For your safety and the safety of our boats, we ask that you follow these rules. Failure to do so may result in suspension of Livery privileges.


  • Personal Flotation Devices must be worn at all times while aboard our boat

  • No alcohol, tobacco, or drugs are allowed on board any boat, and boats will not be rented to individuals who appear under the influence of alcohol or drugs

  • Boat rentals are suspended in sustained winds of 12 knots or above, when gusts are 15 knots or above, or at the discretion of Livery Staff

  • Customers may not use CWB boats in any race other than ones sanctioned by CWB

  • No swimming or fishing from CWB boats or docks

  • Renters are responsible for returning boats in the same condition as when they were checked out

  • Boats may not be tied up to any docks, piers, or pilings other than our own, or make any stops or drop-offs while rented


For Boat Rental participants under 18 years old

Minors demonstrating the required skills for a Livery Checkout may rent sailboats.  There are three categories of checkout: El Toro (El Toro rentals only), Cat Boat (cat boat rentals only), and Sloop (cat boat and sloop rentals). Checkouts are valid for one year from the date of last sail.

Youth Checkouts and Sailboat Rentals are subject to the following:

  • El Toro Checkouts are conducted during Youth Sailing Programs only

  • El Toro Livery is open to CWB Youth Sailing participants only (Weekends May-September)

  • Livery Checkouts in cat boats and sloops can be scheduled with CWB Sail Instructors online

  • Guardians are required to accompany minors during Livery Checkouts

  • Youth ages 14 years and under MUST have guardian supervision dockside or onboard during rental

  • Youth ages 15 years and older may rent the boat they are checked out for without guardian supervision dockside or onboard

  • Guardian-signed Liability Waiver (on Youth Checkout Card) and Boat Use Waiver are required for youth rentals

  • Youth must read the Livery Rules and sign the Livery Log for each rental

Rowboats, Canoes, Kayaks, and Pedal Boats
Human-powered boats may be rented by youth 15 and older without an adult in the boat, provided the youth’s guardian signs CWB’s Liability Waiver and Boat Use Waiver. The youth must read the Livery Rules and sign the Livery Log for each rental.


South Lake Union – boats must stay on Lake Union, between the Fremont and University Bridges. Boats may not pass underneath the Lake Union Park footbridge or congregate near Kenmore Air’s docks. Be alert to other traffic on the lake, especially boats entering and leaving marinas and waterways

Cama Beach – boats must stay in Saratoga Passage, between Holmes Harbor & Penn Cove


The South Lake Union Livery closes when the wind is steady at 12 knots or more, or gusting to 15 knots and above. Sailboats are asked to reef their sails, if possible, starting at about 8 knots.  When the Livery is closed due to high winds, the closure will be re-evaluated on the half hour by measuring wind speed.  Depending on conditions, sailing lessons may continue even if the Livery is closed for rentals.  This is at the discretion of the Livery Manager.

The vessels at the Center for Wooden Boats are museum pieces, and our conservative wind policy reflects the desire to preserve our fleet, not the quality of our sailors.

In the event that lightning is visible from anywhere on the lake, all boats must return to the dock.  Boats will not be rented until no lightning has been seen for fifteen minutes.

The SLU Boathouse has a weather station on its roof – you can view current wind conditions here.


In addition to our general Livery Rules, the following also apply to sailboats.

  • Before renting our sailboats, sailors must first pass a Sailing Checkout, a short demonstration of skills underway. Checkouts must be scheduled in advance; drop-in requests cannot be accommodated.

  • Checkouts are valid for 12 months from the date of last Livery sail. If more than 12 months has passed, sailors will need to schedule and pass a new checkout.

  • One boat at a time in the SLU waterway between the docks, with preference given to boats exiting.

  • Boats must be facing into the wind before raising sails.

  • Boats must have all sails raised before leaving the dock, and when returning.

  • Boats must be docked into the wind when returning.