FAQ

General Questions

Here are some commonly asked questions about boating with us. If there is anything that you don’t see here, feel free to contact us.



Absolutely! Wearing a life jacket when you use our equipment is one of those things we won’t budge on. But we’ll give you one that fits perfectly, and our team will help you however they can with putting it on, checking the zippers, and making sure your it’s safe and you’re snug as a bug! You must wear your lifejacket for the entirety of your rental.

Water, sunblock, hat, sunglasses, and shoes/clothes that you don’t mind getting wet, etc.

Yes! As long as there is no thunder, lightning, heavy winds, rains, or other weather risks we will be open. If we are open and you choose not to come for your reservation because of the weather, you must contact us 24 hours before your reservation. If you do not contact us or show up, our cancellation policy applies.

Possibly, but you know what? It’s actually quite normal. The boats are very stable when you’re sitting in them, but when you stand up, you shouldn’t be surprised to find that capsizing is very likely! Please don’t stand in the kayaks.

But don’t worry. You will be wearing a life jacket, and if you really want to make sure capsizing is no problem, try our Kayaking Orientation or Stand-up Paddleboarding Orientation classes.


Unfortunately, there aren’t many great places to get out of the boat in the D.C. area, so we ask that you remain in your boat while you are out on the water.

You can’t jump out or go swimming from any of the boats. It’s not because we don’t want you to have fun, but there are many other motorized and non-motorized vessels on the water and underwater obstacles, so it’s just not safe. It is also illegal to swim in the Potomac River within DC.


Of course! You can’t leave your best friend behind! We have doggie life jackets at some sites to make sure your pal is as safe as you are. Unfortunately, they are the only pet life jackets we have, so dogs only. Please feel free to bring your own doggie lifejacket if you have one.

Yes, you must reserve a boat & fill out a waiver before you arrive. You can make a reservation at boatingindc.com/reservations. The link to the waiver will be in your confirmation email.

Yes, you MUST fill out a waiver before arriving for any reservation, class, or tour. Waivers can be found in the confirmation email you will be sent after making your reservation. If you do not see it, please check your junk mail folder.                                                                                                                                                                       

Yes, you MUST wear a mask when arriving at any of our sites. Your mask must remain on, while checking in, on the dock when you launch and when you return. Our staff will be wearing masks the entire time they are on-site, we would appreciate the same courtesy. NO Mask NO Entry. You will be asked to leave if you do not have a mask, no refunds will be given if you show up to a reservation without a mask.                                                               

We want everyone to love boating as much as we do. We only ask that:

  • If you are age 15 and under, your parent or guardian signs the agreement form and you have an adult present on the water.
  • Children younger than 8 can go in a double kayak or canoe with an adult.
  • If you’re an adult with a group age 15 and under, each child must have an agreement form signed by their parent/guardian and have a supervising adult on the water with the group all the time.
  • If you’re age 16 or 17, you have to have an agreement form signed by your parent/guardian, but then you can go onto the water on your own. No children under 15 can be on the water without an adult. Parents cannot make a reservation for their children on their own.

When can I take out a kayak or SUP in the spring?
We try and open as soon as the weather gets warm. However, we wait until the water temperature gets above 60 degrees. This usually happens sometime in the middle of April in Washington, DC.


You should wear any clothing that will protect you from the sun. Hat, sunglasses, clothing you don’t mind getting wet, and close-toed shoes. If it’s cool outside, or rain is in the forecast, remember that it’s often cooler on the water than it is on land!

Also bring a snack, water, and a plastic bag to pick up trash or put your wet clothes in. Ziplock bags are useful to seal up anything you really want to keep dry. We do not have locker availability this season, but we do have dry bags available to rent at all our sites.


Whereas we highly recommend that you return your boat or paddleboard to the location where you rented for your own convenience, we do allow you to return it to another Boating In DC boathouse (limited to kayaks, canoes, and SUPs from Fletcher’s, Thompsons, and Key Bridge Boathouse).  One-way rentals are subject to the daily rental rate for each boat and a recovery fee.                                                                                                                            

No, all motorboats are privately owned and are not available to be rented.                                                       

You can find our prices for rentals here. You can find our prices for classes & tours here.                               

All of our rentals, classes, and tours require reservations ahead of time. You can make a reservation here. You must make a reservation online. You should not make a reservation over the phone unless you are making the reservation for a group of 10+ people.                                                                                                                                       

Thompson Boat Center has a unique location at the intersection of Rock Creek Parkway and Virginia Ave in Washington D.C. adjacent to the Watergate and right down the parkway from the Kennedy Center. You can find specific directions on the Thompson Boat Center page on our website.                                                                       

The Key Bridge to the Memorial Bridge                                                                                                                               

The Chain Bridge to the Memorial Bridge.                                                                                                 

The Chain Bridge to the Francis Scott Key Bridge (Key Bridge Boathouse).                                               

Please stay in the Washington Channel. Be aware of paddling too close to the houseboats, and other motorboats in the marina. The 14th Street Bridge to Hains Point.                                                                 

You can check out all our classes and tours on our Classes Page or at https://boatingindc.com/dc-activities/classes.

Yes, we offer storage for kayaks, canoes, SUPs & rowing sculls.                                                                         

Yes, there is currently a waitlist for storage. The estimated wait is approximately one year. Sign up for the waitlist here.                                                                                                                                                                         

Coming Soon.                                                                                                                                                           

We do our best to hold rowing classes regardless of inclement weather. If the weather makes it impossible for us to go out on the water, our coaches will develop a land-based activity for that day’s session. As a last resort, we may be forced to cancel a class. If that is the case, we will have a member of our call center team contact you either via email or telephone. If we do not reach out to you regarding a cancellation, you should plan to attend that day’s session.                                                                                                                                                                    

Season passes are currently unavailable, but we will have an update about that soon.                                     

Yes, we sell gift cards by site. Please head to the specific boathouse page you wish to purchase a gift card for, and you will find the option once you click on the type of activity you are interested in. You may also get to specific site reservation pages by going to boatingindc.com/reservations.