“Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.”

We are empathetic toward everyone’s unique experiences and the changes both individuals and society are being tasked with making in response to the novel coronavirus. Change is hard. What is easy is our commitment to providing fun outdoor adventures while being mindful of risk. Preventing mishaps has always been important to us — we are simply adapting to this new health hazard. Our goals in implementing these measures are mitigating transmission risk and protecting the health and well-being of our staff and customers as best we can. Thank you. 

Quote: Stephen Hawking 


Read our COVID Risk Statement PDF here.

The health and safety of you, our staff, and our community have always been important.

COVID-19 is a highly infectious disease that is spread most commonly through respiratory droplets and particles produced when an infected person exhales, talks, vocalizes, sneezes, or coughs. COVID-19 is highly transmissible and can be spread by people who have no symptoms. Particles containing the virus can travel more than 6 feet, especially indoors, and can be spread by individuals who do not know they are infected. (OSHA.gov)

  • It is impossible to completely eliminate the risk of contracting COVID-19 or any other communicable diseases. 
  • Our risk mitigations are based upon recommendations and requirements from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Federal Government, and the State of Michigan as of March 2021. We reserve the right to enact additional precautions.   
  • Group sizes follow recommendations made by the American Canoe Association (ACA). For safety while on the water, group sizes are limited to either 6 guests in solo kayaks per guide or 6 boats per guide (a 6:1 ratio); larger groups will be accommodated by having additional guides assigned. Your activity may include participants outside your group — please let us know if you, or a member of your party, have a health condition that might be of concern if part of a mixed household group. We reserve the option to split larger groups in order to relieve congestion at launching/landing locations or stagger start times. 

Health Screenings

  • We will be on alert for the CDC-identified symptoms of exposure to the novel coronavirus: cough, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing; fever (above 100.4˚ F); chills, muscle or body aches; fatigue; vomiting or diarrhea; headache; congestion or runny nose; sore throat, or new loss of taste or smell. 
  • Any guests experiencing any known symptoms of COVID-19 and/or known or suspected coronavirus exposure will not be allowed to join a tour. Woods & Waters reserves the right to screen for a fever and/or request answering a basic health and exposure questionnaire. Please review our cancellation policies on our FAQ page.
  • On-duty staff will be assessed daily. Staff who report or present symptoms will be required to remain off premises until cleared for return. Suspected COVID-19 cases and/or confirmed coronavirus exposures will be referred to relevant medical officials, encouraged to seek testing, and/or quarantine for a minimum of 10 days. If guides on Isle Royale develop any suspected symptoms, they will begin sleeping in different locations, possibly outside, so that the second guide can continue working. A replacement guide may be sent to the island. 

Personal Sanitation & Personal Protection Equipment

  • Frequent hand washing is encouraged. A hand washing station is available to guests outside our shop. Guides will carry biodegradable soap for hand washing when running water is unavailable and hand sanitizer; participants may have to supply their own water if surface water not easily accessible. Hand washing for 20 seconds, combined with avoiding touching our faces and coughing or sneezing into our elbow, remain best practices for removing dirt, bacteria, viruses and not transmitting illnesses.
  • Each boat cockpit will be equipped with a spray bottle containing sanitizing spray. Participants have control over spraying down kayak seats, cockpits, decking, combing, and paddles as they see fit. To be effective, most sanitizing sprays require remaining in contact with the surface for several minutes and air drying.
  • Liquid hand sanitizer will be available at our shop.
  • High-touch surfaces at our shop will be disinfected regularly or as store traffic warrants (opening and closing).

  • Guests are required to abide by current CDC and State of Michigan recommendations/requirements to wear a mask indoors and maintain social distancing. In addition, staff and guests are requested to wear a mask during boat fitting, launching, and landings since staying 6 feet apart will be difficult or impossible (cloth masks preferred over disposable masks which may begin to disintegrate when wet). If guests are being transported, staff and guests must wear a mask while in the vehicle; windows will be open if weather permits.

  • Face masks are required in all federally-managed buildings and facilities as well as on all federally-managed lands when physical distancing cannot be maintained, including narrow or busy trails, overlooks, and historic homes. This includes the Hiawatha National Forest, of which both Search Bay and Government Island in the Les Cheneaux are part of, and Isle Royale National Park.
  • If a guest does not have a mask, disposable masks will be made available.
  •  In the unlikely event a guest were to capsize their kayak, neither staff nor guest will be required to use a cloth mask in order to best address water safety. 

  • Staff who are not members of a shared household will wear face masks whenever within 6 feet of other staff or guests (indoors or outdoors). 

  • Staff utilizing cloth masks will follow CDC washing guidelines of washing masks after use in hot water and drying at high heat for 30 minutes or disinfecting by saturating with approved solutions and air drying.

Disinfecting Gear

  • Contactless payment transactions can be made by using our website or calling to make reservations. 
  • All gear will have been disinfected prior to a tour or rental. 
    Kayak surfaces, such as cockpit combings, and SUP decks coming into contact with guests will be sprayed with a liquid disinfectant; paddles will be wiped with a sponge or cloth saturated with a disinfecting solution. Due to the nature of our outdoor activities, it is possible kayaks will have some sand or gravel in the bottom of boat cockpits.
    Bike helmets will be dipped in a disinfecting and de-odorizing solution between use. Bike seat and handlebars will be sprayed with a liquid disinfectant.
  • Upon tour check-in or rental gear pick-up, clients will be given disinfected personal safety gear.
    - Life jackets, spray skirts, removable sit-on-top kayak seats, SUP leashes, and wetsuits will be dipped in a disinfecting and de-odorizing solution between use. If possible, they will also be hung to dry in the sun.
    - Guests on multi-day trips will be assigned their own personal-safety gear and paddle for use during the trip. 
    - Hangers used to hang gear will be dipped in a disinfecting solution. 
  • When gear is either being put away or given to participants, staff will have either washed their hands, used hand sanitizer, and/or grasped the top of the hanger gear is hung on.
    - If possible, subsequent tours or rentals for a given day will use different life jackets, spray skirts, wetsuits, removable sit-on-top kayak seats, and bike helmets.
  • High-touch areas on gear will be disinfected regularly, including when being handed to guests (as feasible).
  • Disinfecting spray will be available for guest use on their hands, equipment, or gear on trips.
  • Although the likelihood of disease transmission from sharing gear or equipment is low, we will discourage sharing between guides & guests and between guests. However, disinfecting spray will be available either for use on the item being shared or the hands after use (recommended). Disinfecting spray will be available on all kayaks and bikes or in a designated group location.
  • Again, although the likelihood of transmitting COVID-19 through the touching of snack containers is low, at this time we will not be offering any group snacks. Individuals will responsible for their personal snacks.

Social Distancing Policies

  • Retail store will be limited to 4 non-social, group-related guests; our store is small — ask us to come outside! 
  • At kayak launch site, guests will be given previously-disinfected paddles. Paddle length will be used to establish safe social distances during kayak instruction and beach safety talk.
  • Guests and staff are required to wear a mask during boat fitting, launching, and landings since social distancing will be difficult or impossible. Cloth masks preferred over disposable masks which may begin to disintegrate when wet.
  • Recognize that some activities, such as hands-on rescues, cannot be performed while maintaining social distancing and that wearing a mask may not be practical or safe in some situations.  
  • Guests and staff will be asked and reminded to avoid being downwind of other participants.
  • Guests will launch and land in established social groups (family units, couples, etc.). 
  • Staff will remind guests about maintaining social distancing while paddling and inside retail store as needed.