How much does it cost to charter a fishing boat in Maui, Hawaii?
There are 3 main criteria affecting the cost of a Maui fishing charter:
- The type of fishing charter you book (private or share boat, bottom fishing or sport fishing)
- The length of a charter (4 hours, up to 9+ hours)
- Boat characteristics (size, bells ‘n whistles, operating costs, reputation, etc.)
Shared fishing charter rates
If you plan to share a charter – that’s when you pay a per person rate and share the boat with others who are unknown to you – expect to pay anywhere from $154 per angler on the lowest end (Strike Zone‘s 4-hour bottom fishing charter, including tax), up to $375 per angler on the high end for an 8+ hour sport fishing charter. Not all boats offer shared charters… fewer on the flip-side of Covid-19.
Most rates you’ll see online are before Hawaii GET (4.166%), harbor fees (3%), or gratuity. A few charter companies allow riders to come along at a reduced rate.
Personally, I don’t feel a shared 4-hour sport fishing trip is much of a bargain. Most Maui sportfishing boats don’t even offer 4-hour shared charters. An individual angler’s personal catch odds on 4-hour sport fishing trip are simply too low. Complaint rates too high. That’s not saying you won’t catch anything, only that the odds are against it. If you only have 4 hours to spend, and you don’t want to spring for a private charter, I recommend bottom fishing.
Private fishing charter prices
While certainly more expensive, the exclusive nature of a private sport fishing charter is definitely superior to the shared charter. The captain and crew can cater specifically to your group’s expectations, rather than trying to satisfy others who may not have the same goals as you.
Booking a private fishing charter on Maui – that means only you and your friends/family will be on board, along with captain and crew – will cost from $899.00 on the low end, to nearly $10,000 for a full day aboard the luxurious Ohana Nui. Extremes aside, the average cost for a private fishing charter on Maui is more like $900 for 4 hours, $1250 for 6 hours, and $1,500 for 8 hours. These prices do not include 7.166% state GE tax and harbor fees.
Tipping your crew
A gratuity for the crew is customary on Maui. Think of it like tipping at a restaurant: plan to pay anywhere from 10-20%. The amount of the tip should be based on how friendly and accommodating your crew was, and how much effort they put out trying to get you fish! Remember, your crew arrived at the boat before you did to set things up, and they will be there after you leave, cleaning the boat and equipment, organizing tackle for the next day, and dealing with restaurants who may be purchasing a portion of the day’s catch. 10-12 hour days are the norm for most.
Is it worth it?
For many anglers, YES!! Especially if you embark on your Maui fishing charter with the right attitude. First and foremost, plan on enjoying a day on the ocean in paradise. Take in the sunrise. Reconnect with family and friends. Talk story with the crew, or others on board with you as you wait for the ‘big one’ to strike. Turn off your phone. Be present in the moment. If you’re lucky you’ll return to the dock with a fish story or two, plenty of fresh fish for the BBQ, and memories that will remain with you for years to come.
This post was updated for accuracy on May 26, 2021