Frequently Asked Questions
If you are planning your first visit with us, we encourage you to review our frequently asked questions to best be prepared.
FAQs (Select a Category Below)
LOCATION, ACCESS & PARKING
Where are you located?
Find us on the lower level of the Waller Creek Boathouse, 74 Trinity Street, on the north shore of Lady Bird Lake where Trinity Street ends at the lake in downtown next to the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail, just below the Four Seasons Hotel. Look for our sign at the top of the staircase east side of the boathouse, leading downstairs to us!
Do you have public parking?
Waller Creek Boathouse has NO public parking nor affiliation with area parking garages. Guests are encouraged to find parking in advance of checking in for rentals or Guided Tours.
Parking options for guests are as follows:
— Downtown metered street parking and walk to us.
— The metered lot at 600 River Street (Mexican American Cultural Center) and walk down the Hike & Bike Trail to us (less than five minute walk). Look for the black gate at the west end of the lot, walk down the hill, across the pedestrian bridge where the Boathouse rises ahead of you.
Parking meters in the downtown area (IH-35 to Lamar Boulevard, and Lady Bird Lake to 10th Street) operate during the following times: Monday and Tuesday - 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Friday - 8 a.m. to 12 midnight. Saturday, 11 a.m. to 12 midnight.
Is there free parking?
Metered parking is FREE on Sunday and select major holidays recognized by the City of Austin.
Do you have public restrooms?
Yes, restrooms are located on the patio/upstairs level of the boathouse outside of ALTA’s Cafe. A code for the door can be provided by Boathouse front desk staff, ALTA’s Cafe staff, or our staff upon request.
May our dog accompany us?
Yes, a leashed pet is welcome in our kayaks and SUP.
HOURS OF OPERATION & RENTAL POLICIES
Do I need a reservation?
No, all rentals are available on a first come, first served basis every single day.
How long can I rent for?
Our rental rates are by the hour. Guests pay for the initial hour at check-in. If the guest/group goes beyond the initial paid hour, they can settle the additional rental fee on their return. Additional hour rates apply: $7 plus tax for single and double kayaks and $15 for triple kayaks and standup paddleboards.
Please be advised that we are firm not offering rentals after our last hour of operation for the day.
What are your hours when most busy?
Weekend afternoons are typically our busiest hours, so we recommend weekend mornings for quickest access to the lake or visit during our weekdays.
How late can I be on the water?
Last rentals for the day are always one hour before closing. Late fees are applied per boat for late returns after closing hour. For guests’ safety and comfort, we do not permit rental guests on the water after closing.
What happens if I show up after the last hour has started?
Unfortunately we are unable to boat guests after our last hour of operation. Guests are welcome to return the next day for rentals.
What happens if you run out of paddleboards or kayaks when I check in?
While we do have a large fleet offering, if a guest’s desired watercraft is unavailable at the time of check-in, our staff will provide guests with the next available option to get on the water now.
If guests are not satisfied with the next available option, guests are welcome to come back at a later time with the understanding that they will have to get back in line if there is a line.
Please keep in mind this scenario is most likely to occur during our peak season, between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
When paddleboards or kayaks are limited, can I get an update on when some will be available?
We do not update availability due to guest launch and return times being unknown and staggered throughout the day with varying rental duration.
Do you ever close early?
Possibly. Two primary reasons CAvK may close early are inclement weather or a private event at the Waller Creek Boathouse. Updates are posted here, on our social media channels, and/or on-site at the Boathouse.
REQUIRED IDENTIFICATION & PAYMENTS
What form of payments do you accept?
We currently do not accept cash, but do accept major credit cards, and mobile wallet payment methods Apple Pay and Samsung Pay.
Do I need to bring anything beyond my form of payment?
Yes, guests are required to provide a government issued photo ID (Driver’s License or Passport) per watercraft for all rentals and Guided Tours. No substitutions or barters are accepted. ID’s are retained for the duration of the rental.
- If two (2) guests request a single kayak each, both guests must provide ID’s to complete the rental.
- If two (2) guests request a double kayak, one (1) guest must provide an ID to complete the rental.
If guests are under the age of 16 without a government issued photo ID, a parent or guardian must provide an ID for the rental and remain with those under age guests on the water at all times.
In 2020, during the pandemic, a face covering is required except when on the water.
What happens if I didn’t bring my ID at the time of check-in?
If a guest does not present a government issued photo ID (Driver's License or Passport) at the time of check-in for each boat to rent, we are unable to boat that guest. Guests may choose to retrieve their ID offsite and return to our desk to rent.
