Boat Rentals

The Waterfront Activities Center is located on the shores of Union Bay, the gateway to Lake Washington. We are conveniently located on the south side of Husky Stadium, within a short walk of the UW Lightrail station. From spring through fall we rent kayaks, canoes, and rowboats. Our boat selection can accommodate a single paddler up to a group of four. Come solo, with a group of friends, or with the family and experience a paddle around the Union Bay Natural Area admiring the wildlife such as bald eagles, osprey (also known as seahawks), and various types waterfowl. Paddle to the Washington Arboretum and enjoy the protected waterways and hiking trails that provide spectacular animal and people watching.

During the season we are open seven days a week.  We are also pet-friendly; dogs are allowed in our canoes and rowboats (we do not carry lifejackets for pets).  UW Students and UW Employees receive a discounted rate with a valid Husky Card provided they are paying the Recreation activities fee.

Boat rental hours



Rental rates per boat

*University discounts only available to those paying the Recreation activities fee

Boat type UW students UW Employees Public
Single kayak $10/hour $12/hour $16/hour
Double kayak $12/hour $15/hour $20/hour
Canoe $8/hour $10/hour $12/hour
Rowboat $8/hour $10/hour $12/hour

Contact the waterfront

During peak hours (11am – 5pm) our phone becomes automated. Please listen to the message to learn more about boat rentals.


Located directly behind Husky Stadium on Union Bay and the Montlake Cut.

approximate location of Waterfront Activities Center

Rental Details

Rental Eligibility

  • Boat rentals are available to the greater UW Community and the Public.
  • Must be at least 18 years of age with valid photo ID to rent a boat.
  • Children must weigh at least 25 pounds and be able to walk on their own. We strongly advise parents to consider whether or not a child can tread water as capsizing a boat is a real possibility.

What to Expect

  • Rentals are first come – first serve basis; No single reservations.  (Group reservations are allowed for parties of 10 or more.  See below.)
  • Life jackets and paddles are supplied with every rental.
  • Life jackets must be worn and buckled at all times.
  • Boaters and personal items taken aboard will get wet; please plan accordingly. Dry bags are available for rent to protect valuables such as phones and wallets from splash damage. Dry bags do not float and are not guaranteed to protect items in the event of a capsize.
  • Maximum Occupancy for each boat type is as follows:
Boat Type Maximum Occupancy
Single Kayak 1 Person
Double Kayak 2 Persons
Canoe 2 Persons (3 Persons if the third is 90 lbs or less)
Rowboat 4 persons

Group Outings

  • We do not offer a walk-up group discount. Schools and larger groups must schedule an outing no less than 7 days in advance.  We now accept reservations for groups of 10 or more people (Monday-Thursday only).  Please call to make a group reservation or email  We are first come, first serve Fridays, weekends, and holidays.

Discounts and Payment Methods

  • Patrons must have current valid UW Husky Card and be paying the Recreation activities fee to receive established UW rates.
  • Only one ID may be used per boat, both for rental and applied discount.
  • Payment must be made by check, Visa, MasterCard or Discover.
  • Prices do not include sales tax.

Important Dates and Hour Changes

Event Closures:
  • Early closure Tues, August 14.  Last rental at 3pm, boats back and building closure at 4pm
  • Home Football Games (September 8, 22, & 29, October 20)
  • Off-Season: November 1-March 31