FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Is there parking?
Yes! The free CMCA parking lot holds approximately 16 to 20 vehicles.
Can I get there by city bus?
Yes! The #94 and #99 buses (both rack & roll, which accommodates bikes) stop at the bridge and we're just a pleasant 10-minute walk north from there, along the CMCA boardwalk trails.
Are there washrooms?
Yes. There are washroom facilities on site, but please note: they consist of non-flush pit toilets and running water is not available.
Do I need to know how to swim?
Ideally, we believe everyone is better off knowing how to swim, as it greatly increases one's safety, confidence, comfort level and enjoyment when engaging in water sports. But our policies require all clients to wear a life jacket and to sign a waiver indicating both understanding and acceptance of the risks inherent to water sports. Thus, the ability to swim is not an actual requirement.
What should I bring with me?
Whether you're renting, or taking a lesson or a tour, there are a few essentials:
- water bottle
- sun hat
You might also want to bring:
- water shoes (strongly recommended)
- bathing suit (especially for SUP)
- bug spray
- change of clothing (including a warm sweater)
- energy snack
Important for rowers:
- closed shoes
(Rowers may also wish to bring bandaids and consider the use of gloves, as blisters are an unfortunate inevitability for most rowers.)
What should I wear?
It's important to wear comfortable clothing that won't bind, chafe, snag in equipment or drag you down if you fall in the water.
Is the water safe, if I fall in?
Data from recent years indicates our portion of the Rideau is pretty clean! For the most up-to-date info, use the Waterkeeper Swim Guide (right) to check out reports for nearby swimming locations. Eccolands Park, 4 km downstream, is the testing location that is closest to us.
While Guide info is not a guarantee, it IS a pretty good indication of water quality. Note that testing frequency, specified for each location in the Guide, varies.
Do you offer any certified instruction programs?
Not at this time. Our instructional focus centers on teaching the basics needed to safely and confidently enjoy our boats and boards under the types of conditions typically encountered in our location - and for the vast majority of people that tends to be enough. If, however, you want to take your rowing or paddling further, there are a number of local clubs, organizations and/or individuals that offer varied levels of training, certification and competitive development.
Can I bring my dog with me in a boat/on a board?
Sorry, not at this time. While we would love to say yes, there are some issues with doing so that need to be resolved first. If we can settle them to our satisfaction, this may change for next year.
Rowing, paddling - is there a difference?
YES! In overview, paddlers face forward and use a paddle - either single- or double-bladed - to propel their watercraft, while rowers face backward and use oars (minimum of two per boat, whether single or multiple rowers) to propel their vessel. Paddles and oars are each held and manipulated in a very distinct manner. Come for a lesson - we'll show you!
Will I need to know/learn how to do a wet exit or recovery roll?
No! Our kayaks all have extra-large cockpits, so in the unlikely event of a capsize, you will easily and automatically float out of the boat, without need for a fully-submerged wet exit or recovery roll.
Because our instruction is tailored to the basic skills needed to use our boats and boards, we do not teach wet exits or recovery rolls.
If you wish to take your paddling to a higher level, in boats with tighter cockpits and/or in rougher/more open waters, we highly recommend that you acquire these, and other, more advanced skills first.
Do I need to be really strong or have really good balance for stand-up paddling?
Strength, flexibility and balance all play a contributing role, but most people of average ability in these areas can easily master the basics of stand-up paddling. Your strength, flexibility and balance will all tend to improve the more often you get out and paddle. SUP is particularly good for improving core strength! There's no question, though, that balance plays a bigger role in SUP than it does in kayaking or rowing, because your center of gravity is higher off the water when standing on a paddleboard.
Often, the best way to tell if it's right for you is simply to give it a try - our intro/rental combo is a great way to find out and will help you with a most important (and often underestimated) element: technique.
If you have specific challenges or concerns, please call or drop by to discuss them with us.
Why do your tours go upstream?
Heading out upstream makes the downstream return just a bit easier, thanks to some gentle assistance from the current, when people may be a bit tired.
And while it's not a guarantee that any given tour will get as far as a lock station (that always depends on the group's overall speed), it is at least possible in this direction, as the Long Island lockstation is closer (just under 3.5 km).
Whether or not your tour actually reaches Long Island lock station, you're almost certain to get far enough to view the massive old stone arch dam - an impressive sight!
Heading upstream allows us not only to see Vimy Memorial Bridge from the water but to paddle right under it, which is a uniquely different experience than driving or walking over it.
This portion of the river is less populated and built-up than the downstream segment, and feels a bit more like an urban oasis and even more of a retreat from the 'concrete jungle'. It's sometimes hard to believe you're still in the city!