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Frequently Asked Questions

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So, how does it all work?

Hello!

Milwaukee Kayak Company (#MKC) is a cool, casual, professional and fun paddlesports rental business located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Our fleet of boats includes mostly single person kayaks that fit one person (age 12+). We also carry tandem kayaks, canoes and standup paddleboards.

Our tandem kayaks fit two adults OR one adult and one child. Our canoes fit two adults OR one adult and one small child. All paddlers need to be 12+ to paddle their own kayaks.

Boat Rental Rates:
Single kayak: $35 / 0-4 hours
Tandem kayak: $65 / 0-4 hours
Canoe: $65 / 0-4 hours
Paddleboard (SUP): $35 / 0-4 hours

The cost to rent a single person kayak or paddleboard is $35 for up to 4 hours. The cost to rent a tandem kayak or canoe is $65 for up to 4 hours. When you make your reservation, we will block off 4 hours for you. You can return your boats whenever you’d like during those 4 hours – some paddlers stay out for an hour, some stay out for 4 hours – it’s all up to you!

We encourage reservations, especially on the weekends. When you call to make your reservation, please have this information ready:

1) First and last name
2) Date of reservation
3) Time of arrival
4) How many kayaks (and what kind – singles, tandems, canoes, paddle boards, etc).
5) Contact phone #

We create our schedule based on your schedule and when you want to arrive. After you tell us when you’d like to arrive, we block off 4 hours for you. Once the daily schedule is full, we have to then tell people when boats are available.

We are located on the Milwaukee River, with easy access to the Menomonee River heading west or the KK River going south. We are located in the Harbor District, in a boatyard called Jerry’s Docks. We are across the river from the Historic Third Ward neighborhood and across the street from Next Act Theater.

When you paddle with us, you will be paddling on our rivers. Upon arrival, we will outfit you with the proper boat, life jacket and paddle. We will review the river map and be sure you are comfortable on-land before venturing out. All of our boats launch and return to our dock. We are not a public launch so if you have your own kayak and are looking for a public launch, please see the public launch question below for information, thanks.

We encourage the buddy system and can accommodate individual reservations, small groups and large groups. We offer daily rentals and weekly guided trips. After Labor Day, we begin our “late season hours” open Friday-Sunday only.

If you’re looking to organize a guided trip, please call or email Beth at MKC. (414) 301-2240 or info@milwaukeekayak.com

MKC – Main Location
Milwaukee Kayak Company
– located in Jerry’s Docks
318 SOUTH Water Street
Milwaukee, WI 53204

MKC Mailing Address:
Milwaukee Kayak Company
P.O. Box 1496
Milwaukee, WI 53201

During the summer months, we have two locations – our MAIN location at 318 SOUTH Water Street and our “POP-UP” location at Schlitz Park.

Our Schlitz Park location is currently closed for the season.

If you have any questions, please give us a call anytime.

Where is Milwaukee Kayak Company located?

Milwaukee Kayak Company
– located in Jerry’s Docks
318 SOUTH Water Street
Milwaukee, WI 53204

We are located on the south side of the river, in the Harbor District, across from the Historic Third Ward.

Directions to our main location:
On the corner of 1st Street & Pittsburg (Colectivo Coffee is on that corner) turn east onto East Pittsburg. Continue a couple blocks east and curve to the right, which is SOUTH Water Street (do not go over the Broadway Street bridge into the Third Ward). Proceed on SOUTH Water Street a bit to our location which will be on your left (river side). We are located inside of the boatyard (Jerry’s Docks) and a MKC banner is attached to the fence. We are located in the middle of the boatyard on the river.

During the summer months, we have two locations – our MAIN location at 318 SOUTH Water Street and our “POP-UP” location at Schlitz Park.

Our Schlitz Park location is closed for the season and will re-open in Spring 2020.

What are the days and hours of Milwaukee Kayak Company?

Milwaukee Kayak Company
MAIN LOCATION
318 SOUTH Water Street
Milwaukee, WI 53204
* We are located in a boatyard called Jerry’s Docks

In-Season Days & Hours = Memorial Day thru Labor Day:
We are open everyday from Memorial Day weekend (or sooner) thru Labor Day. After Labor Day, we begin our “late season hours.

After Labor Day, we are open thru mid-October:
• Monday-Thursday: Open by appointment/reservations. No walk-ups. (Please give us a call and we’ll meet you at MKC)
• Friday, Saturday and Sunday: Open for walk-ups and reservations
• Friday @ 10am
• Saturday and Sunday @ 9am
* All boats are due back by 6:30pm (sundown)

Our Schlitz Park location is closed for the season and will re-open in Spring 2020. Thank you.

Do I need reservations?

We encourage reservations to ensure boat availability.

To make a reservation, please call us at (414) 301-2240 and provide this information:
1) First and last name
2) Date of reservation
3) Time of arrival
4) How many kayaks (and what kind – singles, tandems, canoes, paddle boards, etc).
5) Contact phone #

How much does it cost to rent a kayak?

