Frequently Asked Questions
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Where your kayaking and rafting questions are answered

We’ll be honest, we had questions the first time we went kayaking and rafting. Here are some of the ones that we kept coming back to (until we learned them inside and out).

  • Where are the paddle stations?

    Find a paddle station near you.

  • Do I have to be experienced to raft or kayak down the bow river?

    Absolutely not! The Bow River is classified as Level 1, and is perfect for beginner and intermediate kayakers / rafters. We’ll also go through a safety session with you prior to you taking off down the river.

  • How long will it take me to raft or kayak from Shouldice to St. Patrick’s Island?

    Typical raft and kayak times are:

    • Shouldice Park to St. Patrick’s Island can take anywhere from 2 to 4 hours depending on the river flow rate which slows down through the summer.

    It’s important to allow yourself extra time as the river speed fluctuates depending on the overall weather.

    To see your route, see Paddle Stations Along The River on our Home page for details of our Stations.

  • How do I get back to my car at the Shouldice station?

    Please note that we DO NOT provide transfers for paddlers so please ensure you make arrangements for your own transportation at the end of your float.

    We recommend the following options:

    • Prebook yourself an Uber – it costs about $28/Uber X vehicle from St. Patrick’s Island to Shouldice Park
    • Call a taxi – it costs about $35 from St. Patrick’s Island to Shouldice Park – dial #TAXI on your mobile phone and get access to all of Calgary Cab companies.
    • Park a second vehicle at St. Patrick’s Island so it is there when you finish your trip
  • What happens if I am out on the water when it begins to storm or hail?

    Just like you being spontaneous with your kayak, sometimes the weather likes to change things up. If you’re on the river and a storm comes up, you must immediately paddle to the south side of the river’s edge. Once you are safe on shore, call 4034562418 for our Crew to collect equipment and then they can arrange transportation for you to get back to your vehicle.

    Please note: there will be 3rd party transportation costs for these situations.

  • Is there an age restriction for The Paddle Station?

    While we support paddlers of all ages, there are some restrictions.

    All minors, including single kayakers under age 18, MUST be accompanied by a parent or guardian. The Paddle Station reserves the right to ask for identification for safety purposes.

    • Children, ages 3 and up are permitted in rafts.
    • Children, ages 6 and up are permitted in double kayaks.
    • Paddlers must be age 16 and older to be permitted in a single kayak.
  • Do you have child-size life jackets?

    Life jackets for children are subject to availability – we recommend bringing your own to ensure you do not have to wait for one.

    No life jacket = no paddling. No exceptions.

  • What is the cancellation policy?

    We understand that plans may change or unavoidable situations arise that necessitate having to cancel or change your trip plans.  However, please understand that once your trip is booked we reserve your space, assign staff and resources to ensure your trip runs smoothly. Few of these costs are recoverable at the last minute.

    With this in mind we apply the following cancellation policy:  

    • Cancellations more than 48 hours prior to booking date and time: Paddle Station credit
    • Cancellations 48 hours or less prior to booking date and time: no refund or credit will be provided
    • Cancellations by The Paddle Station due to suspended operations for weather or any other reason: Paddle Station credit for cancelled bookings made prior to the closure

    We regret that we cannot make exceptions for personal emergencies and recommend that Trip Cancellation Protection be purchased through your travel insurance company to protect your payments.

    *Exceptions to the Cancellation Policy will be considered and made by The Paddle Station Management on a case by case basis.

    This policy is in place to help us create a great experience for everyone looking to connect with their Urban Paddler.

  • What time should I arrive?

    If you booked online, we recommend showing up 15 minutes ahead of your scheduled launch time. This way you’ll have time to review our mandatory safety demonstration , along with sizing your life jacket, and get all your questions answered without cutting into your actual time on the water.

  • What do I do if there’s bad weather the day of my booking?

    We get it, weather here changes on a dime. On the day of your booking if we deem the weather is unsafe for water activity, we will contact you to reschedule your time.

  • Do I really have to wear a life jacket?

    Absolutely. Within city limits an approved life jacket must be worn at all times. If you don’t, you could find yourself with a fine for up to $750. Don’t worry though; we have the life jackets and all other gear to keep you safe on the river provided free of charge with our kayak and raft rentals.

  • What should I bring?

    We’ll provide all equipment, including safety gear. You should bring appropriate water activity gear, including clothing you’re okay getting wet, proper footwear, towel, water, and hat. Not to be forgotten, bring an attitude of fun, ready to let your cares drift away, while you explore the Bow.

  • Is the Bow River safe?

    With any water activity, no matter how safe the river, you must be alert at all times. While the Bow is relaxing, there are still dangers that lurk in the water. Keep an eye out for rocks, trees over and under the river, shallow sections, bridges, and other rafts and kayaks on the river.

  • What happens if I miss the last Paddle Station at St. Patrick’s Island?

    Please be aware of when you are approaching our last location as once you pass our last stop you are in close proximity to Harvie Passage, a highly dangerous rapid area.

    After you have passed the big red Peace Bridge you will pass under several bridges – once the city skyline is behind you, keep right as you approach St. Patrick’s Island and stay on the right hand side of the island – you will see a red arrow directing you to the right. As you near the lagoon you will need to stay left, closer to the island, as there is a small sandbar/island in the river close to the lagoon – you will see the Paddle Station set up on the river’s edge on your left and a Crew member waving you in.

