P.O. Box 283, Oquossoc, ME 04964207-670-8391rangeleycruises@gmail.com
Mountain VistasMothership at anchorageMoose near Indian Rock
Mountain Vistas
Mothership at anchorage
Moose near Indian Rock

Kayak Trips: Frequently Asked Questions

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What is your season?

Our paddling trips begin Memorial Day Weekend and continue until mid-September.  Weather permitting, special trips can be arranged outside these dates. Please call.

How are your kayak trips scheduled?

Our trips are scheduled every Wednesday morning. Reservations are required. A minimum of 8 (maximum of 12) paddlers/passengers are required for a trip to run. See our Mothership Kayak Excursion 2013 Summer Schedule for actual dates and lake locations. Note: As determined by weather, we have the option to change the lake location on any trip.

With groups of 8 or more an additional trip on other days of the week can be arranged to fit your schedule. Please call us.

Where and when do we meet?

All our kayak paddle trips will meet at the Oquossoc Grocery parking lot in the Village of Oquossoc (Intersection of RT 4 and RT 17).  The “Gray Ghost” will be parked in the lot no later than 7am on the morning of the trip. We ask that you arrive not later than 7:30am for registration at the Grocery. Please visit us at the table in front of the vessel where we will introduce ourselves, complete the necessary paperwork and collect payment for your trip.  You will then have time to purchase food and drinks at the Oquossoc Grocery and use the Public Bathrooms.  We will depart promptly at 8am for the scheduled State Boat Ramp.  Unfortunately, if you are late, we will have to leave without you and you will forfeit your deposit. PLEASE be punctual.

How long is the trip?

Our trips will meet for registration at the Oquossoc Grocery at 7:30am and, following the trip, we will return to the scheduled boat ramp at approximately 2pm. Typically we are on the water from 9am – 1pm, which will include 2-2.5 hours of paddling. For specific trip descriptions, you can select the particular paddle trip on the homepage and select “trip itineraries” to see scheduled times.

Is there an age requirement?

Yes, for paddlers to kayak solo they must be 16 years old. Children between the ages of 12 and 15 may participate in a tandem kayak only and must be accompanied by a parent/guardian 25 years or older.

Do I need a reservation?

Yes, reservations are required for all paddle trips and cruises.

What type of payment do you accept?

We accept cash, check, and credit cards.  There is an ATM inside the Oquossoc Grocery. For credit card processing, we use “The Square” on our tablet and you will be asked to sign the tablet and, if a receipt is desired, provide us your e-mail address.

Is there a deposit required?

Yes, when you make a reservation we will ask for a 50% deposit.  If you are using a credit card, we will ask for your credit card number, expiration date, CCV 3-digit code, and name as it appears on the card.  We will, however, not process this payment until the date of your trip. If you do not show for your trip by 7:30 am, you will forfeit your deposit. If, after registering at the Oquossoc Grocery, you do not show at the boat ramp at the announced departure time, you will forfeit full payment. Deposits are fully refundable if you cancel at least one week (7 days) in advance. Trips will only be cancelled due to weather by us, in which case you will receive a full refund.

What is the maximum/minimum number of guests on a given trip?

The minimum number of paddlers for a trip to be scheduled is eight (8). The maximum number of paddlers or non-paddlers is twelve (12).

Do you offer trips on all the Rangeley Lakes?

No, we do not offer trip on Lake Umbagog. Our trips are scheduled on Rangeley, Mooselookmeguntic, Cupsuptic, and Upper Richardson Lakes.  Please see the Mothership Kayak Excursions 2013 Schedule on our web site from specific dates and lake locations. We also offer a non-paddling “Lunch at Lakewood” Premier Package that includes lunch at the historic Lakewood Camps and Middle Dam.

Can the “Gray Ghost” be reserved for other uses?

Absolutely!!  We intend to use the “Gray Ghost” as a second cruise boat, along with the “Oquossoc Lady”.  The “Gray Ghost” is the largest pontoon boat on the Rangeley Lakes and offers a large seating capacity (up to 15 passengers) and ample room to host various events. We can also offer “standing room only” packages for up to 20 passengers. If you are looking for a unique experience on the Rangeley Lakes, let us know and we can put together a special cruise/event package for your family or group.

Are there guided and unguided trips?

Yes, but!!!  I will personally guide all our paddle trips.  Our trips are purposely designed for novice/beginner and intermediate paddlers. As a Registered Maine Guide, I’m considering the water temperatures, fog and low visibility, shoreline access, and the “convoluted-ness” of the Maine weather. I’ll provide the extra pair of hands, extra pair of eyes, added perspective of experience and local knowledge, as well as being a weather monitor, an equipment bearer, a natural history interpretator, and first aid provider.  Your safety comes first…but I’ll make sure we also have fun!  Also, for paddlers that can display an advanced ability, as determined by me, unguided trips can be arranged.  These are typically larger groups, as I will not combine guided and unguided paddlers on the same trip.  If your group is interested in a transport vessel for an unguided paddle trip, give us a call. You will be charged the hourly private charter rate (see Prices on the homepage of our web site).

Will I be safe on this trip?

