The Waterfront Activities Center (WAC) is nestled 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.

Things You Can Do At the Waterfront Activities Center

great canoe pic

Boat Rentals

Gear Garage

Gear Rentals

Boat Rental Hours

Month Days Times
May – August Mon. – Fri. 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Sat. – Sun. 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Holidays 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.
September Daily 10 a.m. – TBD

There is NO PUBLIC LAUNCH for personal watercraft at the UW Waterfront.

Rental Rates Per Boat

Boat type UW students UW Employees General 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

*UW Students and UW Employees receive a discounted rate with a valid Husky Card

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.
  • Each boat must have at least one occupant that is at least 18-years of age with valid photo ID.
  • Children must weigh at least 25 pounds and be able to walk on their own. We strongly recomend that children have the ability to tread water.

What to Expect

  • Rentals are always first come, first serve; we do not take single reservations.
  • Group reservations are allowed for parties of 10 or more from Monday – Thursday. See below under Group Outings.
  • 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 a child under 90 lbs)
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.


Parking is free after 12:00 p.m. (noon) on Saturdays and all day Sundays/holidays.

Sound Transit Light Rail has arrived at UW. Avoid parking issues and use light rail, conveniently located by Husky Stadium and the WAC.

Seafair Weekend

During Seafair Weekend, WAC rental boats are not allowed passage to Lake Washington; all boats must remain in the Union Bay area. Due to extremely heavy motorized boat traffic, WAC boat rentals are paused before, during, and just after the Blue Angels show, approximately 12:30p – 3:30p (subject to change).

Discounts and Payment Methods

  • Patrons must have current UW Husky Card 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:

  • Home football games (September 7, 14, & 28, October 19)
  • Off-season: November 1-March 31

Pet Policy

Dogs are allowed and welcome in our canoes and rowboats; we do not allow dogs in our kayaks.  No pet life jackets provided.

Events at the Waterfront

Host your private event just a few steps away from the Montlake Cut, complete with views of the Cascade Mountains and unobstructed access to 350 feet of pristine waterfront. Enjoy a relaxing ambiance with twinkling outdoor lights overhead, reflections of city lights on the water, and the occasional sound of a sailboat’s horn signaling to the Montlake Bridge – all from the comfort of your exclusive event. The possibilities are limitless, and we invite you to experience all The Waterfront has to offer.

Student Organizations

The UW Concrete Canoe TeamWashington Yacht ClubUniversity Kayak Club, and Union Bay Rowing Club organize their activities at the WAC.


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

approximate location of Waterfront Activities Center

Questions About Accessibility?

We encourage you to participate in classes, personal training, intramurals, rec clubs, or UWild Adventures. Please contact the Programs Office, (206) 543-2571 for more information.

The University of Washington makes every effort to honor disability accommodation requests.  Requests can be responded to most effectively if received as far in advance of the event as possible, preferably at least 10 business days.

Request Disability Services Office

To request disability accommodation, contact the Disability Services Office at:

Request Disability Resources for Students

Or the Disability Resources for Students Office at:

Contact Us

Waterfront Activities Center Information

During peak hours (11 a.m.-5 p.m.) our phone becomes automated; please listen to the message to learn more about boat rentals.

Rod Smith
Waterfront Manager for UWild Adventures

Matt Jensen
Associate Director for UWild Adventures

Safety at Night

To ensure your safety when leaving UW Recreation facilities at night, different organizations at the UW provide some options that are free and may be available to you:


NightRide is a UW shuttle service that provides a safe and easy way for U-PASS members living in the general university area (see service map) to get home at night. Shuttles for the east and west route zones make their first stop at the IMA front entrance and run every 20 minutes during operating hours. All shuttles are wheelchair accessible.

Husky NightWalk

The Husky NightWalk program is a safety walking program provided by the UW Police Department and operated by security guard staff members.

UW Recreation does not provide accident/medical coverage for participants. It is recommended that participants obtain their own personal coverage. Students may obtain additional information on student accident/sickness insurance by contacting:

Student Insurance Office
Room 459 Schmitz Hall
(206) 543-6202