General Questions About Stuff

 Here are some commonly asked questions about boating with us. If there is anything that you don’t see here, feel free to email us at [email protected]

Can I rent a sailboat?

We don’t have sailboats for rental, but they are available to season pass holders! A season pass holder may attend our sailing clinics, or pass a basic checkout to show us that they know how to sail.

What should I wear and bring with me?

You should wear any clothing that will protect you from the sun. Hat, sunglasses, clothing you don’t mind getting wet, close-toed shoes. If it’s cooler outside, or rain is in the forecast, bring some extra non-cotton clothes - remember that it’s often cooler by the water than it is on land!

Also bring a snack, water and a plastic bag to pick up trash or put your wet clothes in. Zip Lock bags are useful to seal up anything you really want to keep dry.

When can I take out a Kayak/SUP in the Spring?

We try and open as soon as the weather gets warm. However, we wait until the water temperature gets above 60 degrees. This usually happens sometime in the beginning of May in Massachusetts. 

How old do I have to be to rent a boat?

We want everyone to love boating as much as we do so we only ask that:

  • If you are age 15 and under, your parent or guardian signs the agreement form and you have an adult present on the water.
  • If you're an adult with a group under 15, every child must have a agreement form signed by their parents/guardians and a supervising adult is on the water with the group all the time.
  • If you're age 16 or 17, you have to have an agreement form signed by your parent/guardian, but then you can go onto the water on your own.
  • If you're age 18 and over, well you just have to sign the agreement form and we'll have plenty of those at each site.

Do I have to reserve a boat? Can I reserve a boat?

We do not take boat reservations, everything is first come, first serve. However, we have plenty  of boats on hand that even if they are all out, the wait is not long.

Can I bring my dog with me on the boat?

Of course! We even have dog life jackets to make sure your best friend is as safe as you are. Unfortunately, they are the only pet life jackets we have, so it’s dogs only.

Can we get out of a boat and explore?

If you are in a kayak, canoe, or pedal boat - absolutely! In fact, we encourage you to explore the islands of Hopkinton State Park and the shores and trails of Spot Pond. But if you're in a sailboat, there is no landing for you. You see, it can damage the hull, and we want to make sure you stay safe and the boat stays in good condition for the next person to enjoy!

Oh - and you can’t jump out or go swimming from any of the boats. It’s not because we don’t want you to have fun, but there are all sorts of other motorboats, underwater obstacles and it’s just not safe. Check with the staff, there may be a designated swim area nearby!

Will I tip over in a Kayak, Canoe or Paddleboard?

Possibly, but you know what? It's actually quite normal. They are very stable boats when you're sitting in them, but when you stand up you won't be surprised to find that capsizing is very likely!

But don't worry. You will be wearing a lifejacket, and if you really want to make sure capsizing is no problem, try our Intro to Kayaking or Intro to Paddleboarding classes!

Do I have to wear a lifejacket?

Absolutely! Wearing a lifejacket when you use our equipment is one of those things we won’t budge on. But we’ll give you one that fits perfectly, and our team will help you however they can; putting it on, checking the zippers until you’re snug as a bug!

What happens if I cancel my lesson or camp?

Check out our cancellation page - it has everything that you need to know!

General Questions About Camp

Are the camps inspected and licensed?

Yes. Boating in Boston camps comply with regulations of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (105 CMR 430.000) and are licensed and inspected by the local Board of Health. Additionally, our camps are certified by the American Camp Association.

Are the instructors qualified?

Yes! All of our camp counselors are qualified with at least CPR and First aid certifications. Most counselors are Red Cross lifeguard certified as well, and any training from the American Canoe Association and US Sailing is kept up to date. We make sure that we have a 1:7 ratio, with 1 lifeguard or instructor to every 7 campers.

What are the achievement awards?

We love to recognize the kids for a job well done (and they love it too), so we offer Achievement Awards at the end of every camp week. These are based on the skills the kids learn during camp and are completely voluntary to participate in, but the kids love being able to show off their accomplishments! These awards also help is to work out the skill levels before kids sign up for more advanced camps.

Sailing Achievement Awards:

  • Deck Hand
  • Skipper
  • Helmsman

Paddling Achievement Awards:

  • Paddling
  • Advanced Paddling
  • Paddler Rescue

Do I have to book multiple weeks consecutively?

Nope! You can book your weeks throughout the entire summer, as well as mixing and matching the programs. Feel free to sign up for both sailing and kayaking!

Can we enroll in different camps on the same day?

You sure can! We designed the programs so they can be mixed and matched. You can enroll in just one program for each day (full or half), or you can do a different program in the morning and the afternoon - for example, kayaking in the morning, and sailing in the afternoon!

What if we have enrolled in camp and it rains?

We run the camps rain or shine, so you don't need to worry about some weather spoiling the fun! If it gets crazy, we've got loads of indoor games and activities to keep them busy and tucker them out!

Does my child have to be a great swimmer to enjoy the Boating is Fun camp?

We ask parents to certify that campers are able to swim 50 yards and tread water for 1 minute - this statement is included in the camp waiver. We recommend that campers are Red Cross Swim Level 4 or equivalent. Don't fret, though, because lifejackets are required at all times when on the water!

Are campers allowed to swim?

Swimming is only allowed in certain areas and only when there is a lifeguard there to supervise. Even if they don't go swimming, they'll get plenty wet with games, splashing, and capsizing skills!

What should we pack for camp?

During the day the kids are going to be tearing around outside (and sometimes inside), so to make sure they are fully equipped for their pirate adventures, campers should arrive with:

  • water bottle
  • swimsuit and towel
  • hat
  • waterproof sunscreen SPF 15+ already applied and some to reapply later
  • sunglasses
  • closed toe water shoes or sneakers (no flip flops!)
  • rain gear (depending on the weather)
  • lunch
  • a sense of adventure!

What paperwork do I need for the camp?

Before camp starts it's important we get some documents from you: camp waiver, physical and immunizations (a copy of the school form is fine), any medication & permission to administer. These forms camp be emailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; mailed to Boating In Boston, PO Box 99, Hopkinton, MA 01748; or faxed to (617)500-1374.

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Unofficial History: How Did the Hopkinton Islands Get Their Names?

The Hopkinton Dam & Spillway, built in 1894 to impound portions of the Sudbury River Watershed, was part of Boston's second major water works project serving the Greater Boston area. Now part of Hopkinton State Park, the reservoir no longer acts as an active water source (removed in 2010), but continues to be a beautiful place for recreation, including hiking, biking, fishing and boating.

Within the boundaries of the reservoir lie three not-so-officially named islands: Ivy Island, Bacon Island and Bullion Island, which represent some of the major points of interest for boaters, fishers and nesting ducks. You may have visited some of the islands, but do you know how they got their names? The story originates from our Boating Is Fun Camp.

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