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How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Yacht or Boat on Sydney Harbour?

February 9, 2022

If you are figuring out the boat or yacht hire cost in Sydney Harbour, we’ve got just the information for you. And don’t worry about your budget, there’s a boat for you!

From luxury yachts, day cruising catamarans to a couples sunset sailboat, there are options for any type of event. Most boats are rented by the hour with a minimum rental of 3-4 hours. Depending on the boat, the rate can vary from $175-$5,000 per hour.

A better way to understand the cost, is by calculating how much the boat hire costs per person. That way, we can really start to compare the differences between boats based on their capacity. 

While the list of costs may be long, when everything is calculated and you break it down per person, you can get out on Sydney Harbour for 4 hours for less than $70/pp on a BYO charter. So when you think of it that way, that’s a heck of a lot better than spending that money for an afternoon at your local, right? 

In this blog, we’ll break it all down for you. So when you start to plan your boating event or day out on a yacht with friends; you’ll know exactly what to expect. It’s time to raise anchor, here we go!

Looking to Organise Private Boat Hire?

Boat hire starts at about $200/hr – what can you get for your buck? 

Small Sized VesselsLess than $300/hr

Most boats in this price range are going to be for smaller groups. These are ideal for families, couples looking for a romantic date idea on the water, or small groups of less than 10. Your small size vessel still has plenty of space to move around the boat. You’ll be able to take in a sunset, or pull into a cove and have a dip in the harbour.

Catamaran Day Cruisers$350-$800/hr

In this price range, you’re getting into catamaran day cruisers. These are beautiful and stable boats perfect for a fantastic day lounging in the sun, jumping in and out of the water and cruising around the harbour. You could expect to fit up to 43 people on these boats and they are some of our most popular value for money boats on the water.

A catamaran comes with plenty of space to lounge around or bust a move on deck to your favourite tunes. You’ll find lots of places to relax in forward nets, and you’ll be well-fed frying up a feed with a BBQ on board. These boats are perfect for a friends day out on the water and are typically the best value for your money.

Smaller Yachts and Double Decker Catamarans$650-$1,200/hr

At this price you can expect to find smaller yachts or double-decker catamarans. We typically have birthday parties and lots of catered events heading out on these boats. These boats have a lot of open and undercover space so you can enjoy a variety of relaxing in the sun, to sitting down for a feed undercover. These size vessels are perfect for groups under 50 people.

Luxury Yachts$900-$1,800/hr

From the $800/hr and up price range, you’re starting to look at your luxury yachts. These boats are perfect for that big ‘0’ birthday party, an engagement party or that corporate event where you’re looking to impress clients. These boats come with speaker systems for that keynote speech and have lots of space to cater to groups of over 50 people. We recommend catering for yachts of this size, and you’ll be able to choose from a variety of food and beverage options. You’ll enjoy a full-service experience with wait staff looking after your every need.

Want to learn more about Private Boat Hire on Sydney Harbour?


Now we’re talking! Welcome to your superyachts. These are for the ultimate entertainer. These boats are likely bigger than most houses in Sydney and come with all the bells and whistles. Many of these yachts support a capacity of up to 100+ passengers so you’ll have no problem if you have a long guest list. Perfect if you’ve got a decent budget to play with and fancy feeling like a Rockstar for the day! Or if you’re a James Bond villain exploring Sydney Harbour, but don’t worry, your secret is safe with us. 😉

Please note that time of the year plays a factor in the hourly boat hire cost. November through to February are the peak boat and yacht hire seasons in Sydney, so not only will it cost a bit more, the boats can be hired out months in advance. So make sure you lock in your date as soon as you know. You can continue to read about all the different prices, or jump to the cost breakdown of all boat hire types here.

Pro tip: Let us hold a boat for you with a small deposit and can pay the remainder closer to the date. 

Cost for wharf pick up and drop off

Every time a boat pulls into a wharf, it costs money as wharf bookings are required in Sydney. Your boat hire will have two wharf stops at a minimum for your pick up and drop off, and each one will be at least $50. So you can expect to add $100 for wharf fees. Bear in mind, if your pick up / drop off wharf is far from the city centre, it is possible that the boat owner charges you a surcharge for extra travel time. 

