The Center for Wooden Boats is a Living Museum

This is a place where you are encouraged to touch, build, sail, and learn. We offer boats for rent because we believe the experience gained through learning traditional skills, especially on historic boats, is of the utmost importance. Our fleet of rental boats includes classic wooden sail and row boats. Our collection varies throughout the year as we work on boats in our boat shop and add new vessels to our collection.

You’ll notice the term “livery” throughout CWB and in reference to our fleet. A boat livery is in reference to a boathouse on a lake or some body of water that rents out the fleet. So you can think of livery as meaning “our rental boats”!

We operate on a first-come, first-served walk-up basis in renting all of our sail and human powered water craft. Please come on down to our Livery during our rental hours and our friendly staff will help you get into a boat that works for you!

Please Note: Before renting our sailboats, we require a one-time Sailing Checkout. This must be scheduled in advance on-line. Schedule a sailing checkout HERE. If you’re new to sailing, please consider exploring our sailing lesson programs HERE.

Boat Rental Hours:

Exhibit and Livery Hours Can Be Found Here.

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Find out what makes The Center for Wooden Boats so unique. We rent you boats from our collection so you can take the oars or the tiller and find out for yourself what it was like as our region grew to love the water.

We are committed to providing access to the water for all, and thanks to our community, we are able to start a new Public PeaPod Program! Members of the public are encouraged to reserve one of our peapod rowboats for free one-hour rentals! Available Wednesday - Sunday during our regular hours. These boats can hold up to 5 people and are perfect for rowers of all experiences. Just go through our online reservation system and take one out today!


Livery Passes

Enjoy UNLIMITED year-round rentals of sail, row, pedal, and paddle boats at our South Lake Union campus. Sneak down for a lunchtime paddle, enjoy a summer row, or spend an afternoon sampling various sailboats, all with one great pass! Choose from two options: Every day or weekdays only below. Please note that livery passes are only available to CWB members. 

A renter rowing a rowboat on Lake Union with the Spaceneedle behind her

$470

Unlimited livery boat use WEEKDAYS Wednesday-Friday at South Lake Union year round. Use on any available sail or human powered boat. Good for 365 days from date of purchase.

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$770

Unlimited livery boat use at South Lake Union! Use on any available sail or human powered boat anytime we’re open! Good 365 days from date of purchase.


Our Livery Boats

Our South Lake Union boat rental Livery continues a tradition of providing public access to Seattle’s waterways. Our classic wooden boats are the best way to explore Lake Union: see houseboats and floating homes, seaplanes, working shipyards, and more boats than you can shake an oar at.

No experience is needed to rent a rowboat. Renting a canoe or kayak requires previous experience in those types of boats. Renting a sailboat requires a sailing checkout.

SOUTH LAKE UNION LIVERY

 

LARGE SAILBOATS

SLOOP-RIGGED

CAPACITY: 1 TO 6 ADULTS

HOURLY RATE:
$70 MEMBER | $90 GENERAL

One hour minimum rental. Sailing Checkout required.

Blanchard Junior Knockabout under sail

Blanchard Junior Knockabout

Learn more about these historic boats here.

Lightening sailboat rigged at the dock

Lightning

San Francisco Bay Mercury sailboat

San Francisco Bay Mercury

 

SMALL SAILBOATS

GAFF, SPRIT, & LUG-RIGGED

CAPACITY: 1 TO 4 ADULTS

HOURLY RATE:
$35 MEMBER | $40 GENERAL

One hour minimum rental. Sailing Checkout Lesson required.

three beetlecat sailboats sailing on Lake Union

Beetlecat

Hvalsoe 15 tied to the dock

Hvalsoe 15

A Woods Hole Sprit Boat tied to the dock

Woods Hole Sprit Boat

Pelican sailboat sailing at Cama Beach

Pelican

Sid Skiff tied to the dock

Sid Skiff

 

ROWBOATS

TRADITIONAL LAUNCHES

CAPACITY: 1 TO 4 ADULTS

HOURLY RATE:
$30 MEMBER | $40 GENERAL

*Peapod rowboats are part of our Public Peapod Program, which are available to the public for free by reservation. (Capacity: up to 5 people).

One hour minimum rental.

Whitehall Skiff

Whitehall Skiff

Hvalsoe 15

Hvalsoe 15

Peapod*

Peapod*

Davis Boat

Davis Boat

Sid Skiff

Sid Skiff

 

CANOES

CLASSIC CANOES

CAPACITY: 1 OR 2 ADULTS

HOURLY RATE:
$25 MEMBER | $35 GENERAL

One hour minimum rental.

DOUBLE KAYAKS

PLYWOOD STITCH-AND-GLUE KAYAKS FOR TWO

CAPACITY: 2 ADULTS

HOURLY RATE:
$25 MEMBER | $35 GENERAL

One hour minimum rental.

 

Rent a boat on Camano Island! View our Livery at our Cama Beach location here.

CAMA BEACH LIVERY


Renting FAQs

  • WHAT IS A LIVERY?

    • At the turn of the 20th century, liveries were boathouses where the working class could rent a boat for leisure. Our Livery continues that tradition.

  • WHAT ARE THE CWB LIVERY RULES?

    • The rules can be found here.

  •  DO I HAVE TO BE A MEMBER TO RENT BOATS?

    • No – anyone can rent our boats. CWB Members get discounts on rental prices, though, as well as many other benefits. Learn more about membership here.

