also hire a captain and a party/pontoon boat and they can show you around, and help you build a sense of comfort before you try it yourself. A good captain would make the trip very enjoyable and safe, and its a good way to transition to making the trip yourself.

Hope you find an option that suits you, and have a safe and fun trip.

ATB
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Old 07-14-2020, 03:16 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thinkxingu View Post
If I were exploring the lake for the day, I would start as early as possible at Trexler's and head over to the Swallow Boathouse in Senter Cove, Black Cat Island Bridge to see Becky's Garden (might not be there, though), and back to Sally's Gut, stopping at Bear Island to check out the chapel on the way. After Sally's Gut, head to the Weirs to check things out and under the Governor's Island Bridge.

From there, head over to West Alton sandbar for a bit OR lunch at Pop's in Alton Bay.

Afterward, head to Wolfeboro Town Docks for dinner and ice cream at Bailey's Bubble before getting ready for the sunset.

Cruise from Wolfeboro through the Broads enjoying the sunset all the way over to the Long Island Bridge and back to Trexler's.

An alternative would be to start at Melvin Village Marina and explore up to Greene's Basin and back first.

These would require FULL days and great weather.

Godspeed!

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Is there a public dock to tie up to to check out the church?
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Old 07-14-2020, 03:18 PM   #5
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Is there a public dock to tie up to to check out the church?
There is a small one, yes.

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Old 07-14-2020, 04:21 PM   #6
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I'd suggest renting a boat in Wolfeboro at either Goodhue or WCYC on a weekday. There is much less traffic down this way and many fewer navigation hazards. You still get to enjoy Wolfeboro, Alton Bay, the Alton sandbar and maybe venture to to the Weirs. That's a pretty full day with lots to see and it gives you a way to get used to Winni navigation. Paying for a new lower unit isn't fun.
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Old 07-14-2020, 04:33 PM   #7
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Default Church Dock

There is a small dock in a cove on the southwest side of Bear Island. See https://stjohnsonthelake.org for information about this special place. ��

Last edited by Barney Bear; 07-15-2020 at 03:58 PM. Reason: Corrected contact address
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Old 07-14-2020, 04:53 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thinkxingu View Post
If I were exploring the lake for the day, I would start as early as possible at Trexler's and head over to the Swallow Boathouse in Senter Cove, Black Cat Island Bridge to see Becky's Garden (might not be there, though), and back to Sally's Gut, stopping at Bear Island to check out the chapel on the way. After Sally's Gut, head to the Weirs to check things out and under the Governor's Island Bridge.

From there, head over to West Alton sandbar for a bit OR lunch at Pop's in Alton Bay.

Afterward, head to Wolfeboro Town Docks for dinner and ice cream at Bailey's Bubble before getting ready for the sunset.

Cruise from Wolfeboro through the Broads enjoying the sunset all the way over to the Long Island Bridge and back to Trexler's.

An alternative would be to start at Melvin Village Marina and explore up to Greene's Basin and back first.

These would require FULL days and great weather.

Godspeed!

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Just curious: My first though about telling anyone who usually goes to Meredith to start at the northern end of the lake is that you just added 45 minutes or more to the drive up (and down Moultonborough Neck Road) and the ride home. Why not start at a place more central or in the southern part of the lake? And, that doesn't even consider the Meredith traffic!

If the are coming up from Mass for the day (and I don't know if that is true) it will make for a much longer day.
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Old 07-14-2020, 05:11 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by TiltonBB View Post
Just curious: My first though about telling anyone who usually goes to Meredith to start at the northern end of the lake is that you just added 45 minutes or more to the drive up (and down Moultonborough Neck Road) and the ride home. Why not start at a place more central or in the southern part of the lake? And, that doesn't even consider the Meredith traffic!

If the are coming up from Mass for the day (and I don't know if that is true) it will make for a much longer day.
The ride from Meredith to Trexler's is 20 minutes, about the same time it would take to get out of that absurdly long Meredith Bay NWZ. By doing so, they'd see more/different parts of the lake and some of the best sites from a central location. It would also allow ending where I think the sunset is best while providing more flexibility to continue north if time allows as well as getting through the crappy Washing Machine early and once.

