Hot Tub Boat Tour: Everything You Need To Know

The stereotype of sailing is quite romantic and sophisticated. But operating a sailboat (or steering a speed boat) can be a lot of work. Besides, lazing in a hot tub is so much more fun! Still … what if you could do both? These days, you can! Hot tub boats let you enjoy the waves while soaking in a portable spa. Let’s learn more about hot tub boat tours around the world.

What is a Hot Tub Boat Tour?

What is a Hot Tub Boat Tour

A hot tub boat tour is a leisurely sailing experience that you can now enjoy in many parts of the world, and even here in the US. Some popular global spots for hot tub boat tours include London, New York, Rotterdam, Turku, Seattle, Helsinki, Zurich, and Fort Lauderdale.

What Kind of Boat is Used for Hot Tub Boat Tours?

Hot tub boats are made of wood, sometimes with a fiberglass finish. The water is heated using a wood-burning stove encased in stainless steel, and the boat is propelled by an electric motor. The boat also has a steering rod to control the direction and speed of the hot tub boat.

Can You Use Any Other Boat for Hot Tub Boat Tours?

No, you need a specifically designated hot tub boat. And no, not all hot tub boats are the same. The earliest design was a Dutch boat called the Hot Tug. Lots of other companies are building hot tub boats now, in various layouts and styles. It has to be a hot tub boat though.

Who Built the First Hot Tub Boat?

Frank de Bruijn built the first-ever hot tub boat in 2012. He’s a designer based in The Netherlands and he lives on a barge. Since he had no space on his massive houseboat for a hot tub, he built a separate floating one named the Hot Tug. It was CE-certified in 2013.

How is the Hot Tug Different from Other Hot Tub Boats?

The Hot Tug is shaped like a teardrop and brightly colored (orange, green, blue, etc.). Its wooden body is coated in fiberglass, and it can hold a maximum of 7 people. That’s 6 people plus a designated driver, who – unfortunately – has to stay sober. It needs zero maintenance.

What Other Hot Tub Boats Are Currently Available?

What Other Hot Tub Boats Are Currently Available

The variety of hot tub boats is broad and vast. In New York, you can ride a Sea the City Hot Tub Boat that’s constructed as a regular yacht with two built-in hot tubs. Each tub can host 10 people (so 20 guests total), but you need a professional pilot and crew to run the boat.

Can I Get a Hot Tub Boat in a Different Design?

Yes. A typical hot tub boat can cost about $25,000, but a customized one from Seattle will go for $75,000 or more. Sea the City had their boat customized for their touring requirements, and you can too. They currently have hot tub boat tours in Manhattan and Fort Lauderdale.

Do I Have to Buy My Own Hot Tub Boat?

Not really. The kinds of people who love boating are unlikely to want a hot tub boat, though you can buy it for commercial purposes if you want to run a rental service. But you can buy one in your chosen design. Hot Tugs are currently imported by Scott Wilson of Hot Tug USA.

How Much is it to Rent a Hot Tub Boat?

How Much is it to Rent a Hot Tub Boat

Renting a hot tub boat will cost you roughly $400 in the US. But rates vary depending on the location, size, and nature of the tour. In some places, weekday rentals are as low as $350 while weekend rentals can go up to $900. In London, the hot tub boat tour costs £220.

Where Do Hot Tub Tours Go?

Depending on your city, you can check out the routes for hot tub boat tours online, but we can give you a few examples. In London, the hot tub tour goes along the River Thames. In New York, it floats along the Hudson River, while in Florida, it sails the Stranahan River.

Are Hot Tub Boat Tours Just for Rivers?

No. A hot tub boat (particularly the Hot Tug) is considered unsinkable, so you can ride it in any setting, including lakes and seas. But hot tub tours often have designated routes. This lets you see the most optimal sights while staying within reach of the hot tub rental staffers.

Do You Need Any Special Skills to Pilot a Hot Tub Boat?

The simplest hot tub boat to operate is the Hot Tug, which is a patented brand. You use the steering rod to direct the boat, and anyone can do it. Most hot tub tour companies will give you a quick lesson if you want to drive the boat yourself, but you can also hire a driver.

Is There an Age Limit on Hot Tub Boat Tours?

Yes. Every hot tub rental company has its own rules and regulations. Sea the City (Florida and NYC) have bigger boats with two hot tubs each, so the age limit is 13 years. In Lake Union, the age limit is 2 years, but anyone under 18 years must come with an adult.

Is It Safe to Take a Hot Tub Boat Tour?

Of course! Hot tub boats – especially Hot Tugs – are unsinkable (#FamousLastWords). But in cities and urban areas, these tours often stay in safe, skinny water. You can even jump off the boat, splash about in the water, then get back in. Kids under 12 years need life jackets.

Can You Take a Hot Tub Tour in Wet Weather?

Can You Take a Hot Tub Tour in Wet Weather

Yes. Most hot tub boats have low sides – low enough to dive into the water. And they don’t have covers, so you’re going to get wet from waves and water splashes. That said, it’s safe to ride the hot tub boat in rain or snow, but it’s not advisable if there’s lightning or thunder.

How Hot is the Water in a Hot Tub Boat Tour?

Typically, a Hot Tug can reach temperatures of 104°F. If you get overheated and are sailing safe waters, you can jump into the river or lake to cool off them get back into the hot tub boat to warm up. That’s why it’s safe to sail even when it’s snowing, the water warms you right up!

Can You Control the Heat Levels on a Hot Tub Boat?

