Boston Harbor Kayak Rentals from the Mystic River or Kendall Square
Ever wanted to kayak on Boston Harbor? Experienced paddlers can now rent from our locations in Kendall Square, Cambridge, and Somerville, Blessing of the Bay Boathouse. Venture out onto Boston Harbor! Both of these locations are T-accessible via the Red or Orange Line.
Paddlers with appropriate skills and equipment (see right for details) are welcome to paddle through the locks and onto Boston Harbor. Rent by the hour according to our regular rental rates, or — if you’re camping on the Harbor Islands — rent by the day according to our off-site rental rates.
Contact us to Reserve
Prepare for Ocean Conditions
Paddlers should be prepared to paddle in an ocean environment, which includes the potential for high winds; steep, short-period waves; fast-moving and potentially heavy boat traffic; large boat wakes; fog or reduced visibility; and lightning. The potential for more challenging conditions increases dramatically beyond Fort Independence (Castle Island), and paddlers should be prepared for large waves and currents in excess of 2 knots.
You Are Relying on Your Rescue Skills
The options for a capsized paddler looking to go ashore in the Inner Harbor (inland from Fort Independence) are few and far between, so paddlers must rely on their ability to perform a rescue (which means a self-rescue for solo paddlers). We cannot over-emphasize the need for reliable rescues!
Boat Traffic Is Fast and Furious
Perhaps the biggest concern of paddling in Boston Harbor is boat traffic. You will encounter all types of craft in the harbor, from small powerboats to supertankers of unfathomable size. Many are fast, and some, like the Provincetown Ferry, travel at highway speeds! Moreover, the larger the vessel, the longer it takes to slow down — for instance, a tanker can take a half-mile or more to stop. You need to pay attention to the traffic around you (including behind you), paddle close to shore when possible, and yield to bigger boats. Learn more by reading Big Ships, Little Boats.
You must fill out a Boston Harbor Rental Release.
Required Paddling Skills
Customer must sign a waiver attesting that they have learned these skills and practiced them in realistic conditions of 20-knot winds and 3- to 5-foot waves.
- Wet Exit (Where you flipped a kayak and removed the sprayskirt while underwater.)
- Self-Rescue (Where you re-entered the kayak in deep water with no assistance.)
- Navigation (Ability to use a chart and compass to know where you are and find your way in 1/4-mile visibility.)
Gear We Provide
These items are included in your rental. If you prefer, bring your own gear.
- Kayak with Two Bulkheads
- Life Jacket
- Spare Paddle
- Spray Skirt
- Paddle (Rescue) Float
Required Gear Available in our "Harbor Kit" ($20/day)
These items are required for paddling the Harbor. We can provide them for a fee of $20/day.
- Marine Deck Compass
- Boston Harbor Chart
- Waterproof Chart Case
- Flashlight or Strobe Light
- Waterproof Case for Phone/VHF (Phone/VHF not included.)
Required Gear Provided by Customer
These items are required for paddling the Harbor. They are not available for rental.
- Cell Phone or VHF Radio
- Wetsuit or Drysuit (When Harbor water temperature is below 60F.)
These items are recommended for paddling in an environment like Boston Harbor. They are not required.
- Extra Food & Water
- Extra Warm, Dry Clothes
- Towing System
- Hat & Sunglasses
- Water Shoes or Sandals
- Splash Jacket
- Gloves or Pogies
- Rescue Stirrup
- Boat Repair Kit