Is prior kayaking experience necessary?
Not at all! We encourage people of all ages and skill levels to come out and enjoy a day on the water. All tours and rentals are preceded by a paddling and safety orientation and our staff is happy to assist you both on and off the water. However, we reserve the right to pull you from the water if we deem your actions or skill level to be unsafe.
Are there age limits?
All participants under 18 must have a parent or legal guardian sign our waiver of liability. Minors deemed unfit to handle a boat by themselves must be seated in a double kayak with a parent or legal guardian. Don’t miss out if you fall on the other end of the age spectrum! We have had guests as old as 80 out on the water!
What should I wear?
Dress according to the weather on the day of the paddle, of course, but hat and sunglasses are always a good idea. It is highly advisable to NOT wear blue jeans or any long cotton pants. You will get a little wet and cotton holds water even on warm days. Nylon/swimwear/fleece and other quick dry materials are recommended, as is footwear that can get wet (or that you are OK with being covered in river water).
What if my tour is canceled due to weather?
Unfortunately, Wateriders is often at the mercy of Chicago’s unpredictable weather. If your tour is canceled due to a weather event there are two options.
1. Rescheduling to another tour date of your choosing.
2. For non-voucher customers only you can be issued a refund.
Is there on-site parking?
Yes, across the street in the garage at 360 W. Hubbard St (use the left entrance)
$4 for up to 4 hours (be careful – $28 dollars with no validation OR a minute after your time is up)
Keep your ticket from the garage! We have “chaser” tickets that you use for validation. Put your original ticket in first, then the chaser ticket – which will adjust the price to the correct discounted rate, which you can then pay by credit card.
Is alcohol allowed?
No alcohol allowed.
The Chicago River is a busy waterway frequented by large commercial, industrial and private watercraft. The impairment that comes with the consumption of alcohol presents a danger to yourself and others on the river. Alcohol use will not be tolerated on the water under any circumstances. Refunds will not be given if we have to remove you from the water due to intoxication.
What kind of boats do you offer?
Our customers have the choice of going on the water in either single or double kayaks. For the brand-conscious, we use Old Town and Emotion flat water, recreational sea kayaks. These are skirtless, sit-in kayaks.
Do you rent canoes or stand-up paddleboards (SUP)?
Unfortunately not. We only have kayaks on the Chicago River.
Are there sharks in the river?
Despite what you may have heard, there are no sharks in the Chicago River.
Can I bring my dog?
Woof! We have had many dogs come out with their owners in the past. We usually seat them in a double kayak and ask that you have a leash for them. Bringing a life jacket for the dog is highly advised. You are responsible for remediating any nuisances.
Can I launch my own kayak?
Yes. The launch fee is $10 per boat. Motorboats, paddle boards and racing shells are not allowed.
Can I hire a guide without a reservation?
No. All guided activities must be reserved beforehand so we can staff appropriately. Please email us for details regarding private tours and groups.
Do I have to wear a lifejacket?
Yes. A life jacket is required AT ALL TIMES while in a boat or on our dock. No exceptions.
Do I have to reserve in advance?
No but it is highly recommended. Reservations take priority over walk ups and there is occasionally a line on the weekends.
Is there storage?
Yes. We have onsite storage for backpacks, purses and other personal belongings.
Can I bring a large group?
Yes but some restrictions may apply. There is a maximum limit of 6 boats per group (up to 12 people in all double kayaks) allowed out without a guide. Any more than that and you will need a guide to accompany you. Email us for details.
How can I share the love?
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