What happens if I leave after renting and forgot to retrieve my ID?
Contact our rentals desk immediately via phone so we can attempt to return the ID before daily closing. We hold onto ID’s until we have been notified by the individual if it will be picked up in person or needs to be mailed.
POLICIES AND PROCEDURES OVERVIEW
What is included in my Rental/Guided Tour fee?
Our fees include your kayak or standup paddleboard, a life vest, and paddle. Available for purchase are water, sunscreen packets, hats, t-shirts, sunglasses, sunglass Croakies, and cell phone pouches.
Where do I store my personal items?
Our complimentary open storage cubbies are available for non-valuables. We cannot store personal items at this time due to the COVID19 VIRUS. We suggest a backpack or fanny pack to take items with you.
Can I still rent if I have never paddled before?
Absolutely. First time paddlers are always welcome! Our dock assistants can provide a paddle tutorial and answer your questions so you feel comfortable before launching from our docks.
Will I flip over?
Our kayaks and paddleboards are stable and easy to use. Most guests do not flip. We lend a hand and our expertise to ensure guests are seated before launching from our docks. We advise valuable items not be taken aboard unless you can secure items can float and stay dry in your kayak Also, keeping your paddle within reach is always encouraged. Don’t hesitate to ask for assistance or ask questions.
Will I be helped in and out of my kayak?
Yes. Our dock assistants are here to assist with getting you safely in and out of your kayak or on and off your standup paddleboard. On busy weekends you may need to exit the boat under your own power. If you fall out during your paddle, seek assistance from others on the lake or swimkick the boat to the nearest shore.
Am I required to have a life vest?
Yes, per Texas law, any vessel less than 26 feet long, including canoes, kayaks, and other paddlecraft require a USCG-approved Type I, II, III, or V (wearable) life vest/PFD while underway (not at anchor, moored, or aground). Vests are required to be worn at all times by children under 13 years of age.
Can I bring a cooler on my kayak or standup paddleboard?
Yes, guests are welcome to store personal coolers on their watercraft with the understanding that consuming alcohol is prohibited on our watercraft and on Lady Bird Lake per the City of Austin. Additionally, no glass containers are permitted on our watercraft.
Can I swim in Lady Bird Lake?
No, the City of Austin has banned swimming in Lady Bird Lake since 1964. According to City of Austin Code § 8-5-48, unless you’re rescuing someone, doing construction authorized by the city or swimming in a permitted event, you cannot swim in the lake.
What if I am unable to return my watercraft?
Guests are discouraged from abandoning our watercraft at all times. In case of emergency, safely swimkick your craft to the shore. Please call our rentals desk to speak with the manager on duty. Abandoned watercraft is subject to a fee.
SEVERE WEATHER & WINDS
How are weather decisions made?
The current day’s weather report is received by our managers. As the weather can change abruptly overnight and hour to hour here in central Texas, we offer guests an update the day of via phone or upon arrival at desk check-in with forecasted weather and lake conditions that may impact paddling. The safety and comfort of our guests is our guide.
What factors impact boating of guests?
Key factors are wind speed, wind chill, storm activity on/near downtown Austin, and current flowing downstream. Signage will be posted at our check-in desk if significant factors halt boating or limit the duration of your paddling time.
Will wind conditions impact my outing?
Guests will be made aware of breezier than normal conditions at check-in and will be directed to paddle into the wind. Guests new to SUPs will be encouraged to kayak instead on windy days. Our staff regularly checks the radar and monitors lake conditions to guide our guests safety and comfort when paddling with us.
What happens if a storm or lightning occurs while I’m on the water?
If guests are close to our docks, we encourage returning as soon as possible. If guests are not close to our docks, we encourage taking shelter under a bridge until the storm has passed. Launching of boats will be halted until storms have cleared the area and the manager on duty deems conditions are safe.
If weather impacts my rental, can I get a refund?
Yes, guests can be refunded if weather conditions have impacted their rental time in the first 20 minutes of launching.
How many per boat
Is your practice one guest per SUP?
Yes, one guest per SUP.
COVID19 Practices 2020
What are virus prevention steps at CAvK?
First, a face cover and social distancing are required at our open air boathouse location.Our waiting line is clearly marked with signage and staff frequently monitor. Second, our sanitation of our paddles and vests include disinfectants applied. Third, our desk area and staff follow the sanitation guidelines issued by TDHS. For guests who desire 100% disinfected site and items, we would love to see you but a choice might be to come paddle with us later when the virus transmission level has decreased, for peace of mind.