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Old 07-14-2020, 05:31 PM   #10
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Default Welcome

Winnivisit, welcome to the Forum.
I agree with TiltonBB. Start in Meredith. Don't rush to get to too many places.
Naswa Beach Bar in Weirs Channel is great for lunch, dock attendants to help you tie up, no wind to make docking difficult. Akwa Marine in Meredith Bay closer to the Weirs is also good food, eat outdoors, great views. I think they have dock attendants too. If you want to go a little farther, The Lyons Den in Glendale is excellent and there are places in Cenetr Harbor that you can get to with easy navigation.
If you are new to boating, take the online boater safety course. You will need a safe boater certificate to rent a boat. You can get a temp from the rental agent but why take vacation/rental time out of the day? Everybody should take the course so everybody can take turns driving. NH laws and buoys are different from other states, so take the NH course.
We,, in exchange for moistly good advice, expect a report and maybe a picture or two.

Have fun
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Old 07-15-2020, 11:36 AM   #11
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Default RE: Renting a Boat - recommendations?

1) I have driven boats in the past but inexperienced
2) I plan on being extremely careful and well prepared.
(ex: avoid traffic like Meredith Bay and no need to go through Weirs Channel etc)
3) Hoping to rent on a weekday
4) Looking to rent near Meredith - possibly Shep Browns

just looking to cruise, maybe tube, stop at an island, take a few breaks at sand bars and/or beaches
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Old 07-15-2020, 11:41 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WinniVisit View Post
1) I have driven boats in the past but inexperienced
2) I plan on being extremely careful and well prepared.
(ex: avoid traffic like Meredith Bay and no need to go through Weirs Channel etc)
3) Hoping to rent on a weekday
4) Looking to rent near Meredith - possibly Shep Browns

just looking to cruise, maybe tube, stop at an island, take a few breaks at sand bars and/or beaches
Rent it from Shep's (don't know how their selection/prices compare but they seem to rent a lot of boats) and you'll have pretty easy, not too tricky access to many of the spots others have suggested.
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Old 07-16-2020, 08:46 AM   #13
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Over on Golden Pond, about a ten minute drive north up Rt 3/25 from the big intersection in Meredith, there is River Edge Marina. Big Squam lake, aka 'Golden Pond' is the second largest lake in NH after Lake Winnipesaukee and is a very different, more quiet, more trees, more green, less boat traffic, type of a lake.

For $175/day, www.riveredgemarina.com has a 15', 1989 aluminum, bow-rider fishing boat with a windshield, steering wheel, seats/3 or 4, with a 25-hp Honda that is just the right type of boat for Squam Lake.

Re-live 1989 on scenic Squam Lake with a no-worry, reliable, quiet, clean Honda from '2012' or some year?!
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Old 07-16-2020, 09:08 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WinniVisit View Post
1) I have driven boats in the past but inexperienced
2) I plan on being extremely careful and well prepared.
(ex: avoid traffic like Meredith Bay and no need to go through Weirs Channel etc)
3) Hoping to rent on a weekday
4) Looking to rent near Meredith - possibly Shep Browns

just looking to cruise, maybe tube, stop at an island, take a few breaks at sand bars and/or beaches
Being "inexperienced" brings its own alarm bells to us here on the forum. An ABUNDANCE of caution is needed, but don't be scared away- we all were inexperienced once. The biggest adjustment will be to our Navigational aids (Cardinal system). And ALWAYS remember not to follow anyone thinking they know where they are going.

If you are mid week, that is by far the best time -- significantly less traffic and sand bars accessible without the extreme crowds.

I would like to suggest a more central location to start -- Gilford. and would also suggest that a "newbie" take a pontoon rental as opposed to v-hull.

Here is one suggestion for what it is worth https://faysboatyard.com/boat-rentals/.
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Old 07-16-2020, 09:14 AM   #15
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Lots of talk about the difficulty of navigating, but I think the most difficult/dangerous situations occur around docking/anchoring when the captain is in unfamiliar situations and needs to make quick decisions. Add in a rental with inferior anchoring gear and unfamiliar tie-ups, and (I think) it's much easier to match buoys up on a chart.

