Frequently Asked Questions
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.

  • 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.

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

    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
  • 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 and a dry bag. 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 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.

Ready To Explore Your River?