How to get out on the water in somebody else's boat

There are lots of places around Seattle to rent a canoe, a kayak, a paddleboard or a sailboat

June 5, 2018
Woman in a kayak

© Georgerudy |


Who needs the hassle of owning a boat when it's so easy to rent one?

I've always thought that having a friend with a boat is way better than actually owning a boat. But if your seagoing friends are getting tired of hosting you, you're not stuck on the dock -- there are lots of options for renting all kinds of watercraft around Seattle. Curbed Seattle just posted "10 places to rent a boat in Seattle."

The simplest and easiest way to get out on the water if you're a little intimidated is to just head over to Green Lake and rent a pedal boat. Not exactly America's Cup-level sailing, but with a co-pedaling friend, you'll easily tool around the lake and escape the urban chaos as soon as you're a few yards out from shore.

If you really do know how to handle an actual sailboat, you have a couple of options: Sail Sand Point on Lake Washington, or the Center for Wooden Boats on Lake Union.

Then there's the most common -- and arguably the most fun -- option: kayaks or stand-up paddleboards. Alki Kayak Tours, Moss Bay on Lake Union, and Ballard Kayak all have you covered. And my favorite, Agua Verde Cafe & Paddle Club, where you can reward yourself after a paddle around Portage Bay with chips, guac, and a frosty cerveza. Trust me -- that back deck is a little slice of heaven.

Oh, and one more option they left off the list -- and one of the best ways to give out-of-towners a glorious Seattle experience -- is The Electric Boat Company, on the western shore of Lake Union. These folks rent a fleet of 21-foot-long boats that hold up to 10 people. They're covered, but the sides are completely open to the outdoors  . .  . or you can zip in windows, crank up the heat and stay cozy if the weather turns cold or damp (always a possiblity even in the middle of summer.) You can bring aboard a cooler with food and beverages, and after a quick lesson in piloting the vessel, you'll be cruising silently past houseboats and float planes for an hour or two. Sublime.

Hey, this is the time of year when we have to seize these oporrtunities while we have them -- so get details about how to get out on the water and check out the whole list here.