Yes. The wood burner is encased in stainless steel, so it gets cooled by the water you’re sailing on and it won’t scald you. But if you want the hot tub water to get hotter or colder, check the thermometer. You can add wood, reduce wood, close the grate, or open the grate.

How Fast is a Hot Tub Boat Tour?

How Fast is a Hot Tub Boat Tour

Your standard Hot Tug can hit speeds of 3mph but some customized ones can get up to 5mph. And that means yes, you can get seasick in a hot tub, so if you’re prone to that, take some medication before you board the boat or you may end up puking over the side. Not fun!

What Should I Bring to a Hot Tub Boat Tour?

You need a bathing suit or a pair of shorts and a t-shirt. Sunglasses are probably good, and maybe sunscreen if it’s waterproof. But some hot tub rental companies will provide towels, waterproof phone cases, speakers, and water bottles. You can carry some snacks if you like.

Can I Drink Alcohol on a Hot Tub Boat Tour?

That depends on where you’re taking the tour. On the London and Manhattan Hot Tub Boat Tours, the policy is BYOB so you can carry unlimited beer and wine but no hard liquor. And the designated driver must stay sober. But in Seattle and Rotterdam, no booze on the boat!

Can I Use a Hot Tub Boat for Business?

Of course! The easiest option is to franchise a Hot Tug from The Netherlands since they have all the systems in place and you can just step in. But you can order a customized hot tub boat in Seattle to run your rental business. You can set tour routes or leave it open for clients.

How Much Does it Cost to Run a Hot Tub Boat Tour?

Hot Tugs don’t need any maintenance apart from cleaning, so the only cost is engine fuel and the wood for the burner. Rental companies clean the boat and change the water after every trip. The water in the hot tub is chlorinated, so it’s safe, and the woodstove is easy to handle.

Do I Have to Book a Hot Tub Boat Tour in Advance?

Sometimes. Some hot tub boat tour companies only have a boat or two, so it helps to make a reservation. Other companies will let you book a few hours in advance. But you should get to the dock at least 15 to 30 minutes early. Many rental companies have this as their policy.

How Long is a Hot Tub Boat Tour?

How Long is a Hot Tub Boat Tour

90 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the location, the route, and the company’s policy. If you’re going on a pre-planned tour, the timing is fairly rigid. But if you’re taking the boat yourself and choosing your own route, you can talk to the rental company about timing.

What if Something Goes Wrong on a Hot Tub Boat Tour?

Particularly on hot tub boat tours that allow alcohol, you can choose to have a staffer on deck to drive, since using your own driver will cut into their fun (they can’t drink!). But many companies have emergency staff that can zoom over to you on a speed boat if you need them.

Can You Wear Clothes on a Hot Tub Boat Tour?

Not really. If you’re taking the tour on a bigger boat (like the ones owned by Sea the City), some parts of the boat have dry seating areas. But if you’re in a Hot Tug, every spot is submerged. Either way, heavy clothes in 100° water are sure to get uncomfortable, no?

What if You’re Late for a Hot Tub Boat Tour?

Some boating companies have a rigid pre-set schedule for their hot tub boat tours. Plus they need time in between to clean the boat and replace the water. So some companies will still let you take the boat but they won’t extend your trip. Others allow cancellations but no refunds.

Can You Bring Food on a Hot Tub Boat Tour?

Not really. The standard hot tub boat has a cooler for your drinks, and some of the bigger ones have a small dry storage area. But the boat – particularly the Hot Tug – has no tables or countertops so if you carry food, you’ll have to be extra careful not to get your food wet!

Can You Rent a Hot Tub Boat Tour for One Person?

Yes, you can. But it depends on the rental company. Some set their rates per trip, while others charge per person or per hour. So it might cost you more if you’re sailing solo, since you may end up footing the bill for the whole boat! But yes, you can buy a public solo ticket.

Can You Rent a Hot Tub Boat Tour for a Party?

Yes, you can. Though, again, that depends on where you are. In some places, you can rent a Hot Tug, drive it yourself, and host 6 of your friends. In other places, like Sea the City, you can rent the boat and host a private party for up to 20 people, but it’ll cost you $1000+.

Can You Get Storage or Parking on a Hot Tub Boat Tour?

Can You Get Storage or Parking on a Hot Tub Boat Tour

Some companies provide storage lockers at the booking office, but most don’t. And your typical hot tub boat has minimal waterproof storage onboard, so call ahead and ask. As for parking, typical rental companies have a first-come-first-serve parking lot by the docks.

Do You Have to Sign Anything on Hot Tub Boat Tours?

Yes. Most hot tub boat tours will have you sign a waiver in case anything happens. Some of these waivers include potential penalties for breaking the rules. In Rotterdam, for example, if you bring booze on the boat you get a fine of up to $100! And no nudity or PDA allowed …

Do You Need a License to Drive a Hot Tub Boat?

Not necessarily. If it’s a formal vessel like the hot tub catamarans leased by Sea the City, then yes. But if it’s a basic 6-person Hot Tug, then no. But the driver does need to be over 18 and they have to stay sober while they’re in charge of the boat. They can drink later at the shore.

Can Anyone Take a Hot Tub Boat Tour?

Pregnant people are advised against taking a hot tub boat tour because the heat may cause them health problems. Beyond that, you’d have to check with your individual rental company. Some allow anyone including babies while others have tighter restrictions.

Would you try a hot tub boat tour? Have you? Tell us why (not) in the comments section!

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