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Frequently Asked Questions

Q Do I need experience to try a paddle board (SUP)?

A No prior experience is necessary to enjoy a day out SUP-ing on Fidalgo Bay. Almost everyone who rents from us are first timers or novices. We love catering to families and beginners, and our paddle boards are perfect for them because they a quite stable.

However, you should be physically fit enough to be able to get to a standing position from your hands and knees. Participants should also not have any balance issues.

Q So just what is a paddle board?

A A paddle board, otherwise known as a SUP or Stand Up Paddleboard, is configured similarly to a surfboard, but is usually longer, thicker, and much more stable than a traditional surfboard. The operator of a paddle board stands upright on the board and propels it through the water by using a long paddle.

Q How old do I have to be to rent a paddle board?

A Anyone under the age of 18 who wants to rent a paddle board unaccompanied by an adult must first have their parents print out and sign a Release Form.(Be sure that all parts of the form are filled in completely, including any necessary initialing at the bottom of the pages.) Parents must then email Blue Otter Outfitters to let us know that you signed the form.

Due to the inherent risks involved with paddling on the sea, all participants under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult, except by prior arrangement with Blue Otter Outfitters management. Parents must use their own discretion when taking boards away for use on freshwater, and anyone who may be using the rented paddle board must first sign our Release Form.. All rentals are required to have a Rental Agreement. signed by an adult, and renters are responsible for any damage or loss to the equipment.

Q Can my young child go paddle boarding?

A Parents know their children best and so we are reluctant to set a firm age limit. If your child is small, or not super athletic, then we suggest choosing a warm and calm day. If you stay in Bowman Bay, you should be fine. If you are taking the board away from our facility then we suggest the same thing. Choose a warm and calm day, and stick to very protected water that has no boat traffic.

Most kids above the age of 8 years do fine, but there are kids several years younger who will also pick it up quickly. You will want your child to have the arm strength to pull the paddle through the water, and for your child to know how to swim. It will make the experience much more enjoyable for you, and for them.

Q What is the weight limit?

A Our larger boards can support people up to approximately 265lbs.

Q What kind of shape do I need to be in?

A A lot depends on the weather, and how far you would like to go. This activity can be as strenuous, or as leisurely as you make it. If the wind is blowing then you will have to work harder to make the paddle board go where you want it to.

Your upright body provides a fair amount of resistance to the force of the wind causing you to get a decent workout if you have to travel any appreciable distance. Kneeling on the board can reduce the wind resistance if you find yourself struggling.

You will want to bestrong enough to pull yourself back up on to the paddle board in the event that you fall of. This is not difficult, but does require a certain level of fitness. Most people find Stand Up Paddleboarding to be fairly easy, and only a moderate workout. Come out for an hour and give it a try! You'll likely want to make a day of it the next time.

Q Do I have to wear water shoes?

A It really depends on where you are going to be paddleboarding. Seafarer's facility in Anacortes" to "Bowman Bay location in Deception Pass State Park, it is advisable to have some sort of footwear for launching and landing. SUP-ing in the sea means that you will have to avoid stepping on barnacles if the tide is out. You will want to have some sort of footwear available to you for this. There are bungee cords on the from of the SUPs that can hold sandals, or we have a limited supply of neoprene booties for rent.

On lakes and freshwater many people prefer SUP-ing bare foot, but you can wear water shoes if you'd prefer. Blue Otter Outfitters cannot be responsible for anything in the water that you may step on. When in doubt, use common sense.

Q What clothing should I wear?

A Wear whatever will make you the most comfortable while paddle boarding, given the weather conditions of the day. SUP-ing is a water sport and so you will want to wear clothing that you don't mind getting wet in the event that you fall into the water. Most guests come wearing swimwear, or board shorts and have water compatible shoes. A hat and sunglasses will be appreciated if the Sun is out, and do not forget to apply sunscreen. Bring a spare set of clothes to change into afterwards, in case you are wet. We have a limited supply of wetsuits and booties to rent if you would prefer to paddle in them.

Q What happens if I am late for my reservation?

A You may lose all, or part of your reservation depending on how busy the day is. We will try to accommodate you, but out of fairness to others you might lose your time. Your reservation begins at the time you reserve the board, not when when you actually begin paddling.

Q Is parking available?

A Please change to "Yes! Bowman Bay is in Deception Pass State Park. Parking is available for $10/day; or you can buy a Discover Pass for $30, which you can use in any Washington State Park for a whole year!

Q What is your cancellation policy?

A You must cancel your kayak or SUP reservation 48 hours or more before your scheduled kayak trip to receive a full refund, minus tax and transaction fees. If you have a group (more than two kayaks) you must cancel at least 1 week in advance. If there is a weather related issue on the day of your trip that causes us to be closed, we can reschedule your reservation or issue a refund.

