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Julies Landing NWOC rental dock

Rental Walk Through

Before You Arrive

  • Call ahead to reserve or check conditions on the lake--be sure you are familiar with our hours and rental policies

  • Check the weather: Is it windy? Do you need to bring sunscreen or an extra layer?

Once You're Here

  • Pay for Parking (Monday-Friday 9am-4pm) see parking page for more info

  • Get Organized--Is everyone from your party here and ready to go (visited the restroom, put on sunscreen etc)?

  • Check in at the window

  • We hold on to 1 Driver's License or ID Card per rental group

NWOC Rental Basics

Skills to Paddle on Lake Union

Getting Your Rental Equipment

  1. Grab a PFD

    • PFDs for adults are sized by color

      • Yellow fits Small-Medium

      • Red fits Large-XL

  2. Go to the "please wait here" sign

  3. Our knowledgeable rental staff will pick out an appropriately sized kayak/SUP and paddle for you, and help everyone adjust foot pedals for kayaks

  4. Get on the water! Staff will assist with getting in from the dock

infografic on how to fit a PFD

Paddling Pointers

  • Holding the paddle: Taller part on top, curved back towards you. Big knuckles lined up with the top of the paddle blade. Elbows at 90° with the paddle on top of your head

where hands should be position on a kayak paddle
paddle blade oriented properly
  • To paddle forward move the paddle blade from your toes to your hips, alternating sides to travel in a straight line.

  • To stop, drag the paddle in the water keeping your hands low. To go backwards move the paddle from your hips towards your feet keeping your hands low (below your shoulders).

  • Many of our rental kayaks have a foot controlled rudder to help steer. When the pedals are properly adjusted, pushing on the right pedal turns the kayak right, pushing the left pedal turns the kayak left, and moving the pedals to an equal distance away from your body makes the kayak travel in a straight line.

  • Kayaks and SUPs are also steered using the paddle. Paddle on the right side and you turn left, paddle on the left to turn right. Alternating sides should propel you straight.

  • Keeping your hands at or below eye height when paddling a kayak will result in less water on your lap and more stability.

On the Water

  • Wear your PFD!

  • Be aware of what's going on around you! Make eye contact with other boaters. Traffic patterns should be like driving--people should pass on the left but that's not always how things go

  • Pay attention to where we are on the Lake--Be able to find your way back from the water (use the QR codes on equipment if you're having trouble)

  • Mind the Zone--Sea planes land and take off from a specific area of the Lake. Be cognizant of the flashing buoys and paddle East or West to clear the area so planes can take off or land safely.

Returning and Paying

Westlake Ave N as seen from Lake Union. China harbor building and Julie's Landing building are highlighted
  • Find your way back to the docks. If you're having trouble use the maps and QR codes on rental equipment. Some good landmarks on the lake are China Harbor located to the south of our building, and the clock tower on our building.

  • Staff will assist with getting out of kayaks or off of SUPs.

  • Drop paddles and PFDs in the piles on the dock

  • Pay for your rentals at the "Pay Here" window

Clock tower at Julie's Landing highlighted
kayak and paddles on the dock looking towards Lake Union
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