Sea Monkey Party Boat Hire Sydney Harbour

Why a BYO Cruise on Sydney Harbour is the Ultimate Friends Day Out

October 25, 2021

If you want to rent a boat and spend the day with friends on Sydney Harbour, there is no better way than organising a BYO boat cruise. Your crew, the views, the music, the drinks… the perfect weekend! 

We’re sure you’ll agree that Sydney Harbour is the best backdrop in the world for a get together with your mates. Then to add to the experience, organising your own private party boat hire makes it that little bit more special. With capacity from 7 up to 100+ guests, there is a boat out there for any group size. And it all costs a lot less, and is a lot easier to organise than you may think.

Let’s take a look at the ins and outs of a BYO boat hire on Sydney Harbour. We will explain everything from what happens on the day, what type of BYO food and drinks we recommend for your boat cruise, the costs you’d be looking at and the booking process. Sounds pretty good right?

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What happens on a Sydney BYO boat cruise?

If you hire a party boat for you and your group on Sydney Harbour, the day is yours, no matter what floats your boat! All boats we hire come with skipper and crew included, and based on your preferences they can cruise all across Sydney Harbour, making sure you see all the iconic spots. Imagine cruising under the Sydney Harbour Bridge, past Sydney Opera House and along Taronga Zoo, taking group pics – and the occasional selfie – all along the way. A great opportunity to update your social media profile pic!

As we mentioned before, there are boats for all groups. Every boat has a maximum capacity that they are legally allowed to have onboard. As you pay an hourly rate for the boat hire and you don’t pay per person, you might as well take advantage and pack it out with all of your favourite people.

Afternoon BYO Boat Cruises

If you organise your BYO cruise for the afternoon, you can make the most of being out on Sydney Harbour and take a little dip in the water. Let the captain know you’re interested in swimming to be taken to a secluded spot to drop the anchor. Some of the boats provide lily pads (large swimming mats) free of charge or for a small fee. They make for a great way to cool down on those beautiful sunny Sydney days, and will make the water fun for all those on board. Looking to be a bit more active? There are also vessels that offer paddle boards and kayaks included in the boat hire. Ask us about water toys!

Evening BYO Boat Cruises

Cruising in the afternoon is fantastic but being out on the Harbour in the evening is also pretty special. Not only will you get to see the sunset on Sydney Harbour, there is something magical about being on the water at night. After the sunset you will see the lights turn on over Sydney’s iconic skyline, and as the surroundings settle and become quiet, being out on the boat will feel even more exclusive.

Almost all boats have Bluetooth speaker connections so bringing your Spotify playlist will be great! And if you’re looking to kick your friends day up a notch, we can help you get your own personal DJ! Let us know in advance and we will send you boat options with enough space and equipment to facilitate this. Bonus: We have created a few Sydney Harbour Days party playlists for you to enjoy on the day. 

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What type of BYO food and drinks do we recommend for your boat hire? Any BYO catering suggestions?

All BYO boats charge a BYO/Amenities fee which includes the use of the onboard BBQ. Whatever food you bring, the skipper will cook for you. The boat will also supply eskies to keep your drinks nice and chilled. Ice is not always included in the BYO fee but often can be added on to your booking, or you can pick some up yourself. No worries, we will let you know everything you need to know to be fully prepared for your day on the water.

So what type of food should you bring on your boat cruise? Here a few popular BYO catering suggestions:

Sausage Sizzle
Buy some chicken and veggie kebabs, sausages, some sliced onions, potato and coleslaw salads, a couple of bread rolls per person and organise a basic yet yummy sausage sizzle. In particular popular for groups who cruise during the day. It’s amazing what the smell of sausages on the barbie does to a person who’s been splashing around in the water all day!

Burger BBQ
Organise some beef and veggie burgers, sliced tomato, pineapple, beetroot, chopped lettuce, sliced onion, sliced cheese and a couple of bread rolls per person and you can cook up an epic little burger feast. Your group will definitely be loving this for lunch and/or dinner.

Don’t fancy cooking? Get pizza delivered at your pick up wharf, or talk to us and we will see if we can organise to cruise past a wharf during the day or night to pick up the goods!

Cheese platters, fruit platters and antipasto platters always do very well on BYO boat cruises. You can either get creative yourself and load up your platter with a selection of cold meats, bread sticks, crackers, sun dried tomatoes, dips, olives, cashews and a selection of fruits, or you can get a caterer to prepare it for you a deliver it at the wharf. 