We will organise your pick up and drop off wharf for you and provide you with a detailed overview of costs upon quoting your boat hire. You can find all the Sydney wharf pick up spots here.

Cost of drinks and catering

The question around cost of drinks and catering is really down to you and if you will BYO or have your boat hire catered. Depending on the size of the boat, some will require compulsory catering. These are typically the boats of over 50 passengers. But let’s be honest, when it comes to that many guests, this does make sense and it makes your life as the organiser so much easier. 

BYO food and drink fees vary from $100-$200 per boat or from $15 per person.

Most boats will have a BYO fee per boat or per person. Typically this is around $100-$200 for everyone on board and it covers use of the eskies, BBQ, plates, crockery, cutlery, bins and cleaning. Keep in mind that just because it’s BYO doesn’t mean you can skimp on the food. You will need to bring your own, and it can’t be just the basics. Similar to restaurants, boats are required to follow similar RSA rules. Most boats come with a BBQ on board. The boat captain is always an expert on the grill to fry up your snags or burgers for your crew. If you’d like to order your own BYO food for the boat like pizza, just make sure to let us know beforehand so the captain can make arrangements to pick it up from a wharf. Keep in mind that this could add another wharf fee if it’s in the middle of a charter. 

Looking to Hire a Boat for your Party or Event?

Food catering and drinks packages from $20 to $200 per person

The price for food and drinks catering varies depending on the boat and event type you’re organising. For example, a simple Aussie BBQ can cost you $20/pp, whereas your full five-star meal prepared by an onboard chef can cost you up to $200/pp. 

Drinks packages usually are priced per hour, and you can expect to pay from $15/hr+ depending on the kind of drinks you’re looking to add to the package.

Cost for staff

Most smaller boats and Catamaran Day Cruisers don’t require extra staff, and provide a deckhand included in your boat hire rate to help you on the day. So don’t worry, you won’t be showing up to a wharf when someone throws you the keys and wishes you good luck. All boat hires will come with an experienced captain and crew to run the boat. 

When we talk about staff costs, we mean the cost of extra catering staff, chefs, or support for bigger groups. 

Wait staff: Typically, for catered events on yachts and bigger boats, you’ll need 1 extra wait staff per every 10 people. You can expect to pay $300 per staff member for a 4-hour boat rental. So, for a boat of 50 people, you’ll be looking to add $1,500 for boat hire wait staff. 

Chef: An on boat chef is one add-on to really kick your catered experience into high gear. A chef will be a little bit more expensive than your wait staff, and you can expect to pay $350 for a 4-hour boat hire. Depending on the number of passengers, multiple chefs may be required to keep up. 

Extra Support Staff: For some 18th or 21st birthday parties and bucks parties, extra staff will be on hand to make sure the day runs smoothly. You can expect to add $250 for the extra staff member for a 4-hour trip. 

After you provide us with the total guest number and the type of event, we will set out total costs of staff (if required) in your quote, so you’ll never be hit with any surprise costs.

Cost of onboard and in water entertainment

If you want to add even more to your experience of boat and yacht hire, you can opt for additional entertainment. You can spice up your trip by adding stand-up paddle boarding, kayaks, water mats or even a  DJ on board. Each item will usually have an extra charge. If you’re looking for water toys most boats hire these for $100-$150 per trip or included them in their rental price. Another great way to celebrate a party is to hire a DJ! For the DJ and additional required power equipment, you’d be looking at roughly $700 all up for four hours.

Anything you can think of adding, we can help make it happen for you. Think magicians, laser shooting, dancers – the sky is the limit!

For you bucks and hens, if you’re looking for something a bit cheekier, we can help you get sorted and can put you in contact with some fun entertainment. You could hire a topless waiter or waitress for 2+ hours or surprise the buck or hen with a stripper!

Hiring a boat for your Event?


