Frequently Asked Boating Questions
How do I pay? You may pay by credit card when you arrive at Catch a Canoe for your reservation timeslot. Guests of the Stanford Inn may request a room charge if they are staying at the Inn that night.
Will I see harbor seals and otters? It is very possible and does not depend on the time of day. Important information about marine mammals is at the bottom of this page.
How many people do the redwood outriggers hold? A minimum of two persons are required. We offer several variations on the ultra-stable double outrigger design. Different models can accommodate up to 7 persons, while some versions such as the Canine Cruisers are designed specifically for pets with their humans. We also have a variety of designs that are made for families of different sizes including an 8-person twin hull catamaran. All of these are equipped with a foot controlled rudder for easy steering.
Can I just show up and take my chances, or do I need to have a reservation? We ask everyone to pre-reserve our boats to ensure social distancing between groups.
What if I'm late for my reservation timeslot? It's very important to arrive exactly on time or slightly early for your reservation or we may not be able to launch you. This is because you'd be overlapping onto the next group's reservation time.
Are you pet friendly? Our awesome redwood outriggers are excellent for pets. The canine models are specifically designed and made for people with dogs. Some models also feature a padded hang-out area. These unique canoes are extra stable and are the only human-powered boats in the world that are made specifically for pets and their humans.
Do you have an age restriction for children? If your baby is over 6 months old we have a lifejacket that will fit them. For safety's sake, we require children under 10 to be in one of our stable redwood outrigger canoes.
What should we wear? Dress like an onion so you can peel off the layers when it warms up, or put them back on if it cools down. Fleece and a windbreaker works well.
What weather should we expect?
Summertime highs range from about 60 to 75 degrees, while wintertime highs are usually in the 50's. The California rainy season is from November through April and rain may happen, but we remain open for those who don a rain jacket and want to get out on the water. Other times of the year it may be foggy on the coast and clear upriver to the east. Hot tip—canoeing in the rain can be a magical experience!
What can we bring on board the boats?
Food and non-alcoholic beverages are permitted. Any extra clothing is good insurance in case the wind comes up. Cell phones will get service upriver if your provider is Verizon or US Cellular.
What if it rains? Most people bring rain gear and it can be very pleasant on the water with light rain. We definitely don't want you to go if you don't want to. If you'd like to cancel, please email email@example.com 48 hours prior to your rental so we can release your boat and time slot to another family.
How long can we keep our boat? Up to three hours is the maximum. During Covid times we have temporarily eliminated our day rates so we have enough time to disinfect each returning boat.
Do you offer overnight rentals?
We only offer same-day rentals. This is because all of Big Rivers's adjacent lands are part of the Mendocino Headlands State Park system. Camping is only allowed in designated areas with facilities available.