What type of drinks work on a private boat charter? Here a few popular BYO drinks suggestions:

You can bring whatever you and your group fancies to drink, but bear in mind you are on a boat. Things move around, get wet and depending on the vessel there might not be a lot of space. Hence we suggest keeping it simple. Making cocktails seems like a great and fun idea, but putting it into practise can be a bit messy on a boat. Bringing bottles of wine, bottles of bubbly and beers (cans work best) however normally pleases everyone. Plus these items fit well in the eskies and are easy to pour and keep chilled.

If all of the above seems like too much work to organise, talk to us about boat catering. You can also read more about catering in our blog BYO or Catering for your Sydney Boat Hire

How much does a private BYO cruise cost?

Costs for hiring a BYO boat differ per boat type, per boating season and even per day of the week. Most vessels have peak rates during Nov – Feb and for the Saturdays within this period. Want to save some pennies? See if you can get a crew together on a weekday, including Friday evening.

To give you a better idea of how much it would cost for one of our most popular BYO rental vessels, here is a breakdown. We have chosen to cover three of our bestsellers, but can supply you a quote for all vessels we have on our website

The rates displayed below are Saturday rates in peak season, so you can expect a lower rate if you are booking off-peak, for instance for a Friday or Sunday.

Woorabinda Catamaran Hire – max 20 guests
Fun Australian designed and built cruiser catamaran featuring 360-degree views from its open-plan layout.

4 Hour Boat Hire (Saturdays): $1,500 (4 x $375/hr)
BYO/Amenities Fee (excl ice): $150
Wharf Fees: $100
Total: $1,750 (or $87.50/pp with 20 guests)

Ali B Catamaran Hire – max 45 guests
Newly renovated multi level catamaran with a large upper deck and a large internal dining space that can be converted to a dance floor.

4 Hour Boat Hire (31 – 45 passengers on Saturdays): $2,800 (4 x $700/hr)
BYO/Amenities Fee (excl ice): $150
Wharf Fees: $100
Total: $3,050 (or $67.80/pp with 45 guests)

As you can see above, boats are rented by the hour, and typically are rented for 4 hours. Some boats allow for a minimum rental of 3 hours depending on the time of day of the rental. 

The good thing about a BYO cruise is that you can keep the costs of food and drinks down. As everyone will be chipping in, it will be good for everyone’s wallet, plus people get to eat and drink what they actually like!

If you’d like to read more in detail about how much it costs to hire other boats or (super) yachts on Sydney Harbour, have a read of the blog How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Yacht or Boat on Sydney Harbour. Here you can learn more about costs per vessel type and what this works out to be per person.

How to book your BYO Party Boat Hire?

Ok so you’re convinced and are ready to organise a private BYO cruise! Awesome. This is where we come into the picture to help you book it all in. And we promise we will make it easy for you. All we need from you is to know the approximate date you would like to cruise on, the rough group size and we will send you available options and pricing. 

Sydney Wharfs for pick up and drop off

Once you’ve selected your boat, we will talk to you about available pick up and drop off locations. For BYO boat cruises, it usually works best to choose a pick up from a wharf close to a bottle shop. King Street Wharf in the city centre is one of our most popular wharf picks as it has several bottle shops and supermarkets in the close vicinity, to pick up the last bits and bobs.

If this wharf doesn’t suit your group, there are an abundance of other Sydney wharfs to choose from. We will help you decide which one is best for your group.

Confirming your booking

Then we will send you an overview of all details (pick up and drop off location, date, boat name, cruise time and pricing) and to lock in your cruise, we will request a 50% deposit which you can pay via bank transfer or credit card. The remainder is due closer to your cruise date.

Once we have received your deposit, we will confirm with you everything you need to know to get ready for your day out on Sydney Harbour. Our Ultimate Boat Party Checklist will also be a helpful guide to make sure you have everything with you on the day.

Cruising Sydney Harbour with your friends sure is an amazing time. Catching up with everyone in an exclusive and beautiful environment will really set the tone for a great day. And the fact that you can do this without it breaking the bank is a great little bonus!

Are you ready to hire your perfect boat for your Sydney Harbour BYO Boat Party?

We hope that our blog on BYO boat hire for your Sydney Harbour party or event has been helpful for you. If you’d like to read more about private party boat hire, check out the dedicated party boat hire page on our website.

A Sydney Harbour boat party is perfect if you are looking for a small intimate gathering or that ultimate party on a catamaran or yacht.

We’ve helped plan BYO boat parties of all kinds so know what to look for when narrowing down your options. And did you know that you don’t pay anything extra when booking through us? Prices are exactly the same as when booking directly with a boat owner!

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