Taking a boat out is a fun activity anywhere you go – but Seattle has something special that you won’t find many other places. The Center for Wooden Boats (CWB) is a maritime history gathering spot in which visitors can do more than just learn about this craft heritage in the Pacific Northwest, but actually get involved; that is, you can rent a boat and take it out yourself!
The skills of boat building and sailing have been an integral part of American history, and this organization’s mission is to preserve those traditions while giving newcomers an opportunity for hands-on experience.
The CWB offers youth and adult skill workshops, lessons, rentals, and sailing classes. There’s also library in the boathouse with more detailed info. Hours vary by season, but it normally opens at 10am and closes at either 5pm (winter) or 8pm (summer).
If you have a choice of what day to stop by on your Seattle visit, definitely go on a Sunday if you can – there are free boat rides! Of course you’ll have to get there early and be prepared to wait a bit (or lurk nearby while getting something to eat), especially on days with amazing weather, but the CastOFF! Free Public Sail & Steam Program could be just what your weekend needs.
Admission to the center itself is free, so you can take a look for yourself – there are two locations, one on Lake Union (downtown) and another on Camano Island’s Cama Beach State Park. If you do rent a boat or donate (either financially or something from the wish list), you can feel good that you’re supporting an organization run by hundreds of volunteers who do loads of community outreach programs.