Our fleet of boats includes mostly single person kayaks that fit one person (age 12+). We also carry tandem kayaks, canoes and standup paddleboards.

Our tandem kayaks fit two adults OR one adult and one child. Our canoes fit two adults OR one adult and one small child. All paddlers need to be 12+ to paddle their own kayaks.

There must be an adult in a tandem kayak or canoe with a child present (child = under the age of 18).

Boat Rental Rates:
Single kayak: $35 / 0-4 hours
Tandem kayak: $65 / 0-4 hours
Canoe: $65 / 0-4 hours
Paddleboard (SUP): $35 / 0-4 hours

The cost to rent a single person kayak or paddleboard is $35 for up to 4 hours. The cost to rent a tandem kayak or canoe is $65 for up to 4 hours. When you make your reservation, we will block off 4 hours for you. You can return your boats whenever you’d like during those 4 hours – some paddlers stay out for an hour, some stay out for 4 hours – it’s all up to you!

We encourage reservations, especially on the weekends. When you call to make your reservation, please have this information ready:

1) First and last name
2) Date of reservation
3) Time of arrival
4) How many kayaks (and what kind – singles, tandems, canoes, paddle boards, etc).
5) Contact phone #

We create our schedule based on your schedule and when you want to arrive. After you tell us when you’d like to arrive, we block off 4 hours for you. Once the daily schedule is full, we have to then tell people when boats are available.

Do I need experience?

Our rental fleet consists of recreational and touring kayaks which are ideal for slow moving rivers. We advocate for our rivers and recommend that paddlers renting from MKC stay on our rivers and do not venture out past the Hoan Bridge to Lake Michigan (we do not carry sea kayaks).

Experienced paddlers equipped with sea kayaks and proper safety equipment are more suited for large bodies of water, such as Lake Michigan.

All kayakers must launch and return to our dock and need to enter and exit their kayak from our dock. We are not located on a beach where you can push off from land or sand.

All of our paddlers must know how to swim and be able to pull themselves up onto a dock if their boat capsizes.

Our kayaks do not fit everyone. The maximum weight capacity for our most stable recreational kayak is 325 lbs. – depending on river and weather conditions.

If you have any questions or concerns about weight limits for our kayaks, please give us a call or stop over to talk about kayak options that may work best for you.

We are not able to fit all paddlers so if you have any concerns, please call or visit before making your reservation. Thank you.

Are gift certificates available?

Thanks for asking.

Gift certificates are available along with MKC t-shirts, caps, winter hats and more. Please find our gift certificates online or stop over anytime during business hours.

You can pick up a gift certificate at our main location or give us a call. We will mail the gift certificate to you or the recipient.

Is parking available?

Parking is available on the street or within the gravel area located directly outside of the main entrance gate. We may have parking inside the boatyard too.

Please look for our directional signage outside of the boatyard.

Please keep all goods locked in your trunk. We have a limited supply of dry bags that you can borrow. Dry bags protect your items when on the water and fit a small purse, bag or clothing.

What should I bring and what should I wear?

What should you bring:
– Dress for water temp.
– ID
– $
– Sunglasses
– Hat
– Sunscreen
– Windbreaker (wind, weather, rain)
– Water bottle filled with water
– Consider bringing a phone or camera, but know that it has the possibility of getting wet. We may have dry bags (waterproof bags) available that you can borrow while out on the water.

What should you wear:
You will be paddling, so you may get a little wet while enjoying a great day in the sun.

You should dress for the water temperature (not weather). We recommend wearing lightweight, synthetic, quick dry clothing. Do not wear jeans or heavy cotton clothing. Wear thin-soled shoes or sports sandals. Do not wear boots or thick-soled shoes.

Consider bringing a rain jacket to protect you from wind and other elements. You can always store it in the boat with you.

Please be sure to bring a water bottle filled with water.

What are the weight restrictions?

All of our paddlers must know how to swim and be able to pull themselves up onto a dock if their boat capsizes.

Our kayaks do not fit everyone. The maximum weight capacity for our most stable recreational kayak is 325 lbs. – depending on river and weather conditions.

If you have any questions or concerns about weight limits for our kayaks, please give us a call or stop over to talk about kayak options that may work best for you.

We are not able to fit all paddlers so if you have any concerns, please call or visit before making your reservation. Thank you.

Once You’re Here

What's the age requirement?

All paddlers need to be 12+ to paddle their own kayaks.

Paddlers under the age of 12 can share a tandem kayak or canoe with someone age 18 or older.

All paddlers under the age of 18 need to have their parent/guardian approval, and must have their parents/guardian sign the waiver.

Please call Beth with questions (414) 301-2240.

Print Your Waiver

Download and print your waiver. You will need to have a printed signed waiver signed before you can get out on the water. Save time and print one here or you can sign one when you arrive.

Are life jackets included in rentals?

