How to get out on the water in Seattle

Seattle is an isthmus wedged between two large bodies of water: Puget Sound and Lake Washington. All that water means there is no shortage of places to launch a kayak, standup paddleboard (SUP), or 9-foot-high unicorn floatie.

But what if you don’t have a boat or board in your personal possession? No biggie.

Here’s where to go for rentals:

🚣 UW Waterfront Activities Center: Rents kayaks, canoes, and rowboats to the general public. Discounts for UW students and employees. Group rates available.

🚣 Agua Verde Paddle Club: Rents kayaks and SUPs on the northeast edge of Lake Union and also offers guided tours. After your paddle, head to the cafe next door for some tacos and margaritas.

🚣 REI’s new boathouse at Bellevue’s Meydenbauer Bay Park rents SUPs, kayaks, and canoes by the hour, half-day, or day. Monthly and season passes are available.

🚣 Mount Baker Rowing & Sailing Center: Rents kayaks and SUPs weekend afternoons on Lake Washington near Genesee Park. Also offers sailing and windsurfing classes.

🚣 Greenlake Boat House: Rents everything from water bikes and pedal boats to standard kayaks and rowboats. “Happy hour rates” available before noon.

🚣 Alki Kayak Tours: Ready to get out on the Sound? Alki Kayak Tours offers guided trips for beginners and hourly rentals for experienced paddlers.

🚣 Electric Boat Company: Is a leisurely cruise more your style? The Electric Boat Company rents 21-foot boats that fit up to 12 passengers by the hour on Lake Union.

🚣 Center for Wooden Boats: Come sail away, come sail away, come sail away from the south end of Lake Union with the Center for Wooden Boats. Every Sunday, the center’s volunteer skippers offer free rides (yes, free!) to the public. Tours are first come, first served — arrive early.

Wherever you go, be sure to wear your PFD and follow the rules of the waterways.

By Caitlin Moran
Caitlin writes newsletters and stories for The Evergrey. She's worked as a journalist in and around Seattle since 2010 and is a proud resident of Capitol Hill's Summit Slope neighborhood.