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Paddling the 2024 Peaks to Portland Swim

How to Rent a Kayak for the Peaks to Portland Swim on July 20, 2024

Every year Portland Paddle opens by 6:00 AM on the day of the Peaks to Portland swim so that people who are renting our kayaks have time to paddle to Peaks Island well before the race starts. (Each swimmer in the event needs a “spotter” to paddle alongside them). We suggest giving yourself about an hour to paddle to Peaks Island, though it takes many people much less time than that.

If you prefer to take your kayak on the Casco Bay Lines ferry to Peaks you will need to pick up your kayak and transport it to the ferry terminal. (On most days we will deliver to the ferry terminal, but this morning is an exception). We suggest picking up your kayak the evening before the race if you plan to take the ferry.

A few things to know if you plan to rent for the race:

  • All of our kayaks are typically reserved for the race a couple weeks in advance. After that point we can put you on a waitlist. You can reserve a kayak online here by clicking on the book button and selecting a half-day rental for  the 6:00 AM or 6:15 AM time slots on July 20.

  • Our kayak rentals include one paddle, one lifejacket and one drybag. If you need an extra lifejacket (for the swimmer) there will be a $5 fee.

  • You are responsible for your own safety when renting our kayaks. Please dress for the water temperature and be prepared to deal with a capsize.

  • If you have preferences in terms of which kayak/SUP to rent, let us know in advance. Most of our kayaks are designed for people with average dimensions (whatever that means!), but we also have some that work well for people on either end of the height/weight spectrum. A questionnaire will pop up after you make an online reservation that asks your general size to help us choose a boat that works for you. However, if you have particular preferences, feel free to let us know.

  • Consider renting a tandem kayak with a friend. If you can find someone to come along you’ll have even more fun! (Plus one person can paddle while the other takes photos of the swimmer).

Need a kayak spotter? Or want to be a kayak spotter? Use our matching tool to find somebody

Every year we hear from Peaks to Portland swimmers who are having trouble finding a kayak spotter to paddle alongside them. And we also hear from lots of paddlers who are eager for any chance to get on the water. So we created this spreadsheet to facilitate some matchmaking. Just enter your info in the spreadsheet and/or reach out to somebody who’s already on the list.