Through Labor Day: daily, 10 a.m.-7 p.m., last boat our at 6 p.m.
Labor Day through Columbus Day: Wednesdays-Sundays 10 a.m.-7 p.m., last boat out at 6 p.m.
Rates are $8 per hour for a two-seater boat at $16 per hour for a four-seater.
At least one passenger must be 16 or older.
Rocking the Boats
Take to the Tidal Basin to Buff Your Lower Body
Putzing around in a paddleboat may not seem like exercise, but turns out a legitimate fitness activity lurks in Washington's tourist-infested waters. "There are lots of cardiovascular benefits" to an hour-long spin around the Tidal Basin, said Jimmy Adams, a manager at BodySmith Personal Training Gym in Logan Circle. Because the activity works all major muscle groups in the legs, Adams said paddlers can burn calories and fat while increasing cardiovascular endurance. Not too bad for an hour of splashing around.
Moves: Start by cycling around the perimeter of the pond. The lap should take about 40 minutes, leaving 20 minutes of the hour-long rental period for a dash across the widest part of the Basin. Keep pedaling speed consistent for the duration of the workout: Sprinting and stopping won't keep the heart rate up. For an extra challenge, try paddling into the wind.
Workout: Paddle alone in a two-seater boat for a calorie-burning workout. (Paddling with a partner means halving your effort, thus decreasing aerobic benefits.) For a strength-training workout, tow a few passengers in the four-seater model. The extra weight ratchets up resistance on the leg muscles. Said Adams: "It's all connected: More strength training helps get your heart rate going faster and that also helps the cardio out." But paddler beware: the wait for four-seater boats is usually longer.
Garb: No specific gear is necessary to tool around in a paddleboat, but short sleeves, sunglasses and sunscreen are strongly recommended.
--Julia Beizer for Express (May 2, 2006)