Renting a Boat on Lake St. Clair: What You Need to Know
March 26 | 10 min
The 8 best places to take your rental boat this summer for the perfect Southwestern Ontario getaway.
With arguably the Best Sport Lake in Ontario and bustling rivers, it’s no wonder that vacationers and locals alike flock to Lake St. Clair. Come explore Ontario’s Best Waterways!
As summer approaches, residents and visitors of Windsor Essex County have a unique advantage over other areas in the province – being surrounded by water. If you’re looking for a fun way to enjoy the summer months, renting a boat in the Windsor Essex County area is the perfect option for you!
With access to Lake St. Clair, the Detroit River, and Lake Erie, there are endless possibilities for boating adventures in the region. From cruising along the riverfront and taking in the sights and sounds of downtown Windsor to fishing in the clear waters of Lake St. Clair, there’s something for everyone.
So here are some great boating destinations on Lake St. Clair you need to know before you go!
WAIT, DO I NEED A LICENSE TO RENT A BOAT?
Worried about having the right license and all the right paperwork? Don’t! Getting your pleasure craft operator card is easy and affordable. Go to the Canada Boat Safety website and you can be licensed in just a few hours!
Although it is strongly recommended, you do not need a pleasure craft operator card to rent a boat in Ontario. There are specific requirements for a person without proof of competency who want to rent a pleasure craft fitted with a motor. This includes the completion of the Rental Boat Safety Checklist with the rental boat service; understanding the knowledge and skills given by the rental boat service; signing the Rental Boat Safety Checklist; and carrying onboard the co-signed section of the Rental Boat Safety Checklist as proof of competency for the duration of the rental. It’s also recommended that you be aware of the rental operator’s responsibilities and watch the safety video provided by company.
So once you’ve decided what to rent whether it be a fish boat, waverunner, seadoo, jetski, jet boat, pontoon boat or any other type of motor boat… where do you start? We’ve put together a list of places to take your vessel/ watercraft that will make for a memorable day on the water.
WHAT ARE THE BEST PLACES TO TAKE A RENTAL BOAT NEAR ME?
Here’s an up-to-date list of the most popular boating places on Lake St. Clair and it’s tributary rivers.
1. The Red Barn, Lake St. Clair, Puce (Lakeshore), Ontario
Located just east of the Puce River this swimming hole is a popular weekend anchorage where you will find dozens of boats moored in shallow waters with people walking between boats in waist deep waters. It became a popular
waypoint with boaters saying “Let’s meet at the red barn” (it’s actually orange) Nonetheless, most weekends you will see plenty of motorboats, pontoon boats and jet skis anchored here.
2 . Bassett Island, Lake St. Clair, Walpole Island First Nation
The shallow waters just off Bassett Island are clean and clear and shimmer with hues of blue and aegean like the Caribbean. While it’s a long ride across the lake once you arrive you will know it with many boats moored on most weekends in summer. There are sandbars a few hundred meters from shore that make for ideal anchorages that allow boaters to walk around easily for children and pets to play.
3 . The Hump, Lake St. Clair, Belle River (Lakeshore), Ontario
Perhaps one of the best fishing holes on the Lake. It’s loaded with fish. The Belle River Hump is a common winning
location for big tournaments. Northeast of the Belle River Marina, anglers flock to this waypoint to reel in the big one.
4 . The Thames River Inlet, Lighthouse Cove, Tilbury, Ontario
Lighthouse Cove at the mouth of the Thames River and Lake St. Clair is home to a lighthouse that is 200 years old and one of the three oldest on the Great Lakes. This sleepy little community is home to just a few hundred people but it’s many channels have a Florida intracoastal vibe. It’s a great spot to spend a long weekend with a wonderful Airbnb at Waterfront Marina for vacationers that want a nautical getaway with convenient access to the water. You can idle up river for many kilometres for a laid back afternoon or go play on Lake St Clair.
5 . Peche Island, Detroit River, Windsor, Ontario
Peche Island is an uninhabited, 86-acre island in the Detroit River, at its opening into Lake Saint Clair. It is just 330 meters from the Windsor shore.
The island was formed from a peninsula of the Canadian shore by the action of the Detroit River. There is a central marsh on the island. The present channel was eroded until the core of the island remained. There are man-made channels cut through the island to ensure fresh water supply and recreational opportunities.
Formerly an Ontario provincial park, ownership was transferred to the City of Windsor in 1999. The Detroit River passes 183 meters off its northern shore and daily 1,000-foot-long ships pass.
The island offers attractive Detroit city views, a wide sandy beach and shallow river bottom, and is a favourite with summer boaters. Boaters, canoes and kayakers can enjoy the island’s trails and beaches and approximately 4 km of canals. The park is open only during the day. Nearby is Windsor’s public marina, Lakeview Park Marina, Windsor Yacht Club and a terrific waterfront eatery with transient slips for boaters; The Harbour House.
6 . Mitchell’s Bay, Lake St Clair, Ontario
Located along the Northeast shore of Lake St. Clair, Mitchell’s Bay Marine Park has many different vacation and recreational activities – camping, boating, picnicking, swimming, fishing, and playgrounds.
Known as one of the Best Sport Fishing Areas in Ontario the marina is host to several fishing events. The water is shallow here but the channels are well marked.
7 . The Detroit River, Windsor, Ontario
The Detroit River is one of the busiest waterways in Canada with boats and ships of all sizes. There’s a lot of boat
traffic for sure. The stretch sees more commercial vessels passing through each year than the Suez and Panama
Canals combined! Another 8000 vessels cross the water carrying goods between Canada and the U.S. As for pleasure craft, there are slips and docks for 12,000 boats along the Detroit River alone. The waterway cuts between two large cities that seem close enough to toss a ball over it. Cruising under the Ambassador Bridge is an iconic moment as is floating in front of the GM Renaissance Center towers.
….and last but not least, our own home port, the Puce River Marina and….. The Sandbar Waterfront Grill
8 . The Sandbar Waterfront Grill, Lake St. Clair, Puce (Lakeshore), Ontario
Just a short drive from Windsor, this charming marina with its colourful buildings features one of the areas best waterfront restaurants—The Sandbar Waterfront Grill. Their large patio, with live entertainment most weekends, makes for the perfect way to complete your day on the water. Reservations recommended as this place is popular!