My family and I are staying at Ponce Inlet for a week and wanted to rent a small boat to sail around the Intracoastal. I did a little research and found Backwater Marine (also known as The Fishing Store).
They rent 20 foot pontoon boats that seat 6 to 8 adults. Cost at the time was $175 for four hours and $225 for 8 hours. This cost includes fuel, but does not include tax.
The experience was very positive. I called beforehand to make sure a boat was available. They prepared the boat for me so that when I arrived at the marina, all I had to do was fill out the paperwork, pay, and put my items in the boat (sandwiches, fishing gear, etc.). They didn't keep my driver's license or anything like that.
You are given directions and a small map that describes where you may and may not travel. The boat is NOT for going into the ocean, and you should not try to head out Ponce Inlet into the sea. It was very hot, but the breeze helped a bunch. We didn't catch much - but still it was enjoyable. Along the way are very large and expensive homes, and at least two marinas that you can pull into for lunch or to use the bathroom. By the way, the boat does NOT have a bathroom. There are also numerous sand bars that you can stop and walk on - one called "disappearing island". Once side of the route is very natural and the other is homes.
The marina was nice and the folks there were nice. The person who rented us the boat was polite, and nice to my 9 year old daugher. The bathrooms were not nice - no A/C and not very clean. They rent rods, sell bait and generally can equip you with whatever you need. I did not note whether they sold food or not (we brought our own).
You should have some experience and piloting a boat as they do not give you much of a lesson. The boat does have life-preservers, emergency equipment etc. The map they provided plots out about a 1.5 hour course, so you still have plenty of time to anchor and fish, or go other places. They clearly mark areas that you should not go into.
Overall, an enjoyable experience. There are other places that rent similar boats for similar prices, so make sure you check around. But this one was very nice.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC