Bermuda is gorgeous by land, but you should take to the water to fully appreciate its beauty. You can either rent your own boat or charter one with a skipper. There are literally scores of options to suit all tastes, from champagne cruises at sunset to cruise and kayak ecotours.

Charters and Boat Rentals

More than 20 large power cruisers and sailing vessels, piloted by local skippers, are available for charter. Primarily 30 to 60 feet long, most charter sailboats can carry up to 30 passengers, sometimes overnight. Meals and drinks can be included on request, and a few skippers offer dinner cruises for the romantically inclined. Rates generally range from $500 to $750 for a three-hour cruise, or $800 to $1,500 for a full-day cruise, with additional per-person charges for large groups. Where you go and what you do—exploring, swimming, snorkeling, cruising—is usually up to you and your skipper. Generally, however, cruises travel to and around the islands of the Great Sound. Several charter skippers advertise year-round operations, but the off-season schedule can be haphazard. Skippers devote periods of the off-season to maintenance and repairs or close altogether if bookings lag. Be sure to book well in advance; in the high season do so before you arrive on the island.

Ana Luna Adventures. The Ana Luna is a 45-foot catamaran that provides snorkeling cruises, scuba diving trips, and sunset tours as well as a host of other marine adventures. The regularly scheduled sailing charters depart daily from Grotto Bay during the summer months and tour Bermuda's northern coastline. Panoramic views of forts, railway artifacts, old docks, and an array of marine life await. There are also romantic sunset voyages and bioluminescent glowworm tours. Planning something extra special? Speak to Captain Nathan to schedule a private adventure aboard the Ana Luna. Grotto Bay Beach Resort, 11 Blue Hole Hill, Bailey's Bay, Hamilton Parish, CR04. 441/504–3780; From $70.

Bermuda Waterski and Wakeboard Center. International competitor Kent Richardson represented Bermuda at nine World Championships and the Pan Am games. He also took a trick skiing bronze medal at the Latin American games, but don't be intimidated—Kent is a patient teacher. His business operates at the same location as Somerset Bridge Watersports at Robinson's Marina from May to September. You can take your pick from waterskiing (regular and barefoot), wakeboarding, cliff jumping, or tubing, or mix it up with a bit of everything. Kent charges by the hour and can take up to six people at a time, ages five and older. Robinson's Marina, Somerset Bridge, Somerset, Sandys Parish, MA06. 441/335–1012; $250 per hour, regardless of number of people.

Blue Hole Watersports. Based out of the Grotto Bay Beach Resort, Blue Hole has you covered for water sports in the East End. Cruise the waters and soak up some rays in a Fun Cat, a low-powered floating deck chair, or rent a single or double kayak. Blue Hole also offers windsurfing and Sunfish sailboat rentals (experience required) and paddleboards. You can rent a motorboat for prices starting for two hours plus fuel costs. Reservations are recommended. There's a gorgeous sheltered beach with a small wreck sunk just offshore for snorkelers (rental gear available). Grotto Bay Beach Resort, 11 Blue Hole Hill, Bailey's Bay, Hamilton Parish, CR04. 441/293–2915; From $8 for snorkeling gear rental, $20 for kayak, $30 for windsurfer, sailboat, or paddleboard, $120 for motorboat.

H2O Sports. Located on the shore of Mangrove Bay in Somerset, H2O offers just about everything there is to do on the water: sailing, boat rentals, kayaking, as well as instruction from experienced mariners. You can rent 17-foot-long motorboats, and adventurous explorers and independent anglers can take out a 17-foot sailboat; 90-minute sailing lessons are available if you need a refresher. See the island at speed with a guided 75-minute Jet Ski tour or snorkel (gear is available for rent) at your own pace. The staff will happily point out the best snorkeling spots and what marine life to look out for. Cambridge Beaches Resort, 2 Cambridge Rd., Sandys Parish, MA02. 441/234–3082; From $80 for first hour of sailboat rental, $100 for first hour of motorboat rental; Jet Ski tour $135.

KS Watersports. This is the one and only place to go for WildCat (a type of catamaran) adventure tours, Jet Ski safaris, and sailboat rentals. Its Dockyard location, right next to the ferry stop, is open year-round and specializes in water sports excursions. For a more low-key day in the sun, check out the KS Watersports locations in King's Square, St. George's, and Pitts Bay Road, Hamilton; they offer pontoon and Boston Whaler boat rentals and private charters. All three locations run Jet Ski tours, starting with a 75-minute thrilling adventure. Dockyard Watersports Center, 6 Dockyard Terr., Dockyard, Sandys Parish, MA01. 441/238–4155; 441/232–4155; 441/297–4155; From $145 for Jet Ski tour.