Ultimately, we need to know what your goals are: site seeing, as I assumed given your "exploration" wording or relaxation in Winni's finest areas.

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Old 07-16-2020, 01:25 PM   #16
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Always know where you are! On my first visit to the lake almost 30 years ago, my girlfriend and I rented a small V-hull. The marina insisted I buy a map as well and they oriented me to the navigational aids. While I thought I managed the day fairly well, I was shocked when we came back to the dock and they raised the prop for inspection. There were some minor dings! At some point I had been in water shallower than I knew. I did get my deposit back as the damage was pretty minor but it served as a stark lesson on the perils of navigating the lake. As Phantom said, never follow anyone with the assumption that they know where they are going! Iíve seen several folks over the years fly through areas with only luck keeping them from a rock!


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Old 07-16-2020, 01:45 PM   #17
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Always know where you are! On my first visit to the lake almost 30 years ago, my girlfriend and I rented a small V-hull. The marina insisted I buy a map as well and they oriented me to the navigational aids. While I thought I managed the day fairly well, I was shocked when we came back to the dock and they raised the prop for inspection. There were some minor dings! At some point I had been in water shallower than I knew. I did get my deposit back as the damage was pretty minor but it served as a stark lesson on the perils of navigating the lake. As Phantom said, never follow anyone with the assumption that they know where they are going! Iíve seen several folks over the years fly through areas with only luck keeping them from a rock!


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Yes. It really is amazing to me how many people have no idea where they are on the lake. It was probably about the same timeframe, about 30 years ago, and we had all been out and came back to my parents house who live on a point. We could hear people talking and couldnít figure why. They have a very private lot on a point across from 5 mile Island. Itís very rocky around the point and very shallow in some places. My father never even tried after a while to come in to the shallow back area because he was always dinging his propeller even when someone was looking and saying thereís a rock thereís a rock etc.

We were shocked to see four people, who had obviously been drinking, standing next to the boat which was lying next to the house. Apparently, they had hit one of the rocks and the boat had planed into the air and came down on dry land. They didnít know what to do because they thought they were on an island!
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Old 07-17-2020, 08:44 AM   #18
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Well -- If we are to share those types of stories --

Last summer, as we were passing by, I noticed a pontoon boat with a group of 20 somethings aboard drifting in the middle of the Witches. My first impressions were that they had hit/run aground so knowing the hazards we went in as close as I would dare. Asking them if they were okay, the "flippant" reply comes back "Ya - Why?"...……….. So I asked them if they know where they are -- the more flippant answer was " Ya, Lake Winnipesaukee" ……. shaking my head, I simply replied that you are actually in the middle of perhaps the most dangerous rock pile on the Lake and don't even realize it !!

I left them to their fate !
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Old 07-17-2020, 08:55 AM   #19
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Well -- If we are to share those types of stories --

Last summer, as we were passing by, I noticed a pontoon boat with a group of 20 somethings aboard drifting in the middle of the Witches. My first impressions were that they had hit/run aground so knowing the hazards we went in as close as I would dare. Asking them if they were okay, the "flippant" reply comes back "Ya - Why?"...……….. So I asked them if they know where they are -- the more flippant answer was " Ya, Lake Winnipesaukee" ……. shaking my head, I simply replied that you are actually in the middle of perhaps the most dangerous rock pile on the Lake and don't even realize it !!

I left them to their fate !
And most likely they pulled a shamrock out of their a$$es and got away without damaging anything...
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Old 07-17-2020, 11:18 AM   #20
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Default Meredith Marina rents boats

Meredith Marina has a wide variety of newer boats for rent; most this year's or last year's models. Pontoons, deck boats, bow-riders, etc. Contact Tracy at 603-279-7921 for details.

Regarding navigation, get a chart and make sure the boat has a compass; they will explain how to read the chart and which side to go on using the compass.
I agree about not trusting the boat in front of you; go with what the chart tells you. When in doubt, slow down, refer to the chart and the compass and then make your decision.... OR, just turn around and go in another direction.

Good luck and have a great time on this beautiful lake. Pick a sunny day and you won't be disappointed.
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