    We will have markers along the shore to let you know you are getting close to our St Patrick’s location. If you to go past our last paddle station location, you must pull over immediately to the left side of the river (Zoo area) and call 4034562418 for our Crew to collect equipment and then arrange transportation for you to get back to your vehicle.

    Please note: there will be a $50 non-negotiable penalty charge plus 3rd party transportation costs.

  • Is there a minimum number of people needed to run a sundowner guided trip?

    We require a 6 person minimum to run a trip however this does not need to be all from one group.  Please feel free to book with any number of people and we’ll match numbers from other groups to meet the minimum per boat. You should book your trip as soon as you know when you want to go.  Only book for the people that you are positive about as we have a 50% cancellation policy within two weeks of your rafting date.

  • What are the terms and conditions?

    Booking Terms and Conditions - 2019

    1. Rental Rates (all inclusive of helmets, PFDs, paddles, and an emergency safety kit)

    Rental rates are as posted and subject to change without notice.

    2. Pre-authorization

    A pre-authorization amount of $300.00 CAD per vessel will be temporarily (up to 7 days) held on your credit card and will be released once you reach your end destination, provided all the rental equipment is returned in its original condition.

    3. Maximum allotted time per rental

    ROUTES

    MAXIMUM TIME ALLOTTED

    Shouldice Athletic Park to St. Patrick’s Island Park West Baker Park to St. Patrick’s Island Park West Baker Park to Shouldice Athletic Park

    Time will be posted each day

    After the maximum allotted time, penalty rates will apply. Please ensure that you stop only at our designated Paddle Station.

    4. Penalty Rates

    Opened/Compromised Emergency Kit

    $30/kit

    Single Kayak/SUP

    $30.00 CAD/ hr delayed

    Double Kayak

    $40.00 CAD/ hr delayed

    Rafts

    $60.00 CAD/ hr delayed

    5. Cancellation policy

    We understand that plans may change or unavoidable situations arise that necessitate having to cancel or change your trip plans. However, please understand that once your trip is booked we reserve your space, assign staff and resources to ensure your trip runs smoothly. Few of these costs are recoverable at the last minute.

    With this in mind we apply the following cancellation policy:

    • Cancellations more than 48 hours prior to booking date and time: Paddle Station credit

    • Cancellations 48 hours or less prior to booking date and time: no refund or credit will be provided

    • Cancellations by The Paddle Station due to suspended operations for weather or any other reason: Paddle Station credit for cancelled bookings made prior to the closure

    We regret that we cannot make exceptions for personal emergencies and recommend that Trip Cancellation Protection be purchased through your travel insurance company to protect your payments.

    6. Equipment damage or replacement fees

    The fee for rental equipment damaged, lost or stolen will be equal to the full replacement cost of the item in question. Determination of level of damage is at the discretion of the The Paddle Station.

    7. Vessel Retrieval Rates

    A vessel retrieval fee of $100.00 CAD will be charged to your credit card if you pass the last designated endpoint, St. Patrick’s Island Park, and require Paddle Station staff assistance to return your rented vessel to a Paddle Station.

    8. Waiver

    Every paddler, or the parent of a minor, is required to review and sign a waiver before any rental equipment will be provided by The Paddle Station.

    Please review the waiver carefully before signing. Electronic waivers can be emailed to yourself. Please ensure you take a copy of the waiver with you before leaving the booking area.

    9. Reporting time

    Please arrive at the location you have booked to start paddling from, at least 15 minutes prior to your rental time.

    If you arrive later than 15 minutes past your rental time, your booking will be cancelled or you will be subject to a delay penalty.You will not receive a refund if you fail to report by your rental time.

    10. Safety

    All paddlers MUST wear a life jacket. No Exceptions. It is your responsibility to ensure the life jacket provided fits you and/or your child. Failure to wear your life jacket may result in a $500 fine per paddler by the Calgary Police Service/Calgary Fire Department. Life jackets for children are subject to availability – we recommend bringing your own to ensure you do not have to wait for one.

    Adult sized helmets are available by request. The Paddle Station does not provide child sized helmets.

    It is your responsibility to ensure you understand and follow all instructions provided to you by the Paddle Crew.

    11. Age Restrictions

    All minors, including single kayakers under age 18, MUST be accompanied by a parent or guardian. The Paddle Station reserves the right to ask for identification for safety purposes.

    • Children, ages 3 and up are permitted in rafts.

    • Children, ages 6 and up are permitted in double kayaks.

    • Paddlers must be age 16 and older to be permitted in a single kayak.

    12. Pets

    Animals are only permitted on kayaks. Absolutely no animals are permitted on rafts. The Paddle Station does not provide safety equipment for animals. The Paddler assumes all risks related to any animal they choose to take on a kayak.

    13. Cleaning Fee

    Please note you will be subject to a cleaning fee of $50 in the event your raft is not returned free of garbage, mess and debris. Please ensure you remove ALL of your disposables and recyclables.

    PADDLE STATION EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBER: 403-456-2418

Ready To Explore Your River?