Yes!!! As a Registered Maine Guide, I will personally ensure your safety on my trips. My Guides license includes fishing, hunting, and recreational certificates and I’m also an IF&W Licensed Boat Captain. A seasoned mariner and kayaker, I guarantee you a comfortable, enjoyable and safe trip.

What can we expect to see?

A LOT!! The real advantage of the Gray Ghost is our ability to travel deep into remote locations on the lakes. We frequently see Bald Eagles and eaglets, Common Loons and chicks, Canada Geese, Common & Hooded Merganser’s, Great Blue Heron and other Shorebirds.  Wildlife could include Moose, Whitetail deer, Weasel, and Beaver. Bring your camera!!

Where do I park my vehicle?

You will leave your vehicle at one of three State boat ramps from which we will launch the Gray Ghost.  All three sites have adequate parking.

Rangeley Lake trips will park at the public parking lot, ½ mile from the Oquossoc Grocery, at the intersection of RT4 and RT16 in Oquossoc. You will be required to walk approximately 50 yards (across RT4) and board the vessel at the boat ramp adjacent to the fish screen.

Mooselookmeguntic and Cupsuptic Lake trips will park at the public parking lot, ¾  of a mile from the Oquossoc Grocery, on RT4 (Carry Road) between Oquossoc and Haines Landing. You will be required to walk approximately 200 yards and board the vessel the boat ramp at Haines Landing.

Upper Richardson Lake trips will park at the public parking lot at Mill Brook Landing. This lot is on RT16, towards Wilson Mills, exactly 14.4 miles from the RT4 and RT16 intersection in Oquossoc. Take a left at the State Public Boat Ramp sign, Mill Brook Rd, travel one mile on the dirt road to the parking lot. Please do not block vehicles with trailers and lock your vehicle.

A map and directions will be included in your Pre-trip Packet and discussed at registration on the morning of your trip. Note: There is a privy (outhouse) at all three of these parking lots.

Do I need to bring my own food and beverage?

Yes.  Due to food allergies, dietary restrictions and insurance, we do not provide food on our paddle trips.  This is a 4-5 hour paddling trip, and you need to bring enough food and water for you and your guests. Each trip will also include a mid-paddle stop, so bring a snack that can be carried on your person aboard the kayak. We have a large cooler with ice that is available to store your food/drinks or you can bring your own small cooler. Water…water…water…please remember to bring enough fluids. The Oquossoc Grocery, where our paddle trips will meet, offers excellent breakfast and lunch selections. Please plan enough time into your schedule if you are ordering food at the Grocery. You can also pre-order your meals by calling the Oquossoc Grocery (207-864-3662). We will depart the Grocery at 8am for the trip. Note: No drugs or alcohol are permitted on our paddle trips. I have the authority to deny any persons participation in a trip if they appear to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs of any kind.

Is there an enclosed place to change on the vessel?

No. This is a group outdoor activity and there will be very limited privacy. There are privies at each State boat ramp that provide an enclosed shelter. A personal towel can be used to cover oneself while changing.

Do I need any paddling experience?

No, our trips are designed for beginner/novice thru intermediate paddling to give most anyone an opportunity to enjoy lake kayaking.  Our trip pace isn’t much more strenuous than walking. As you’ll find out, it’s not just about arm strength. I’ll provide some technique tips to ensure you’re paddling with your whole body, and if you’re doing it right, you’ll easily be able to kayak for the 2.0 – 2.5 hour paddle. Our unique wood deck platform deck on the stern of the vessel allows for easy entry into and exit from the kayaks.

What type of kayaks are provided?

A kayak trip can only paddle as fast as the slowest person and that is why we use some of the best and most up to date equipment, as well as keep our group sizes small for personal attention and monitoring. We have ten (10 single and two (2) tandem RECREATIONAL LAKE TOURING kayaks that offer roomy cockpits and great stability.  These kayaks range between 10’ and 16’ in length and can accommodate a person weighing between 100 lbs. – 275 lbs. A seat pad will be offered with each kayak.

We prefer to put everyone in single kayaks, vice tandem kayaks, for these reasons:

  1. Speed and efficiency
  2. Independence, maneuverability and freedom to go left, right, straight, and backwards
  3. Reduce the aggravation of trying to coordinate paddle strokes
  4. When one person falls in, they are the only person responsible (and wet!)
  5. Learning skills and developing good paddling etiquette is easier

For our younger paddlers (12-15) we have TANDEM TOURING kayaks. In this situation, we pair the younger paddler with a capable parent/guardian to paddle the kayak together. Most, if not all, of the work paddling in this situation is conducted by the adult.

Can I bring my own kayak and equipment?

Yes, if you are more comfortable in your own kayak, life vest, etc, we will make arrangements with you to load your kayak at the boat ramp prior to departure. Your personal kayak and gear must meet our standards of safety.  You will be responsible for transporting your kayak from your vehicle to the dock and, post trip, transporting it back to your vehicle. Given the extra time and effort to load and unload your kayak from the vessel, there is no discount in price for using your own equipment. You may also experience a delay after the trip when we will off load our guests prior to removing the kayaks.

Can a non-paddler join the trip?

Yes, if there are seats available, adult (16 and older) non-paddlers will be able to join the group.  They should expect to remain on the vessel during the guided paddle.  Bring a book, camera, binoculars, and simply enjoy a few hours of quiet on the lake.  Non-paddlers will be charged a reduced rate of $50pp.

Will I be required to wear a life vest while kayaking?

Yes, all paddlers must wear a personal floatation device at all times while in the kayak. During transit to and from the paddling site, life vests are not required to be worn, but will be readily available.

Is there a weight/size restriction?

Our kayaks have a weight restriction of 275lbs. Our XL/XXL life jackets fit chest size 44” – 56”.

What type of clothes should I wear?

Please see What to Bring for basic clothing to bring on your trip. You should remember that water temperatures will range from the mid 50’s – mid 70’s, so warm clothing is highly recommended.  We have plenty of room on the vessel to accommodate a carry-on bag. While I will attempt to minimize getting you wet, there may be conditions when this is unavoidable.

How does weather affect the trip?

Our paddle trips are an outdoor sporting activity and you should expect to get wet and need to dress for cool weather.  Weather is the biggest variable with our paddle trips and cruises. We closely monitor our weather radar and forecasts and will alter our paddle tracks, change the lake on which we will paddle/cruise, or cancel our trips based on the weather.  After four years of operating our lake cruise business, we have become very good at analyzing the weather radar and forecasts.  We will always err on the side of safety and we reserve the right to cancel any trip if weather dictates.  We also reserve the right to change the trip location and itinerary due to weather. If we anticipate a weather cancellation, we will attempt to call/email the passengers by 6pm the night prior.  All deposits will be refunded for weather cancellations. Please review our What to Bring list for suggested items and clothing.

What type of seating is provided in the vessel?

Individual, extra large, stable, high back deck chairs are provided for each passenger.

Are the trips handicapped accessible?

Yes and No. Handicapped passengers are allowed on our Premier Packages, Private Charters, and Motor Coach/Group packages.  For safety reasons, I can’t take handicapped persons on our kayak paddle trips. They are, however, welcome as non-paddlers. Note: For special circumstances, I would be happy to arrange private paddle trips for handicapped groups. Please contact us.

Is there a cover to protect us from rain and sun?

Yes, the vessel has a 16’ hard-top.  This will provide limited protection from rain and sun. As with any boating activity, passengers should plan for foul weather and getting wet.  I will do my best to keep you comfortable on rainy or hot days.

Is there a toilet on the vessel?

No.  I will stress to you when you register the need to use the public rest rooms in Oquossoc and the privy (out house) at each boat ramp prior to boarding.  Our paddles will include a stop along the lakefront at which time you can find a proper location.

Is there a power source for electronic equipment?

No.  If you are going to bring electronic devices (smart phones, tablets, computers) on the trip, please make sure they are fully charged.

Is there cell phone coverage on the trip?

In most areas of our trips (not all) you will have cell phone coverage as well as data capability for smart phones and tablets. For safety reason, I encourage you to bring your cell phone. There is a good likelihood that your device may get wet, so bring adequate packing.

Do you allow canoes and SUP?

Our paddle trips can be tailored for canoes and stand-up-paddle boards (SUP’s).  You will, however, need to provide your own canoes/SUPs and the trips will be unguided.  Our hourly Private Charter rates will apply. Please call us to discuss how we can accommodate your group.

Can we bring a dog?

Dogs are welcome on paddling trips if they will be attended by a non-paddler.  For safety considerations, dogs will not be allowed in the kayaks. Depending on the paddle location, dogs may have to stay aboard the vessel.  Dogs will also be allowed on Premier Packages, Private Charters, Group packages where yours is the only group.

Any dog waste disposal will be the responsibility of the owner. There is a limit of one dog. No pet life vests are provided. There is no pet fee. No cats are allowed.

Can I swim off the vessel?

Depending on the trip package, group size and weather conditions, I may allow swimming from the vessel. Wind chill while underway is a primary consideration. Bring a towel.

Do you offer kayak instruction?

No.  I may provide some basic kayak paddling techniques, but these trips are not intended for instruction.

Do you rent kayaks?

Yes. On a space available basis, we rent kayaks for a ½ day or full day (no long term rentals). See Prices for more information.

Can I purchase a gift certificate?

Yes, our Gift Certificates are very popular. We will require full payment at the time of purchase. Contact us for more information.

What is “Wet Time”?

Wet time is used for Private Charters and is calculated from when the boat departs from and returns to the dock from which the vessel is launched.

Do I get a discount if I take both a paddle trip on the Gray Ghost and a cruise on either the Oquossoc Lady or Gray Ghost?

Yes, we offer “A Cruise and A Kayak” special package if your book a 1-hour Scenic Lake Cruise aboard the “Oquossoc Lady” and a Paddle Trip/Private Charter aboard the “Gray Ghost” in the same summer.  You will receive $10 off your second ticket purchase. Must be redeemed in the same year and cannot be combined with other special promotions.


If, after reading these FAQ’s, you still have questions,
please e-mail us at rangeleycruises@gmail.com or call us at 207-670-8391.