Sunday Public Sail

A Seattle tradition for more than 25 years! Our volunteer skippers and crew take passengers out on Lake Union for unforgettable voyages. Sprit boats, steamboats, electric boats, schooners, ketches, yawls, and yachts: come every Sunday to sail them all, year-round, rain or shine for free.


How do I sign up? When should I get there?

Sign-ups begin in person at 10:00am every Sunday. We recommend arriving early to ensure your first choice, especially on sunny days and holiday weekends.
It is important to be aware that this is a first-come, first-served opportunity and the number of spots available each day depends on boat maintenance schedules, and volunteer skipper and crew availability. The absolute maximum spots available each Sunday is 200; this means that we are unfortunately not always able to accommodate everyone.

When does the ride start? How long is the boat ride?

Boats generally depart between 11:00am and 3:00pm, however we don’t know which boats will be going out at what times until Sunday morning. Most boat rides are 45 minutes to 1 hour long.

What boats are available? How many people can go on the boats?

We generally have between three and eight boats available each week. Our boats are powered by sail, steam, electricity, oars, or paddles. The capacity of each vessel varies, with our smallest accommodating 4 passengers, and the largest 13 – 15 guests.

Can kids come? Elderly people?

Yes! There are no age restrictions, and we have lifejackets for everyone. Please note that our rides are in historic vessels and CWB staff and volunteers are unable to aid in assisted lifts. There may be steps of up to 1.5′ onto a secured, but shifting vessel.

Our docks and the public areas of our museum are fully accessible.

Do I have to wait around for the ride?

No. After signing up in person, we invite you to explore the neighborhood, walk the docks, or grab a bite to eat while you wait. Make sure to return at least 20 minutes before your scheduled ride to check back in and get ready.

Does my whole party have to be present for sign ups?

No. One person may sign up for up to 3 additional people, for a total of 4 people.

What if the rides are full when I reach the front of the line?

If the rides fill up before you reach the front of the line, we have several other options for you:

Rent a rowboat! We have a small fleet of beautifully maintained, traditional rowboats available for rental. No experience is required, if you’ve never rowed before our Livery Staff and Volunteers will give you a short training. Click here for more information about rentals.

Become a member and skip the line! CWB Members can reserve up to 4 spots for Public Sail at no charge. Only a limited number of spots are released for early reservation on the Monday before each Public Sail. Click here for more information or to reserve your tickets!

Can I reserve a space before-hand, or over the phone?

Current CWB members may now reserve up to four spaces in advance through our website. For more information or to reserve a spot, click here. Not a member yet? It’s easy! Sign up online here.

Does this happen year-round, rain or shine?

Yes. The only time we cancel free rides is when winds on Lake Union reach 13mph sustained. Feel free to give us a call if you would like to check weather conditions, or look right here.

Can I bring food and drinks along?

Not really. You can of course bring along a water bottle, but Boat Rides are generally active and not a good time to eat or drink. If it’s a floating picnic you’re after, consider renting a Livery Boat.

Alcoholic beverages are not allowed on any CWB boat.

Can I bring my dog along?

No. Dogs are, however, allowed aboard rented livery boats.

We are able to accommodate service dogs on most boat rides. Please notify staff when you are signing up.

Is it really free?

Yes, it’s really free! However donations are greatly appreciated and go directly into the boat maintenance and materials that are required to keep this program going.