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An Italian Combo: Boating and the Amalfi Coast


A RIB rental in Sorrento proves that the best way to view a new country is from the water.

My eyes were glazed over like a box of Krispy-Kreme donuts as Karen led me through the winding city streets of Sorrento. It was her day to plan the activities and so far the morning had been filled with shopping—it was our honeymoon and I did my best to follow along like a loyal retriever. “Look at this, this is a good deal, we should rent a boat for the afternoon.”

My ears piqued in excitement. “Wait, really? Absolutely!”

Dan Harding

We began chatting with an eager salesperson who told us about the very reasonable price tag and well, that’s about it. I’ve rented watercraft all over the U.S. and was expecting to run through the typical safety procedures. The walkthrough, the boating safety test, the review of the boat’s systems… not this time.

We hoped on the 14-foot RIB with a 40 horsepower Yamaha, was handed a one-page contract that listed all the damage expenses and wished good luck. “Be back in six hours, 6:00 pm sharp,” was the only thing we were told.

No VHF, no charts, no explanation of the surrounding waters. Karen and I looked at it each other in shock. “They clearly run their business on a ‘You break it, you buy it’ philosophy,” I suggested. “They probably want you to run this boat up on a rock.”

Karen Harding

And with that, while bobbing right outside the jetty, being cruelly tempted by the unbelievable clear, deep blue water, we waited for the Mediterranean and Black Sea update of Navionics to download onto my phone. Four minutes and $18 later I had the keys to my new kingdom. “They’re not getting any bent-prop fees on my watch.”

From there we jumped and juked along the cliff-lined shore of Sorrento and the Amalfi coast. The sights were, in a word, stunning. Blasting along at 22 knots our heads were on a swivel; even as spoiled as I’ve been in my boating adventures I couldn’t believe the day we had before us. It was about then that a mahogany Rivamare came riding up along side us, he threw us a wave—and wake—and took off for the horizon. I smiled and waved back like a star-struck teenager who just crossed paths with Justin Bieber.

the Amalfi Coast

From there we bounced along the coast, taking in the sights of mountainside villages, eating lunch and going for a swim in a quiet anchorage. We ran along the coast until we reached Positano. From there we spent the next few hours checking out the stunning yachts along the coast.

It was a day, and a memory, I know Karen and I won’t soon forget. It was a short rental in a modest rubber RIB, but we felt luckier than the superyacht owners we passed. It also reaffirmed in my mind a universal truth: that the best way to discover a new place is from the water.

See more photos from Dan's time on the Amalfi Coast here. ▶