Pompano Beach Club. For a relaxed aquatic experience, check out Pompano Beach Club. Several low-speed vessels are available including motorized Fun Cat cruisers, Hobie Cat sailboats, two-person glass-bottom kayaks, and paddleboards. Discounted rates are offered to Pompano Beach Club hotel guests. The water-sports center is open from May to October. Snorkeling equipment is available to rent; the club also offers snorkeling trips, harbor cruises, and fishing trips. 36 Pompano Beach Rd., Southampton Parish, SB03. 441/234–0222; From $6 per hour for snorkel gear rental, $40 per hour for kayaks and paddleboards, $80 per hour for vessels.

Restless Native Tours. What is billed as the only Bermudian-built catamaran has a full bar, huge music library, iPod dock, and onboard souvenir shop, ensuring that everyone will enjoy cruising on this family-owned and -operated charter vessel. Restless Native is unique in its educational approach to chartering—it offers a crash course on Bermuda's fish and a guided snorkeling trip. The 50-by-30-foot pink boat is excellent for dinner charters, evening cocktail cruises, birthday parties, and weddings. Excursions meet near the cruise ship terminal in Dockyard, but pickup can be arranged at any wharf on the island; charters are available year-round for two to five hours and up to 50 guests. 441/531–8149; $75 for 3½-hour snorkel and cruise; $55 for 1½-hour sunset swizzle cruise.

Rising Son II Catamaran. The Rising Son II is a beautiful, 60-foot, 75-passenger catamaran with a full bar, roomy shaded cockpit, and multiple trampolines. Besides offering sailing, swimming, and snorkeling trips, Captain Steve "Squid" Smith and the accommodating crews can arrange for private cocktail parties and even catering. You can also book one of the popular cruises, such as the Ultimate Catamaran Sail and Snorkel, which anchors off a quiet sandy bay for snorkeling and kayaking. Keep your eyes peeled for marine life as turtles are often spotted. King's Wharf, North Arm, Dockyard, Sandys Parish, MA01. 441/236–1300; From $75 for cruises.

Somerset Bridge Watersports. Located right next to the Somerset Bridge, this West End outfitter rents 13- and 15-foot Boston Whalers. Rates increase slightly on bank holidays, and you must pay for gas. You can also take a speed tour of the western end of the island on a Jet Ski. The tour will take you flying over crystal clear waters, weaving through coral reefs, and under the world's smallest drawbridge. Prices include a paid taxi ride to or from Dockyard; be aware that groups are kept small, so big parties may need to split up. Single and double kayaks are also available for rent. Robinson's Marina, Somerset Bridge, Somerset, Sandys Parish, MA06. 441/234–0914; 441/234–3145; From $95 for 2-hour boat rental, $145 for 4 hours, $260 for 8 hours; $125 for Jet Ski tour; kayak rentals from $25 per hour.

Tam-Marina. Founded in 1967, Tam-Marina has a reputation for lively group charter–only dinner and cocktail cruises on a fleet of elegant white motor yachts. Lady Charlotte and Lady Tamara often accommodate large private parties on the Great Sound, whereas Boss Lady is smaller and more intimate, tailored for groups of 10 guests or fewer. Join the ranks of celebrities that have cruised aboard these luxurious charter boats—a plush interior, fully stocked bar, and impeccable service awaits. Jonathan's Landing, 61 Harbour Rd., Paget Parish, PG02. 441/236–0127; Boss Lady, $850 for up to 10 people for 3 hrs; Lady Tamara and Lady Charlotte, from $2,850 for 70 people (and more) for 3 hrs..

Wind Sail Charters. You can rent a 41-, 51-, or 60-foot Morgan yacht, including snorkeling equipment, from Wind Sail. Captain Mike or his daughter, Captain Melissa, will sail to your location, including the City of Hamilton, and take you for a spin. The rates for six people are the most affordable ride on the island. You can also join a group (daytime and sunset) for a bargain price, when available. Lunch catering is available for an extra charge. 441/334–8547; Group sail $50; from $550 for 3-hour charter for 6 people.