The last thing to think about for your boat hire is the bond. As with a car rental, these boats and yachts are the owners’ livelihood. But not to worry, from all boat hires last year on Sydney Harbour, you would only expect 1 in 250 to have some charge. Typically this is for cigarette burns (if smoking is allowed, the captain will point out where you can light up) or clogged toilets. You’ll get a briefing before every boat trip, so if you follow the rules and guidelines, you’ll be sweet as!

Most bonds are from $1,000 – $2,000, and these vary based on the boat you hire. If the all clear is given, the hold will be released a maximum of 7 days after your charter.

A cost breakdown of boat and yacht hire on Sydney Harbour.

That was a lot, we know, imagine us, we quote these daily! So, let’s break down your boat hire cost with these quick calculation for our main boat hire requests to give you an idea of what you can expect based on your budget. *These quotes are based on our up to date 2022 prices and are not taking into account reduced COVID capacity, prices may differ.

Small Sailboat: A typical 4 hour BYO sail boat hire on Sydney Harbour costs $900 for up to 7 passengers in peak season. 

Sailboat Hire Breakdown:
Average hourly hire in peak season $200/hr x 4 hours = $800
Wharf pick up and drop off = $100
Amenity BYO food and drink fee: Included

Cost per person for your small sailboat hire $130/pp

Catamaran Day Cruiser: A typical 4 hour BYO catamaran boat party hire on Sydney Harbour costs $3,250 for 43 passengers in peak season.

Catamaran Hire Breakdown:
Average hourly hire in peak season $750/hr x 4 hours = $3,000
Wharf pick up and drop off = $100
Amenity BYO food and drink fee: $150

Cost per person for your catamaran hire $75/pp

Small Yacht or Double Decker Catamaran: A typical 4 hour BYO small yacht or double decker catamaran hire on Sydney Harbour costs $3,760 for 40 passengers in peak season.

Small Yacht Hire Breakdown:
Average hourly hire in peak season $790/hr x 4 hours = $3,160
Wharf pick up and drop off = $100
BYO food fee: $250 
BYO drink fee: $250

Cost per person for your small yacht hire $94/pp 

Luxury Yacht: A typical 4 hour ALL INCL. luxury motor yacht hire on Sydney Harbour costs $13,440 for 58 passengers in peak season. This yacht hire includes staff, catering, and drinks package.

Luxury Motor Yacht Hire Breakdown:
Average hourly hire in peak season $1,000/hr x 4 hours = $4,000
Wharf pick up and drop off = $100
Catering packages $70 per person $70 x 58 = $4,060
Drinks package: $60 x 58 = $3,480
Waitstaff: 6 x $300 = $1,800

Cost per person for your luxury yacht hire $232pp

Super Yacht: A typical 4 hour ALL INCL. 5 star luxury yacht hire on Sydney Harbour costs $21,670 for 65 passengers in peak season. This yacht hire includes staff, catering, and drinks package.

Super Yacht Hire Breakdown:
Average hourly hire in peak season $2,500/hr x 4 hours = $10,000
Wharf pick up and drop off = $120
Catering with canapes $70 per person = $70 x 65 = $4,550
Drinks package: $70 x 65 = $4,550
Waitstaff: 7 x $300 = $2,100
Chef $350

The cost per person for your super yacht hire $333/pp

Now that I have an idea about cost, what’s next?

Now you know what your boat hire costs, and have calculated your budget, let’s check availability for boats or yachts perfect for your next event. At Sydney Harbour Days, we’ve built partnerships with multiple boats and yacht companies to ensure we can offer you the right option for your event. So why book with us?

  • Local Sydney business with a dedicated and experienced staff member to help you plan your day
  • An array of great yachts and boats for hire for groups of any size and budget
  • Exclusive and private skippered cruises with captain and staff
  • Easy & stress-free booking process

And best of all, you pay the same price as booking directly with the boat company but have the ease of having us do the running around for you. Sounds good, right?

Ready To Set Sail Or Find Out More?

Ready to get out on the water?

Contact our team today to get started.