No boat? No problem. Here's where to rent boats, kayaks, paddleboards & more

It's nice to know a friend with a boat. Or at least someone who'll RENT you a boat. Even during our current situation, you have plenty of options for getting out on the water.

August 3, 2020
Woman in a kayak

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I don't have a boat. I don't think I even want a boat, TBH. It seems like a huge hassle. 

But I sure like going out on other people's boats, and I'm a good boat guest -- I bring beer and wine and snacks and I always try to kick in some money for gas (although some gracious hosts refuse to take it.)

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The problem is I don't have a ton of friends who own boats. Well, that, and I'm also not stoked about being in close quarters with others during a pandemic. 

So the solution is to find myself my own --  temporary -- boat, which is why I was glad to stumble across this story in the Seattle TimesHere are ways to get on the water safely in Seattle this summer — no matter your budget.

They start with the rock-bottom cheapest way to get on the water, tubing. You can probably figure that out for yourself.

But then they step up to some actual boat-oriented possibilities. The Center for Wooden Boats on South Lake Union, for example. Their website says, "Our fleet of rental boats includes classic wooden sail and row boats." They have an offer that will get you a free hour-long rental of a wooden rowboat. And of course, they take all COVID precautions -- only five people per boat, face masks required at the dock, etc. I like that place. They have a real "authentic Seattle" vibe.

Another outfit on Lake Union I like a lot is the Electric Boat Company. I've used these for my son's birthday a couple of times, and even though you're limited to five people outside your family on a boat, it's a great way to tool around Lake Union using quick, quiet electric power. Their boats seat up to 12 depending on which one you rent. You can get heat, they have a nice table, and you can bring your own cooler with whatever food and libations you want.  If you'd rather just bob around in the sun and do a little swimming, they also rent Donut Boats, which are like glorified floaties with electric motors. These are slow, but pretty fun in warm weather.

I've also had a lot of fun in canoes and rowboats from the University of Washington’s Waterfront Activities Center behind Husky Stadium on Union Bay. This summer they're only renting canoes and double kayaks, and you do need to reserve online. My pro tip for those: Later in August, bring a bucket, row across the Montlake Cut and under the 520 Bridge to the Arboretum, and look for low-hanging blackberries to pick in the shore of the coves and bays back there. It's incredibly tranquil, and you'll leave with the fixins for a tasty pie.

You have more options, like paddleboards, fly-fishing excursions, yacht charters, and Jet Ski rentals. The story in the Times is a great place to start.

Have fun, stay safe, and don't let this happen to you: