Cama Beach Livery FAQ

What is a Livery?

At the turn of the 20th century, liveries were boathouses where the working class could rent a boat for leisure. Our Livery continues that tradition. The Cama Beach Boathouse wasn’t just a Livery, but a working commercial salmon fishing resort where the Livery rented boats and fishing gear to sport fishers and their families.

What kind of boats do you have for rent?

All of the boats in our rental fleet are wood. Boats available for rent at Cama Beach include:


  • Flat iron skiff
  • Square-stern Davis boat
  • Salmon Wherry


  • San Francisco Bay Pelican


  • Monk-designed skiff with gasoline outboard


  • Tow- person Osprey Double kayaks by Pygmy Boats


  • 1941 Willits Canoe

What are the requirements for renting a rowboat or canoe?

Anyone can rent a rowboat or canoe, no experience necessary. We will happily provide free instruction and/or coaching on best rowing or paddling techniques.

Our rowboats are stable, seaworthy, and comfortable even for first-time rowers. The canoes are traditional canvas-covered canoes and may be difficult for inexperienced paddlers.

What are the requirements for renting a kayak?

We require that at least one person of the two people in a kayak or canoe to be an experienced paddler. At least one person in a kayak must verbally describe how to perform a “wet rescue.” The second person may be inexperienced or “just along for the ride”. All persons using a kayak must be 16 years or older.

What are the requirements for renting a sailboat?

The person responsible for the rental or in charge of the sailboat must pass a CWB “checkout” sailing test by an instructor or CWB staff before renting. The checkout is $25 pass or fail.

If someone has other sailing accreditation, they still need to be checked out at CWB. If it has been more than twelve months since the last time that you sailed at CWB, you must do a new checkout. The primary operator/sailor may bring along as many passengers as the boat will safely accommodate, usually 4 adults or the equivalent weight.

Please note that separate checkouts are required for the SLU and Cama Beach locations, because of the difference in facilities.

What are the requirements for renting a motor boat?

No license or certification is required to rent most of our power boats. A CWB staff or qualified volunteer will check out the person responsible for the rental or in charge of the powerboat in the safe operation of the boat. A Washington State Boater Education Card is required to rent a boat with an engine larger than 15 horsepower.

What are the CWB Cama Beach Livery rules?

  • Read the Boat Use Waiver and Rules and sign the Log Book
  • No more than four adults or the equivalent weight in any boat
  • Wear a PFD at all times while in the boat
  • No swimming from boats
  • No alcohol or recreational drugs are permitted on any CWB boat
  • Stay in sight of the Boathouse
  • No boating after dark
  • Must abide by all Washington State Fish & Wildlife Equipment & Regulations
  • Maintain awareness of weather conditions and vessel traffic – obey rules of the road
  • When in doubt about the intent of other boaters, give way

Are Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs) included in the rental?

Yes. We have PFDs for everyone (even babies) at no charge. They must be worn at all times when in the boat.

Where can I take the boat?

  • All boats must stay within sight of the Boathouse
  • You should not go behind points of land where you cannot see the Boathouse
  • All boats may go north to Onamac Point on Camano Island, approximately 3 miles along the shoreline. The point is marked with a large red triangular navigation aid with the number ‘6’
  • Sailboats and gasoline power boats may also go:
  • Northwest to Snatellum Point (marked with green “can” buoy ‘1’) at the entrance of Penn Cove on Whidbey Island (about 7 miles)
  • West across Saratoga Passage to Whidbey Island (about 2.3 miles)
  • South to Baby Island at the entrance to Holmes Harbor (about 3 miles).
  • Rowboats, electric power boats, kayaks, and canoes may go to Onamac Point
  • West to about mid channel or half way to Whidbey Island (about 1.2 miles)
  • South only to Breezy Point, the first point, about ¾ miles (marked with a large red triangular navigation aid ‘4’).
    • Boats may not go to Camano Island State Park because this park is south of and behind Breezy Point, which would hide you from the Boathouse.
    • All boats may be beached if you want to go ashore for a walk or picnic. If you beach the boat away from the Boathouse, please watch it to prevent the boat from floating away or being damaged by waves while on the beach.

Can I go to Baby Island?

You may travel to Baby Island with a motor- or sail-powered boat, but you may not land on the island. The Tulalip Tribes own the island and protect it as sacred ground. The water around the island is very shallow. If you want to get near the shore, pull the engine up or drop the sails and row/paddle in for a closer look, but do not land.

How can I check the weather at Cama Beach?

We have a weather station on the Cama Beach Boathouse:

May I bring other people with me when I rent a boat? How many?

Yes, bring friends and family. The number of people per boat depends on which boat, and the size of the people

  • Most of the rowboats can accommodate up to four adults or the equivalent weight (e.g., 2 adults, 2-3 small children)
  • Powerboats (except the electric motor skiff) can accommodate up to four adults or the equivalent weight (e.g., 2 adults, 2-3 small children)
  • Kayaks must have two persons with at least one adult; the second person must be over 16 years of age
  • Smaller canoes can accommodate two adults or one adult and another person over 16 years old
  • The larger “Old Town Guide Canoe” can accommodate four adults or equivalent weight
  • Our sailboats can take up to four people or the equivalent weight. One person in the group must pass a CWB “checkout” sailing test before renting

Is there a minimum age limit for passengers?

At least one adult must be in the boat at all times when on the water. There is no age limit for passengers in power, sail, or row boats. Anyone using a kayak or canoe must be 16 years or older and accompanied by an adult.

Is the rental rate for the boat in total, or is it per person?

The rate is hourly or daily per boat – bring a friend and split the cost. We charge a one-hour minimum for rowboats, power boats, canoes, and kayaks and a two-hour minimum for sail boats. Gasoline is included in the price of motor boat rental.

When do I need to bring the boat back by?

The latest time that you may rent a boat is one and half hours before closing (i.e., 4:30 PM in the summer).

For daily rentals, boats must return to the Boathouse one half hour before closing (i.e., 5:30 PM in the summer).

Can I make a reservation?

We rent on a first-come, first-served basis, and do not take reservations.

Can I bring food and drink on the boats?

You are welcome to bring a picnic lunch and snacks to enjoy during your rental. Please be mindful of the fact that our rental boats are museum pieces, be gentle with them, and clean up food waste and trash. We do not allow alcohol, smoking, or recreational drugs on any of our boats.

Can I bring my dog?

Your dog is welcome on your boating adventure. We do not have doggie lifejackets. Dogs must be on a leash within Cama Beach State Park unless swimming.

Do you allow fishing and crabbing from your boats?

We encourage fishing and crabbing according to State of Washington rules and seasons. You must have a valid Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife sport fishing license

Light fishing rods and reels are available for rent at the Boathouse. You must supply all other tackle (lures, hooks, etc.) and bait

Crab traps are available for rent at the Boathouse. Crab and fishing bait may be available at the Cama Beach Store.

Please be mindful of the fact that our rental boats are museum pieces, be gentle with them, and clean up excess bait, other fishing waste, and trash