Pittsburgh is a great place to own a boat. But if you don’t, you can now be the captain of your own pontoon and invite nine of your closest friends onboard. Boat Pittsburgh is the region’s first self-skippered pontoon rental company, offering two boats out of the Sharpsburg Islands Marina between May and October.
For $80 an hour—the rate decreases the longer you’re out—sailor wannabes can putter down the Allegheny and take a spin around The Point, taking in the skyline and river views from the water. “We chose Sharpsburg because it’s just inside the Pittsburgh pool and is a private marina with a public launch,” says owner Nicole Moga. “We are also catering to anglers.”
A Troy Hill resident, Moga grew up on Lake Mohawk in Ohio. Having bought a pontoon in high school with her own money, she knew it was a no-brainer way for others to get out on the water. A self-starter, she bought two boats to start and believes it will really take off as a business.
Operating a pontoon is easy, she says, as long as you learn a few key skills beforehand like how to stop. A 30-minute safety overview is required before renters push off. “It’s a lot like navigating a car,” she says. “The most important thing to remember is pontoons don’t have brakes.” Oh, and keep a lookout for kayakers.
Moga owns two luxury 22-foot pontoons that comfortably seat 8 adults with a maximum capacity up to 10 if small children are aboard. The captain must have a valid driver’s license and be over 21 years old. Reservations must be made by phone first with Moga and a deposit can be made online on the company’s website.
Passengers are free to bring aboard coolers of snacks and drinks. Better yet, cruise along and dock at one of several waterfront restaurants along the way like RedFin Blues. The pontoons are permitted anywhere within the Pittsburgh Pool and prohibited beyond the locks.
Also check: Boat Rental Miami.