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Kayak and Paddle Board Rental Policies

Please read carefully, you are responsible for knowing this information prior to renting a sea kayak, stand up paddle board, or sit-on-top kayak

Although many of the items on this page will also appear in your Rental Agreement forms, we want to make certain that all participants understand what they are getting into before they reserve a kayak or stand up paddle board from us. More than anything else we want you to enjoy yourself out there and have a fun and rewarding experience! Thanks for choosing us!

Blue Otter Outfitters requires that participants sign a Release Form and Rental Agreement prior to participation.

By renting from us you are acknowledging that you have the appropriate level of skill, strength, and experience to participate in the activity that you have planned.

Pick Up and Return Times

Rental rates are applied on an assumption of a 8:00am pick-up and a 5:00pm return time on the last day for sea kayaks, and a 9:00am pick-up and 6:00pm return for paddle boards and sit-on-top kayaks.

Earlier pick-up and later drop-off times can sometimes be arranged with prior notice. We do not prorate partial days. If weather, tides, illness, injury, or other conditions require an early termination of your trip then Blue Otter Outfitters reserves the right to charge the entire amount of the reservation. Returning equipment after hours may result in being charged for another full day.


Sea kayaks must be returned to our Skyline Marine Center location.
Paddle boards and Sit-on-tops must be returned to Bowman Bay.


For Sea Kayaks

Full payment is due at the time of booking and no rental is secure without full payment. 15% cancellation fee if cancellation is made at least 2 weeks prior to rental reservation. No refunds available to cancellations within 2 weeks of rental reservation.


For Stand Up Paddleboards

For 1-6 boards, reservations must be cancelled at least 48 hours in advance.
For 7+ boards, cancellations must be made 7 days in advance to get a refund. *See additional notes below.


For Sit-On-Top Kayaks

We ask for 48 hours advance notice for cancellations os sit-on-top kayak reservations. *See additional notes below.

*For paddle boards and sit-on-top kayak rentals: your credit card is charged at the time of booking. Reservations may be rescheduled at no charge, but cancellations are subject to a $5.00 administrative fee.

Blue Otter Outfitters reserves the right to cancel or delay reservations without notice due to inclement weather conditions, impending weather forecasts, or other considerations. Cancellations made by us will be entitled to a full refund.

Care of Equipment

Equipment must be returned in good condition and reasonably clean. Repair and cleaning fees may be applied to damaged or severely soiled equipment, up to and including full replacement cost. Salty lifejackets and a little sand or gravel in the kayaks is not considered 'severely soiled'. Muddy equipment, or sunscreen stained lifejackets would be one example of severely soiled.

The Stand Up Paddleboards are durable but much more fragile than a kayak, large dents or cracks in the board can happen easily if you hit a rock or land on the beach while standing on them. Large dents and dings may be costly to repair and so care must be taken to avoid collisions. If you have questions about this the please do not hesitate to call. Thanks!

Make a Float Plan! (For Sea Kayaks Only)

We are happy to answer questions about your planned adventure, and to share our knowledge of the area, however the ultimate responsibility for the decisions that your party makes are yours alone.

A float plan is an extremely valuable tool for Search & Rescue personnel in the event that they become necessary. It is advisable that a completed float plan be submitted to us prior to departure, and any deviation from the plan should be reported to us as soon as possible so that we can know where you are. When you file your float plan with us we will expect your reasonably prompt return at the stated time of arrival. If we do not hear from you in a timely manner then we may feel the need to call the appropriate people to begin to search for you. Any costs incurred by a search attempt will be the responsibility of the party renting the equipment.


All extractions (emergency or otherwise) are the sole responsibility and expense of the party renting the equipment. There are several water-taxi services operating in the islands, most can accommodate you and your equipment if you find that you need assistance. Two companies (listed below) depart from the same marina that our facility is located in. Please plan ahead so that your rental equipment can be returned on time. If you decide to utilize a water-taxi then please call us to tell us when the boat will arrive in Anacortes so that we can try to meet you at the dock to assist you with your gear.

Our recommendations for water-taxi service are:

Rates for a passenger and kayak (including gear) start at around $50 one-way, and increase depending on where you need to be picked up. Please refer to their websites for specific rates and services.

Tides, Currents and Weather

You are responsible for having the appropriate Tides/Currents predictions, as well as an updated weather report for where you plan to be paddling. It cannot be overstated how important it is to know what kinds of conditions you may be paddling into. As we have stated before, by renting from us you are acknowledging that you have the appropriate understanding and experience to participate in this activity. We are quite willing and happy to share with you our knowledge of local conditions, but it will ultimately be your responsibility to make the decisions about where you go and whether or not your planned itinerary is appropriate.

We can provide you with a printout of the Nobeltec Tides and Currents predictions for a $5 fee. These predictions will cover the areas you tell us that you are planning to paddle in, have values for every hour of the day, and we have found them to be quite accurate. However, it is your responsibility to know where the reference stations are located on a chart and what the predictions mean in relation to your trip.

Please refer to our Plan Your Trip informational page for helpful links to weather websites.

Alcohol and Drug Use

Using alcohol or drugs (legal or illegal) while kayaking or paddle boarding in the San Juan Islands is a very bad idea that could easily lead to unexpected and problematic consequences. Blue Otter Outfitters prohibits the use of drugs and alcohol while using our equipment. Renters and Lessees must agree to refrain from drinking and drug use prior to, or while using our equipment.

Who Gets to Paddle the Rental Kayak?

Only signatories on the Rental Agreement, and signatories of the Release Form are allowed to utilize our kayaks, or any of our rental gear. Signatories are responsible for any damage or loss to the equipment. Only people above the age of 18 will be allowed to rent kayaks.


Sea kayaking can be a fun and rewarding way to enjoy your time in the San Juan Islands. However the sea is a dynamic environment and unguided kayak rentals are not an appropriate choice for people without the necessary skills to take care of themselves and other members in their group. Sea kayaking can be an inherently dangerous activity, especially for the unprepared. Anyone who paddles on the waters of the San Juan Islands without the proper skills and knowledge (or without someone else who has that skill and knowledge) is taking a risk. The San Juan Islands area is a potentially dangerous environment due to many reasons. Cold water temperatures , busy boat traffic, and exposure to the conditions of the bodies of water surrounding the islands (including sudden fog, tidal currents, and strong winds) are only some of the hazards that you could be facing. It can be extremely difficult to re-enter a kayak in cold and turbulent water. By choosing to rent from us you are acknowledging that you have the competency to participate in this activity, and to handle the kayaks and manage your group in the conditions and areas that you are paddling in. If you have any questions about this then please call so that we can discuss it further.

If you are unsure about your abilities then we recommend that you participate in a guided excursion through Anacortes Kayak Tours.