Keys Boat Tours

Hands-On Boating Lesson

  • boating safety captain Brian Branigan
  • boating safety in the keys

This is the only hands-on boating safety lesson in the Keys. You learn how to: a) dock a boat in different situations, b) drop and retrieve an anchor, c) understand weather, wind, and tides and d) drive a boat. Just one tip from this four hour session could pay for the entire lesson.

100% Hands-On Boating Safety Lesson

You are thinking about buying a motor boat, or you recently bought one, but you don’t have the experience to comfortably head out on the water by yourself. Or, you might instead wish to rent a boat without having to hire a captain.

With Keys Boat Tours, based out of Big Pine Key Resort (MM33), you learn how to: a) dock a boat in different situations, b) drop and retrieve an anchor, c) understand weather, wind, and tides, and  d) drive a boat with confidence.  You also have the option to learn how to properly trailer a boat (1 hour). You put the boat in and take it out. We start by taking a look at a chart. We review some physical aspects to the boating safety course and some other practical advice. We review local navigation, so that you truly understand markers and don’t run aground. This is a “must take” course for: a) anyone who is not 100% confident in operating a boat, b) anyone who is buying/purchased a boat, and c) anyone who wants to boat safely and properly. Hands-on training is required for all. Classroom lessons are great, but this is the true test.

This first of its kind, official hands-on boating course is; 4 hours, up to 2 individuals for $700. The Lesson comes with our compendium book, BOAT FISH LIVE written by Capt. Brian Branigan. It includes the motor boat lesson, a sailing overview, and fishing guide to the Keys.

The lesson takes place Sunshine Key RV Resort/ Ohio Key (MM39). But, we also offer to come to you and use your boat ($100 per hour travel time, e.g., Key Largo +$200). We introduce you to your boat (and boating playground), and can even put tracks on “your” GPS. This 4 hour “private” lesson will start your boating life like nothing else.

We also offer: fishing 101, and local / backcountry navigation 101 lessons. You will gain lots of confidence from what you learn too – guaranteed. Makes a great gift!


1 Person $650 Price for 1 person for 4 hours
2 People $700 Price for 2 people for 4 hours
Extra Time +$75 Per hour
Book included BOAT FISH LIVE


Basics and Tips
In this 4 hour course you will learn the basics about GPS; reading a chart and setting routes. We review some workbook materials but 100% of the time, or 4 hours is hands-on. You drive, navigate, anchor, and dock. The boat you train on is a 2016 23' Bulls Bay center console with a Yamaha 200 four stroke outboard, complete with a Garmin touch screen GPS. Satisfaction s guaranteed. We have not had a dissatisfied customer yet.


  • BOAT FISH LIVE written by Capt. Brian Branigan
  • GPS overview
  • Charts overview
  • Sunscreen
  • Water

Not Included

  • Snacks

Things you might want to bring along

Sunscreen (reef safe), long sleeve sun shirt, hat, neck gaiter, sunglasses, wind breaker, bandana, personal water bottle.


  • A signed release waiver, and cash or credit card payment is required prior to boarding.
  • Health: if you have any cold, flu or other worrisome symptoms, we ask that you please skip the outing. And please inform us of any medical conditions that you might have: diabetes, epilepsy, allergies, etc. We respect your privacy, but we need to know.
  • If prone to seasickness, we recommend that you take Dramamine (or other) as directed.
  • We want you to drink plenty of water, have something to eat, and use sunscreen liberally
  • We have a 48-hour cancellation policy, and the Captain reserves the right to cancel any trip due to weather and/or any other circumstances.

Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary

Our Hands-On Boating lesson takes place in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, the entirety of the Keys is considered the sanctuary. The link below will direct you to a 30-to-45 minute online course made by FKNMS and NOAA that complements our Hands-On Boating Lesson and will inform you about the sanctuary, and the important rules that protect both the resources and boaters in the Keys. It is a great way to get you up to speed before or after this Hands-On lesson.

Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Boater Education Course.


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