All of our boat rentals include a life jacket and paddle. All renters must wear a life jacket when near or on the water. We will outfit you when you arrive and have jackets to fit children, youth and adults.

Can we take boat rentals off-site?

All of our kayaks, canoes and paddleboards must launch and return to our dock. We are located Downtown Milwaukee, in the Harbor District, on the Milwaukee River with easy access to the Menomonee (going west) and KK River (going south). You will be paddling on our rivers.

I have my own kayak - can I launch it at Milwaukee Kayak Company's docks?

Our main location located at 318 SOUTH Water Street is located on private property. We are not a public launch but may be able to accommodate a person that may be launching one or two personal kayaks or paddleboards with a single or group reservation. Also, we encourage the buddy system and do not want to separate one person from another or one person from their group. We are cool and understand how things work… our dock just gets busy, we’re located on private property and cannot handle a lot of people launching their own watercraft. Please call or let us know when making your group reservation (with a personal watercraft) so we can talk through it, thanks!

For a complete list of public launches in our watershed, please visit the Milwaukee Riverkeeper website and click on the Urban Water Trail Map.

Otherwise, here is a list of a few good public launches close to our dock:

• Marine Terminal Lofts (MKE River)
This dock is located directly across from our dock and is on Erie Street just east of the Broadway Street bridge. Parking available on the street.

• Between Hansen’s Landing & Harbor Point Condos (MKE River)
This location is across the river and just downriver from our dock. Parking is available on the street. This dock is very convenient and is a nice low dock with public access. The closest intersection is E. Polk Street and E. Erie Street – walk down to the river, between the buildings and you’ll see the public launch. Parking available on the street. *Please note that this launch may be disabled due to the high river levels.

• Riverfront Boat Launch (MKE River/MKE Harbor)
This launch is located at the end of Bruce Street, which is a few blocks downriver from MKC. It is directly in line with the Hoan Bridge. There is a small fee to launch. Please note that this launch can get busy with motorized boats, especially on the weekends. Closest intersection is Bruce Street and South Water Street. Parking available on the street.

• Emmber Lane (Menomonee River)
The Emmber Lane kayak launch on the Menomonee River is a great place to launch your kayak or canoe. The launch is very close to Keep Greater Milwaukee Beautiful’s office. The closest intersection is Emmber Lane and Mt. Vernon Avenue on the Menomonee River and the launch is on the northwest corner of the bridge. *Please note that this launch may be disabled due to the high river levels.

• Kiwanis Landing Boat Launch (MKE River)
One of the best places to launch your kayak or canoe is the Kiwanis Landing Boat Launch near the River Revitalization Foundation offices located on the Milwaukee River near the Humboldt Street bridge. This is very close to the old North Avenue dam. Closest intersection is Humboldt Avenue and Riverboat Road.

• Pere Marquette Park (MKE River)
Pere Marquette has a nice public dock located in the heart of downtown Milwaukee. You may have to park, unload your kayak and then find a parking spot on the street. There are parking structures close by too. This launch is located off N. Old World 3rd Street between W. Kilbourn Avenue and W. State Street.

• Harbor View Plaza (Harbor/Port/KK River)
Harbor View Plaza is the first waterfront public park in the Harbor District, located at the east end of Greenfield Avenue in front of the UWM School of Freshwater Sciences. The Plaza opened in July 2019. Visit the Harbor District website for photos and more information.

Thank you and please call with questions. – Beth @ MKC

What's the policy with weather and general cancellations?

Weather:
Weather is hard to predict, so please come prepared to paddle or give us a call to check in on conditions. Rain, stormy weather, wind and river conditions are all factors when it comes to safe paddling conditions.

General Cancellations:
Please only make a reservation if you know you can keep it. With that said, we understand that life happens and things to come up, so please let us know if you need to cancel your reservation ASAP so we can release your kayaks. We are a small business, understand things come up and appreciate your consideration – thank you!

* We reserve the right to refuse rentals to anyone who may be under the influence of alcohol or for any other reason. Safety is our top priority.

MKC Blog

Tips for a successful day on the river with MKC

Howdy paddler! We receive lots of questions about what people should bring when they rent kayaks from us. Our suggestions are to keep it simple and keep it smart. Breathable clothing, simple footwear and bottled water are great starters.Here’s some more...

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5 good spots to launch your watercraft

MKC is located on private property and unfortunately, we cannot launch personal watercraft from our location. Only our kayaks can launch from our dock. Below are a few good options for people launching their own kayaks.• Please note that the public launch...

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Gift Certificates and Merchandise Available!

Download and Print
Your Waiver!

Don’t worry, you can also fill out
the waiver when you arrive.

MKC - Main Location

318 S Water St,
Milwaukee, WI 53204
*Located inside Jerry's Docks
*Reservations encouraged

Schlitz Park

1555 North RiverCenter Drive
Milwaukee, WI 53212
Thank you for a great season!
See you in Spring.

Say Hello!

For Reservations or Rental Availability
Call: (414) 301-2240

Contact us below with other questions.