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Electric Boats are Smooth Sailing for All Ages


Editor's note: Updated June 2018



Kayaks and canoes take muscles. Sailing takes skill. Powerboats can be loud and stinky. Ride-the-Ducks require an acceptance of “wacky quackers” — a beak-like noisemaker reminiscent of a kazoo.

But a trip on an electric boat requires little more than a sense of adventure and the ability to steer.

“This is the perfect way to introduce children to the water,” said Jennifer Towne, owner of The Electric Boat Company in Seattle. The ride is quiet and smooth, and the kids can even take a turn at the wheel — provided a parent is within reach.

Electric Boat rents 21-foot vessels that hold 10 adults or children. The seats are cushy, there’s a table in the center that’s great for picnicking, and the covered cabin is surrounded by plastic windows that you can open in fair weather. The inside of the boat “is truly like a big playpen,” Towne said. Kids wear life jackets and the hull is deep enough that it would be difficult for a child to fall overboard, she said, which so far hasn’t happened.

You set sail from the dock on the west side of Lake Union. Motoring east toward Portage Bay provides a closer look at deluxe houseboats, the chance to watch seaplanes take off and land, and views of the city and Gas Works Park. Tie up at Ivar’s Salmon House below the Interstate 5 Ship Canal Bridge to grab a bite from the takeout window.

Or head west, cruising under the Fremont and Ballard bridges. The boats offer a lakeside view of tugs and the Alaskan crabbing fleet when it’s docked at Fishermen’s Terminal.

Towne loves that the boats are great for passengers of all ages, from nursing moms with newborns to grandparents who aren’t up for another trip to the zoo.

But be ready for possible tears. When the boats return, “I’ve had children hanging on crying, not wanting to get off,” Towne said.


The Electric Boat Company

2046 Westlake Ave N, Suite 102, Seattle


Rentals are $99 an hour with a two-hour minimum and four-hour maximum, tax not included. 

 with a two-hour minimum and four-hour maximum, tax not included. 

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