How To Rent A Kayak | The Complete Guide


How To Rent A Kayak

Whether you are vacationing and left your kayak at home or don’t have access to a kayak, its important to know there are rental options available. Don’t worry, it’s an easy process to rent a kayak. Read on for the best methods and how to find where to find them.

The best method for renting a kayak is to locate a kayak rental onsite near your location (or where you are traveling to) and check availability. This will usually be a marina or boathouse near water. Reserve the number of kayaks and check the closing time. You can also choose to rent from your nearest kayak dealer for a daily rental if you have a suitable transport vehicle or utility trailer.

In this guide, I will walk you through the two main options for kayak rental, describe the process, what you will need to bring, and how much it will cost you on average. I also provide a terrific article for transporting a kayak as an added bonus.

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Where Can You Rent A Kayak?

There are a few different places where you can rent a kayak, but the most popular place to go is often the nearest lake or river. You can also try looking online for kayak rental companies that will deliver the kayaks to you, which is a great option if you’re looking to explore a new area.

Check out the following kayaking coastal locations sponsored by the state parks and wildlife departments:

How To Rent A Kayak Hourly

Firstly, the most convenient method for renting a kayak by the hour is to find a marina or boat house that rents directly on-site near the water. A simple Google search will help you find kayak rental locations near you.

Kayak rentals near me

Pros And Cons For Hourly Kayak Rentals

Below are discussed the advantages and disadvantages of renting a kayak at locations such as a lake or river.

PROS

  • Convenient rental and return process
  • Can rent by the hour which are lower cost
  • Small lockers are sometimes available
  • PFDs (personal floatation device) and paddles are provided
  • Water site rental means no hauling, so no truck or trailer required

CONS

  • Usually rentals are first come, first serve, although some places take reservations
  • Rentals sell out early, so it is advisable to show up early to avoid waiting for availability
  • You can only use the kayak during their open hours
  • Selection can be limited over the weekend

What Hourly Kayak Rentals Cost

I have found hourly rates between $15-20 on average for the first hour. And this does not include the security deposit or locker rental. There are no overnight rentals for this rental option.

Avg Hourly Kayak Rental Rates

What You Will Need To Bring This With You

  • Be sure to bring one photo ID with you and money for a security deposit
  • Bring your own padlock if you plan on using a rental locker
  • Consider bringing your own PFD for a more comfortable fit
  • Bring towels and a change of clothes since you will most likely get wet
  • Wear protective gear such as a jacket, hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, and plenty of water

Things You Will Need To Keep In Mind

  • On the weekends, most businesses open at 9 a.m. with the last boat out time being 7 p.m. They will want their boats back by 8 p.m. This varies by marina or boathouse.
  • Hours and days of operation are seasonal, so check hours before going.
  • Before you rent, you can expect to sign a liability waiver stating that you will be responsible for the safety of yourself and your family. They are usually valid for one year. Participants under 18 years old must have a liability waiver signed by a legal parent or guardian. 
  • Bring a valid fishing license if you intend to fish while kayaking
  • Check the weather in the morning and evaluate your situation if conditions are not safe. High winds, heavy rains, and lightning events will force the marina to close until the weather clears.
  • For safety purposes, map out where you will be heading before you begin and let a friend or family member know the time you are to returnRestrooms may not be available to the public.

Pros And Cons For Daily Kayak Rentals

If you have the vehicle equipped to pull a lightweight utility trailer or t-bar, daily rental has greater advantages and a relatively lower rate.

PROS

  • Longer term rental options
  • Most rentals on Friday are not due until Monday
  • Liability waiver and security deposit are usually not required
  • You are free to haul to any vacation or water location
  • You have access to test drive high end manufacturers such as Hobie, Jackson, Native, or Bonafide kayaks
  • Some retail locations will rent higher-end models such as pedal kayaks

CONS

  • You will need to reserve your preferred model
  • You will need a method to safely transport the kayak
  • You will need to be able to lift and carry the kayak to and from the water
  • Rates are higher

What Daily Kayak Rentals Cost

I have found daily rates between $30-65 on average per day. There is no security deposit or locker rental.

Avg Daily Kayak Rental Rate

Renting A Kayak For The Weekend

Consider bringing a rental kayak with you the next time you book a vacation to your favorite lake or river. It is ideal for fishing and exploring in most situations.

There are several kayak rental shops around, making it easy to find one near you. You can also search online for the best deals. Be sure to inquire about the weight capacity of the kayaks as well as the type of water they are meant for.

If you’re not familiar with kayaking, take a few minutes to learn the basics before your trip. You don’t want to spend your vacation struggling with the kayak. Also be sure to bring along sunscreen, a hat, water and snacks, and a life jacket.

A rental kayak is perfect for those who want to try out this fun activity without making a big investment. It’s also great for those who only want to use a kayak on occasion. With a rental kayak, you can explore your favorite waterways without having to buy one.

What Kind Of Kayaks Can You Rent?

There are 3 classifications of kayaks usually available for rent.

Recreational kayaks are the most common. These are for single-person use where you sit flat with your legs straight out. So you can expect a cupholder and molded footpegs. And the seat is a flat foam seat with minimal cushion.

Renting A Recreational Kayak

Sit-On-Top Kayaks are some of the most popular kayaks available for daily rentals at retail outlets. The seat is most comfortable due to the raised position, armrests, and firm back support.

Sit On Top Kayak

Pedal Kayaks are ideal for both fishing and touring. The capability to navigate “hands-free” lends itself trolling and casting on the move.

rent a pedal kayak

For those who are new to kayaking, you can learn about paddling your kayak here.

If you will be getting in and out of your kayak on your own, here’s a great resource for how to get in and out of your kayak.

Always get great advice from the knowledgeable folks at Headwaters Kayak

What Is The Best Way To Transport A Rental Kayak?

Kayaks are easiest to transport by using a larger vehicle with a hitch and a lightweight trailer. The best alternative method is to use a t-bar which also requires a hitch.

Hauling A Rental Kayak
Hauling A Rental Fishing Kayak With A T-Bar

Many SUVs and mid-sized cars are equipped with side rails in which roof racks can readily be installed. Small cars can be outfitted with a roof rack system that can carry 132 pounds or two to three small to medium-sized kayaks.

Fishing kayaks are heavy and long, so the optimal transportation is by a truck bed or a lightweight kayak trailer.

Read everything you need to know about transporting kayaks here:

Conclusion

The kayaking rental market serves two major needs: casual recreational activity anyone can do on a Saturday and the vacationer who wants to go kayaking on a river or a lake for an extended time.

Renting a kayak is very inexpensive and a great deal of fun. And you can share great experiences with your kids, you family and friends without the extended cost and upkeep of purchased kayaks.

Tracy Villarreal

Tracy Villarreal is a seasoned fisherman, kayaker, beach camper, and general beach enthusiast. He has written about it both personally and professionally since 2018.

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