  • WHAT KIND OF BOATS DO YOU HAVE FOR RENT?

    • In general, we rent rowboats, canoes, kayaks (1 single), sailboats, and pedal boats. All of the boats in our rental fleet are wood – even the pedal boat! Our boats are regularly cycled through the shop for maintenance, so the boats on the dock may be slightly different each time you visit. To view our fleet look at the top of this page!

  • DO YOU RENT MOTORBOATS? 

    • Our South Lake Union (Seattle) location does not offer motorboats for rent. We can, however, help you with a private charter rental on one of our motorized wooden vessels. We do rent motorboats at our Cama Beach location on Camano Island.  Take a look at their Livery here.

  • I DON’T KNOW HOW TO SAIL, ROW, KAYAK, OR CANOE.  WHAT CAN I DO?

    • Sailboats require lessons, human powered boats do not! For sailing, visit our Learn to Sail pages.
      Our rowboats are stable and comfortable, even for first-time rowers. You can also rent the pedal boat, which one or two people pedal with their feet.  We ask that renters of kayaks and canoes have some experience in those vessels.

  • I DON’T KNOW HOW TO SAIL.  DO YOU HAVE SOMEONE WHO CAN TAKE ME SAILING?

    • By the spring and summer of 2022 we hope to bring back our free Sunday Public Sail program offering free sailing on Lake Union for those who have no sailing experience.  For now, you can rent a rowboat or the pedal boat, which requires no prior experience. We’ll teach you how to row if you don’t know how!

  • I KNOW HOW TO SAIL!  DO I HAVE TO PASS A TEST BEFORE RENTING A SAILBOAT?

    • Yes, we require all of our sailors to pass a CWB “checkout” sailing test before renting, and those checkouts must be scheduled in advance.  We do not accept proof of sailing experience from other organizations or associations in lieu of a CWB checkout. Please note that separate checkouts are required for the SLU and Cama Beach locations, because of the difference in facilities. For more information, click here.

  • HAS MY CWB SAILING CHECKOUT EXPIRED?

    • CWB sailing checkouts are valid for one year from the most recent date of sailboat use.  After a one-year lapse in boat use, we require you to complete a checkout again, which can be scheduled here. If you’re not sure if your checkout is valid, give us a call or come down and we will look it up.

  • CAN I RENT A BOAT AND RACE IT?  I LOVE DUCK DODGE!

    • Sorry, but no. Our boats are not allowed in any race that is not sanctioned by CWB.

  • CAN I BRING OTHER PEOPLE WITH ME WHEN I RENT A BOAT? HOW MANY?

    • Yes, bring friends and family!

      • Rowboats can accommodate up to four adults.

      • Canoes can accommodate up to two adults.

      • The pedal boat can take two to six adults.

      • Our sailboats can take up to six people, depending on the boat and weather conditions. One person in the group must pass a CWB “checkout” sailing test before renting, and those checkouts must be scheduled in advance. For more information, click here.

  • IS THERE A MINIMUM AGE LIMIT FOR PASSENGERS?

    • Nope! We have Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs) for passengers of all ages (even babies).

  • IS THE HOURLY RATE FOR THE BOAT IN TOTAL, OR IS IT PER PERSON?

    • The rate is hourly per boat – bring a friend and split the cost!

  • DO YOU HAVE TO SET A SPECIFIC RETURN TIME BEFORE LEAVING?

    • No, you can stay out as long as you like.  We charge a 1-hour minimum, and by 15-minute increments after that.  Keep in mind that all boats are due back 15 minutes before closing, and that our boats are not allowed to tie up to any docks other than ours.

  • ARE PERSONAL FLOTATION DEVICES (PFDS) INCLUDED IN THE RENTAL?

    • Yes!  We have PFDs for everyone (even babies) at no charge.

  • CAN I MAKE A RESERVATION?

    • We rent on a first-come, first-served basis, and do not take reservations.  If all of the boats are rented when you arrive, we will happily add you to a waitlist.  However, since customers are allowed to keep boats for as long as they like, it may be difficult to predict your waiting time.

  • WHERE CAN I TAKE THE BOAT?

    • Our boats must stay on Lake Union, between the Fremont and University Bridges (no Lake Washington).  Additionally, our boats may not tie up or dock anywhere other than CWB.

  • HOW CAN I CHECK THE WEATHER ON YOUR DOCKS?

  • CAN I BRING FOOD AND DRINKS ON THE BOAT WITH ME?

    • You are welcome to bring a picnic lunch to enjoy during your rental, but we do not allow alcohol on any of our rental boats. Alcohol is permitted on our Private Charters. Please be mindful of the fact that our rental boats are museum pieces, and clean up crumbs and trash.

  • CAN I BRING MY DOG?

    • Your dog is welcome on your boating adventure!  We don’t have doggie PFDs, however, and we do ask that your dog be on-leash while on CWB’s docks.

  • DO YOU HAVE LOCKERS OR CUBBIES WHERE I CAN LEAVE MY STUFF?

    • Unfortunately, we don’t have anywhere for you to leave personal belongings while you’re on the water – you’ll need to take everything with you on the boat. For this reason, we encourage you to leave valuables and electronics at home.

  • IS FISHING ALLOWED FROM YOUR BOATS? WHAT ABOUT SWIMMING? WHAT ABOUT SMOKING?

    • Fishing, swimming, and smoking are not allowed on any of CWB boats or docks, for legal, insurance, and liability reasons.