Safety First

These rules and guidelines are for your safety, and for the safety of our staff. Please consider them before deciding to rent from us.

When renting our Kayaks or Stand Up Paddleboards (SUPs) you must adhere to our rules, guidelines, and restrictions. Waivers (Release Forms) must be signed by everyone using our equipment, and waivers for minors must be signed by a parent or legal guardian. Only people who have signed the rental agreement and have also signed the waiver are permitted to use our equipment. We do not sub-lease our equipment.


Kayaks and Paddleboards must not be taken towards Deception Pass, or Deception Island!

Paddling south (left) out of Bowman Bay is strictly prohibited. The currents are strong as you enter that area and at certain stages of the tidal cycle it is stronger than you can paddle against. This is no joke. Anyone who enters this area (intentionally or by accident) and needs extraction will incur a minimum fee of $350 per kayak or paddle board. Any damage or loss of the equipment will be paid for by you as well. Any additional costs for rescue or extractions will be the sole responsibility of the party who goes out of bounds. We will not make exceptions to this rule, so be aware of where you are at all times. If you do not think that you can abide by this then please do not rent from us. This rule is for your benefit, we want you to have a safe and enjoyable experience.


Kayaks must be used in accordance with the recommended weight limits. The maximum capacity of the boats is 400 pounds, including all gear.

Kayaks are meant to be used as singles and doubles. Two adults and a small child is acceptable, provided that the weight limit is not exceeded.

Stand Up Paddleboards (SUPs) have a maximum weight capacity of 240 pounds.

All of our SUPs are intended for one person only. You may not bring a child to ride with you on paddleboards.

It is very important to be honest about your weight, and not to exceed the weight limits. If you show up for your reservation and are over the weight limitations then you will forfeit your reservation at your expense. So once again, please make sure that you do not exceed any of the specifications listed above or below. This is for your safety and for the longevity and structural integrity of our kayaks and paddle boards. Damage done to any equipment due to misuse or exceeding any limits explained will be at your expense.


Age limits for kayak use are 13 years old for single kayaks, and must be accompanied by an adult. All minors paddling their own boat or board must stay within Bowman Bay. Small children may accompany adults in tandem kayaks but we recommend staying within Bowman Bay where the water is more protected.

Reservations and rentals will not be made to minors who aren’t accompanied by their parent or legal guardian. School groups are the exception to this rule and other written permissions apply. Please do not make reservations for minors, or groups of minors, to take trips without their parents or legal guardians with them.

Age limits for paddleboards are 18 and over, or 13 and older with an accompanying parent or legal guardian per teen. You may not have a child ride on a SUP with you. They are a one person craft. We do not allow groups of teenagers to go out on paddleboards without adult supervsion. Please do not plan for paddleboarding birthday parties for your kids unless their parents can sign both the waiver and rental agreement. Parents with other peoples’ children may not use the paddleboards, unless their parents fill out the appropriate paperwork. Remember that Paddleboards are a single occupancy craft, and should be used based on the manufacturer’s recommendations. They are not made for two people. All of these rules and regulations are for the safety of our customers, our staff, and for the longevity of our equipment.


We do not allow you to rent kayaks or paddleboards and transport them yourselves without prior arrangements. All transportation must be done with a suitable vehicle with the appropriate equipment to safely secure the craft.


Fishing is not allowed from any of our Kayaks or Paddleboards. We are not a fishing outfitter. Any damage or mess created from fishing will incur additional charges, up to and including the cost of replacement.


Alcohol consumption is not allowed on our kayaks or paddleboards. Drug use, including marijuana, is not allowed on our kayaks or paddleboards. It isn’t safe, folks! Enough said.


We do allow coolers on our Kayaks within a reasonable size. A small 6 pack size cooler is fine. They must not be full size coolers or any cooler that will interfere with the normal safe operation of the craft due to its size or weight. We do not allow coolers on Stand Up Paddleboards at all. We do not inspect coolers, so you will be on the honor system!


Keep in mind that this is a water sport, so you should expect to get wet. You have the potential of falling into the water so you should have the ability to swim. PFDs (Personal Flotation Devices or Life Jackets) must be worn at all times. In the state of Washington you need one life jacket per person on a water craft. Please understand that our rentals are not intended to be diving or swimming platforms and your safety while on the water is your responsibility. We understand that at some point you may be in the water for what ever reason. Please be safe at all times by being mindful of the depth of water, conditions, and other water craft.


Any damage or loss of the equipment will be the sole responsibility of the renting party. Do not allow the kayaks the crash on rocks, or rub against barnacles along the shoreline. Do not drag kayaks or boards over sharp rocks. Never stand on the paddle boards unless they are in deep enough water to protect both the board and the fin underneath. Always step off of the boards in deeper water. When not in use, all boats, boards, and equipment should be stored well above the waterline. Waves and rising tides can take things quickly.