A Guide to Your First Boating Experience on Lake Chelan
by Guest Contributor, Guy Evans. Photo above is Guy’s mom – Linda Evans-Parlette and his daughter Jessie
Does anything beat boating on Lake Chelan in the summer? The valley does have some great wineries. There are some notable golf courses. And yes, you can always swim from shore. But when the thermometer crests 90, the middle of the lake is the place to be for summertime fun. Here’s a quick overview of basics to get you boating.
Before I talk about the basics of renting and operating a boat, let’s cut to the chase: it’s all about the fun! Here are a few of the simple pleasures of boating on Lake Chelan:
- Tubing: Tubing is the quintessential intro-to-lake-fun activity. Yes, wakeboarding and now surfing are not to be missed. But for your first outing, the tube will create quick and lasting memories. Throw the tube and rope behind the boat. Encourage some of the kiddos to jump on, hit the gas, and listen for the squeals.
- Shoreline Cruise: This is a peaceful way to enjoy an evening. Slowly motor along the shoreline as the sun creeps to bed. A fun way to see the way other people live and vacation along the lake shore.
- Diving Rock: Located some 17 miles up lake from Chelan on the south shore, the diving rock is an age-old favorite of thrill seekers. Motor to the rock, watch others take the plunge, and then if you dare, scale up the cliff for your own leap of faith.
The Boat & Gear Setup
If you’d like to make some of these memories with your friends and family, step one is to rent a boat from my friend Stacy Byquist at Shoreline Rentals. Stacy and his team have an excellent reputation for providing great running boats with great service.
Make a reservation at least a month in advance for busy summer weekend rentals. And if you are new to boating, take a Saturday afternoon before you rent to get your Washington Boater Education Card. Boating, like driving a car, has dangers. Be prepared.
My rental boat of choice for big groups is a pontoon or “party” boat. These offer space to stretch out, shade from the sun, and are perfect for running about the lower part of Lake Chelan.
The Pack List
With the boat reserved, it’s time to pack for the day. Here’s a quick list:
- Food, drinks, sunscreen, & towels.
- An extra layer of clothing. (especially if you will be out in the evening – even on hot days, your body can get chilled from all that time in the water.)
- A good book? If your group is small, enjoy some quiet bobbing in the middle of the lake.
With your boat rented, your bags on board, and all the friends and family safely seated, it is time to push off. Make sure everyone knows where the life jackets are located on the boat. Have them handy. Wear one whenever you are in the water tubing or jet skiing.
Another safety note: keep your eyes open for two things as you zip around the lake. First, other boaters and their tubers/skiers in the water. Give them wide birth. Second, drift wood – floating remnants of wood on the water. Hitting a good sized piece can bend a prop in a second. Eyes open.
The Wrap Up
The upside of renting a boat is you don’t have the hassle of upkeep and maintenance. The downside is it takes a little longer to get going and a little longer to wrap up the day. Shoreline Rentals will ask you to fill up the boat with gas before returning it to the dock. A couple of businesses offer gas across the lake from the city park. Allow at least a half hour to gas up the boat before you get back to turn in the boat.
We’ve only just scratched the surface of boating on Lake Chelan. Look for more posts in the future!
What are your favorite boating rituals on Lake Chelan?
About our guest contributor: Guy is a fifth-generation Lake Chelan native and owner of Guy Evans Lake Chelan Real Estate. He has one daughter and enjoys running, skiing, writing, and serving on civic boards.