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Paddling Peaks to Portland

a group of people on a raft in a body of water

How to Rent a Kayak for the Peaks to Portland Swim

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. 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.


  • All of our kayaks are typically reserved for the race at least a couple weeks in advance. After that point we can put you on a waitlist. You can reserve a kayak online here. (Select a half-day rental).

  • Our kayak rentals come with 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 cope with a capsize.

  • If you are especially large or small let us know in advance. Most of our kayaks are for 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 height and weight. Please provide this information.

  • 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).


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 or reach out to somebody who’s already on the list.

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From $1,185

This expedition for intermediate to advanced paddlers explores the most rugged, wild and gorgeous stretch of the Maine coast — the Downeast region that extends to Canada. The tides are more powerful here, the wildlife more abundant and the cliffs more dramatic. It has all the makings for an epic sea kayaking trip.