What is a Water Taxi?

Tropical water taxi services often include submarine tours to sea dolphins.
Gondolas are common in Venice, Italy.
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  • Written By: KD Morgan
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 13 April 2014
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The water taxi industry has existed for thousands of years. Most cultures built their small villages near great bodies of water. The original versions were functions of the society to help transport their people and goods to neighboring villages.

In modern times, there are many forms of water taxi services. Most are similar to a taxicab in the city. They ferry people over the water between points and are available to the public for tourism and private parties.

The boats used for taxi services are mainly large powerboats with inboard motors. Most of these vessels are covered or enclosed and provide heat when necessary. They provide restrooms, galleys, open-air decks and some cocktail services. Smaller boats with outboard motors or catamarans with sails are mainly used for the tourist trade.

Most major cities of the world that are on a large body of water provide some form of water taxi service for its residences and tourists. For commuters, the water taxi is a great alternative form of transportation that is comfortable, safe and relaxing. In Venice, Italy, gondolas have been used to transport people for hundreds of years. Since civilization has occupied the region of the Nile River in Egypt, similar floating cruises have been popular.


In the United States, cities like Baltimore, Chicago, New York, San Francisco, most of Florida and Hawaii have some form of water taxi service. China has several water towns that have existed since ancient times and rely on water taxi services. Belize offers magnificent floating tours through the “River of Caves” that run underground on the Sibun River.

In most tropical regions, water taxi services also provide submarine tours. These are an excellent opportunity to view the undersea life of whales, dolphins, sea turtles, coral reefs, lava flows and a magnificent variety of tropical fish.

In the United States, licensed and insured captains operate all water taxi vessels. The U.S. Coast Guard also inspects them regularly. Comfort, cleanliness, reliability and safety are competing requirements that keep them in business.


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