Address: Bellegarde Boathouse & Kayak Center, 500 Pawtucket Blvd. Lowell, MA 01854

The Kayak Center utilizes the outdoor space of the UMass Lowell Bellegarde Boathouse. During open hours, Kayak Center staff can be found near the dock area or at the far right open bay door.

Parking: Free parking is available in the adjacent parking area for the Vandenberg Esplanade along the shoulder of Pawtucket Boulevard.

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Required-WaiversRequired Waivers

Please complete these forms online:


Rain doesn't stop us! We paddle in the rain! Rain is actually a really great time to be on the water, it's typically very calm and can be super memorable to spend time outside in the rain! If you are thinking about it, we encourage you to try it.

In more significant adverse weather, the Kayak Center may postpone rental or program activity. Adverse weather that will interrupt our activities includes: wind is above approx. 15 miles per hour (mph); when white caps are visible on the water; before, during or after severe storms; when water levels and current are expected to rise significantly; and when thunderstorms threaten the area.

When conditions are questionable, please call the Kayak Center to inquire if we are operational.

When we have to cancel a program due to adverse weather, we will make every effort to re-schedule the program or we will fully refund participants.


We offer paddling opportunities for people of all ages. Please see the guidelines below or talk with one of our staff to make sure the child has the best possible experience on the water! Please keep in mind that weather, wind and water conditions may affect children significantly more than adults. Children under 12 and sometimes older are not recommended in winds above 7 knots (approximately 8 mph). It is very important that children (and adults) are never strapped into the boat in the event of a capsize. All children must have a valid minor waiver on file before they are allowed to boat.

  • Infants 6 months old and older, toddlers and young children up to 7 years old are best suited to paddle in a wide cockpit kayak, tandem kayak, or canoe with at least one adult in the same boat. We recommend a second adult to attend to the child. Our infant personal flotation devices (PFDs) require a minimum weight of 20 pounds.
  • Kids 8-11 years old depending on their level of comfort may paddle their own boat under the direct supervision of an adult on the water with them. One adult may supervise no more than 3 children of this age at a time on the water.
  • Kids and Teens 12-15 years old may paddle their own boat under the direct supervision of an adult on the water with them. One adult may supervise no more than 5 children of this age at a time on the water.
  • Teens 16 years old and older may paddle their own boat under the direct supervision of an adult on the water with them. One adult may supervise no more than 7 children of this age at a time on the water.
  • Adults 18 years old and older are able to participate in our full programs and rentals as stated.


We do not allow participants to bring pets into the boats.

bring-your-own-boatBring Your Own Boat

For those who own their own boat, there is a $5 fee to launch out of the Kayak Center dock. To use our shuttle service, the $35 shuttle fee applies, but you will not be charged a rental fee. If you have a rowing shell you would like to launch at our boathouse, we encourage all adult rowers to join the Merrimack River Rowing Association for access. Our site is not suitable or available for launching motor boats.

Paddle Safety Guidelines

The following are the first seven Essential Eligibility Criteria from the American Canoe Association's (ACA)'s Paddle Safety Requirements. Each paddler should meet these criteria.

  1. Breathe independently (i.e., not require medical devices to sustain breathing)
  2. Independently maintain sealed airway passages while under water (i.e. hold your breath)
  3. Independently hold head upright without neck / head support
  4. Manage personal care independently or with assistance of a companion
  5. Manage personal mobility independently or with a reasonable amount of assistance
  6. Follow instructions and effectively communicate independently or with assistance of a companion
  7. Independently turn from face-down to face-up and remain floating face up while wearing a properly fitted life jacket


paymentPayment, Cancellation and Refunds

All credit card payments will appear as "UML Campus CTR" on billing statements. Payments are due in full before the start of services unless otherwise agreed upon in writing. We accept credit card payments only, or debit cards that can be processed as a credit card. Sorry we cannot accept: American Express cards or cash.

For general rentals (un-guided trips), deposits are not required. You may choose to pre-pay; if you pre-pay for a rental but aren't able to come, or if you overpaid, you may request a credit for future use, or request a refund to kayakcenter@uml.edu. If you arrive and choose to paddle for a shorter time than you paid for, you are not eligible for a refund or credit.

For custom group bookings, deposits are due 21 days or more before the trip date. The deposit may be refunded if group leaders cancels 22 days or more before the trip date. Deposit will no be refunded if cancelled 21 days or less before the trip date. Full payment is due on the day of the trip, base on the exact number of participants.

For all trips, if we are forced to cancel your reservations due to weather (generally thunderstorms or significant wind) or other major event outside of our control, we will contact you the day before or the morning of you trip and try to reschedule or you will be fully refunded.

All participants are expected to be responsible for arriving on time and prepared for trips. Remember, rain is fantastic to paddle in. We do not cancel for only rain, especially since it's a great time to be on the water! Those who register for a trip but do not show up on time for a trip cannot receive a refund.

Management of Trips and Services

The Kayak Center reserves the right to cancel any trip before departure or shorten any trip after departure due to safety consideration or other factors. In addition, the Kayak Center reserves the right to change the itinerary of the trip for reasons that include, but are not limited to: weather, group experience, emergencies, safety considerations, etc. The Kayak Center reserves the right to send home early any participant who cannot withstand the rigors of the trip, who violates any program policy or law, who is deemed to be a danger to him/herself or others, or who requires medical attention during the trip and is deemed ineligible to continue participation. No refund will be provided for early departures. Accommodations and transportation back to campus will be at the expense of the participant.

If your rental is cut short due to weather concerns, we will provide a credit for the remaining time for future use.

Alcohol, Drugs and Tobacco

It is our mission to provide healthy and safe outdoor recreation experiences. Alcohol and drugs are PROHIBITED. We represent UMass Lowell on our trips and we need to follow the university's zero tolerance policy even while away from campus. Consumption and/or possession of alcohol or drugs while attending an Outdoor Adventure trip or event will be handled through the appropriate UMass Lowell authorities. We encourage participants to refrain from use of tobacco products during trips and rentals. Smoking in the boats is not allowed. If you do use tobacco products all related trash must be properly disposed of to protect the sensitive areas we travel.

Harassment and Discrimination

No harassment of any kind will be tolerated by participants or staff during any Outdoor Adventure trip or event. The Outdoor Adventure Program strives to be sensitive and supportive of cultural and individual differences—specifically those differences due to age, gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, and socioeconomic status. We encourage respect and appreciation for the diversity of all participants and staff and we hope you will do the same. It is your responsibility to report any misconduct to Outdoor Adventure Program staff or the Program Coordinator immediately.

Equipment Use

The Outdoor Adventure Program (OAP) seeks to provide what trip equipment we can to participants in order to provide a safe and fun trip experience. Participants are responsible for equipment rented to them by the Outdoor Adventure Program. Participants will be responsible for paying for any damaged or lost equipment as assessed by the Outdoor Program Coordinator.


If you have any questions, you may contact: Kate Ford, Outdoor Programs Coordinator and Boathouse Manager by phone: 978-934-1549 or email: kate_ford@uml.edu.