A descendant of fishermen and boat captains who have called the area's coastal waters home for more than a century, Captain Arch regales visitors with nautical stories while showing off his fleet of rental boats. Watercraft ranges from electric Duffy boats to sailboats, which allows the captain to equip renters for adventures such as fishing, waterskiing, or leisurely scenic floats. Beyond rentals, Arch's crew arranges guided trips, including visits to Blake Island, or beverage and appetizer cruises fortified with local wines, smoked salmon, and waiters imported from France.
Surrounded by the serene, forested environs of Pleasant Harbor, House Boats for Two's fleet of vessels cushions couples with ample amenities. Each houseboat contains a small kitchen, fireplace, and full entertainment center with TV and stereo among rustic hardwood furnishings. Full-size hot tubs massage bodies with 28 streams of heated water. Covered decks affixed to each watercraft reveal views of the lush setting and any airborne cannonballs.
A web of docks connects the cozy boats to a heated pool and a small grocery store and deli that sells snacks and fresh-baked pizza. A quick drive or sleepwalk brings guests to nearby attractions, including multiple state parks rife with hiking trails and waterfalls.
The Electric Boat Company sets customers loose on Lake Union in trusty, battery-powered Duffy boats. Set-sailors steer their own 21-foot craft while traditional lake chanteys spill from the sound system, which includes a CD player and an iPod jack. Other passengers can lounge on leather seats in the cabin area, whose windows can be kept open to invite in the breeze or fully closed to avoid being poked by a marlin. Before a trip, guests can pack a cooler with snacks, pick up forgotten ice and drinks at the on-site snack shop, or satisfy appetites at lakeside restaurants.
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Alki Kayak Tours and her sister store, Mountain to Sound Outfitters, equip guests with all the tools necessary to delve into Puget Sound’s surrounding wilderness regardless of season. Authorized dealers of goods from outdoor brands including Rossignol, Nordica, Snap Dragon, and Boardworks SUP, Mountain to Sound Outfitters’ knowledgeable equipment masters can outfit expeditions bound for skiing trips to Mount Rainier or full-contact LARPing in Olympic National Park. Alki Kayak Tours keeps adventures moving with vehicle rentals ranging from kayaks and paddleboards to fishing boats and bikes. Guided sea-kayak and paddleboard tours meander through Puget Sound during warmer months, introducing adventurers to the Emerald City’s fragile natural beauty and the mindful guides’ various methods of preserving it.
For more than 40 years, Seattle Sailing Club has made sailing into both a sport and a social event. Club members have access to a fleet of 26 boats, from small keelboats to 40-footers, which they can take out on Puget Sound at their leisure. Membership levels allow for unlimited day sailing or a pay-as-you-go arrangement, as well as overnight sailing for captains who have memorized where all the stop signs are. New sailors and weathered seadogs alike can sign up for lessons taught by licensed instructors, as well as pick up the latest gear. And the club emphasizes the community aspect of boating as well?members frequently come together for races, parties, and group flotillas.
From the south end of Lake Union, kayakers and paddle boarders can head north toward Gas Works Park to see the century-old former Seattle Gas Light Company plant. From there, they can head east and wind through Portage Bay on the way through Montlake, then cut over to the Washington Park Arboretum and Lake Washington. If they turn west instead, they can cut through a canyon of city buildings until reaching Ballard Locks and Puget Sound, where they may arrive in time to see the sun hang just above the Olympic Mountains.
Moss Bay Rowing, Kayaking, Sailing and Paddle Board Center's team facilitates adventures like these by renting man-powered water vessels by the hour, day, or week. Rentals afford paddlers and sailors the chance to explore Seattle's sheltered waterways, which are held to a 7-knot speed limit. Moss Bay's staff also leads small-group and private lessons in rowing, kayaking, and sailing, and coordinates guided tours including excursions designed for kids and adults.