How far in advance should reservations be made? It is usually necessary to book 3 – 4 months in advance to get the date you want, but cancellations do offer the opportunity for last minute reservations.

Something came up. Can I cancel my reservation?

      • Houseboats: Cancellations made 60 days prior to the day of your schedule departure will receive full deposit refund.  Cancellations between 30 and 60 days will receive deposit refund minus 20% re-booking fee.  Cancellations between 30 days and 1 week will receive deposit refund minus 50% re-booking fee. Cancellations made within 1 week of rental will forfeit 100% of deposit.
      • Fishing/ Pontoon Boats: A 2 day notice is required to cancel a reservation. If less than 2 days notice is given, you credit card will be charged for your rental. If the weather is inclement, as agreed upon with S &S  Rentals, the reservation may be cancelled without penalty.

How does the security deposit work? A $1000 security/damage deposit is charged to your card prior to departure and will be refunded 24 hours after return of undamaged boat. If damage is found, your security deposit will be used as immediate payment towards those damages. Should the damage caused  exceed the security deposit, the customer is responsible for the immediate full payment of the damages claimed by S & S Rentals. The cost of the damages will be determined at the sole discretion of S & S Rentals and payment is due and payable immediately by the customer. Please note: any boat reported or observed operating in an unsafe manner, will result in forfeiture of security deposit and rental fee. There will be no refunds for early returns or late departures. 

Do I have to be an experienced boat operator? No, prior to your departure, you’ll receive hands-on experience operating your houseboat on a “check-out” cruise.  Your private instructor will acquaint you with the operation of the boat and the navigational charts. Click here for an introductory video.

Do I have to have a boating license to rent a boat? In Iowa – you do not need a boating license to rent a boat, but you must have a valid driver’s license. You must be 21 to sign the rental contract.

What type of fishing license is required? Iowa and Wisconsin residents must have a valid fishing license from their state. Nonresident anglers are required to purchase a Wisconsin nonresident license. A Wisconsin fishing license is not available in Lansing, an Iowa fishing license is. Bait and tackle are available for purchase in Lansing.

Do you provide insurance coverage for equipment from S & S Rentals? A damage waiver may be purchased to cover our equipment. This applies only to the property of S&S Rentals. It includes the drive unit propeller, and equipment inventory. This does not cover any third party property or personal injury. The cost of  coverage is $50 per day. After payment of the security deposit, S&S will repair or replace the over the $1000 damage deposit at their cost. Without the damage waiver, the renter is responsible for any and all damage, loss, or breakage incurred to the houseboat.

What is a “Sleep on”? A “sleep on” allows you to arrive after 4:00 PM on the day before your departure. You will move onto your boat, but  stay at the dock that night. In the morning of your departure you will be given your instructions. The cost is $150, plus sales tax, per boat.

Can I have more than 10 people on board the houseboats? The Monticello, Sharpe, Sumerset boats are set up, furnished and recommended to have no more than 10 people on board. The Sunstar is set up, furnished and recommended to have no more than 6 people on board. The maximum legal limit on the Monticello, Sharpe, Sumerset boats is 12 people. If you need to bring additional people there will be an additional $100 per person charge for the extra people. The maximum legal limit on the Sunstar is 8 people. There will be an additional $100 per person charge for the extra people. 

Are children counted as 1 person on boat capacity? Yes – the listed boat capacity is for all people, regardless of age. 

Are there life jackets on board? Anchors? Fire extinguishers? Yes – each boat is equipped with all items required by law to be legal on the river, including life jackets for the capacity of the boat. There is an anchor and line on each boat as well.

I will have children with me. Do they have to wear life jackets, and do I need to bring them?Children under age 13 in Iowa and age 12 in Wisconsin must wear a vest at all times while on the water, whether the boat is docked, anchored, or in motion. We have a small stock of children’s vests, but we recommend bringing jackets/vests for your children if you have them. This will ensure a proper fit.

Do I have to pick up and return the houseboat at the same place? Yes, each houseboat must picked-up and returned to the home port of S & S Rentals.

Is gas an additional expense and how much has will we use? All watercraft are full of gas when you leave and will be refueled upon your return. You will be charged for the gasoline and oil used. Rental prices quoted do not include gasoline, oil or sales tax. The Monticello, Sharpe, Sumerset and Sunstar houseboats are equipped with a 190 gallon fuel tank. The tank is filled before your trip begins. Your most economical cruising speed, 2,000 RPM, will use 3.5 to 4 gallons per hour. If you cruise for 6 hours, you will use about 24 gallons of gasoline.

Where do we anchor and can we cruise at night? Due to safety and insurance restrictions, you are not allowed to drive your houseboat after dark. There are many sandy beaches along the river perfect to spend the night. You may also dock at S & S Rentals or another marina for the night.

Can we bring a ski boat, fishing boat or personal watercraft? Yes, by towing your ski boat or personal watercraft, you have additional ways to enjoy the river.

Can we have alcohol on board? Yes – alcohol is allowed on the boat and may be consumed while underway but you must follow state & national alcohol consumption guidelines. You can get ticketed and/or arrested on the water for OWI (operating while intoxicated) with a BAC of .08 or higher. *Glass is not allowed on shore.

Can we barbecue on the houseboats? Yes, and for your convenience each houseboat is equipped with a BBQ grill.

What about pets? Well behaved dogs are welcomed on our boats. Pets must be approved by S & S personnel. Any damages or extra cleaning will be charge against the damage deposit. 

What should I bring aboard the houseboat? Food and beverages, children’s life jackets, binoculars, camera, flashlight, cell phone, bath towels, wash clothes, paper towels, paper plates, fishing license and gear, ice chest, beach towels, first aid kit, suntan lotion, insect repellent, dramamine, dish soap, hand soap, garbage bags. **For customers with CPAP machines there are 2 options.  Bring a deep cycle 12 volt battery and appropriate size 110 volt inverter or plug the boat into dockside shore power. The generator cannot run at night while all people are  sleeping due to the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Pontoon Boat Info:

Are there bathrooms on board the pontoon boats? No – none of our pontoon boats are equipped with either bathrooms or porta-potties. 

Is there a refrigerator on board? Can I bring coolers, snacks, drinks, etc? None of our pontoon boats are equipped with refrigerators but you are welcome to bring coolers. Snacks and drinks are encouraged!

Something came up. Can I cancel my reservation? (Fishing/ Pontoon Boats) A 2 day notice is required to cancel a reservation. If less than 2 days notice is given, you credit card will be charged for your rental.If the weather is inclement, as agreed upon with S &S  Rentals, the reservation may be cancelled without penalty.