Once you have the ship, all you need is a flag and you’re in the pirate business.

Photo by Joel W. Rogers

Ah, spring in Seattle—when our minds turn to thoughts of sailing in the sun. Or maybe paddleboating; that’s easier. We’re sandwiched between lakes, rivers, a sound, and an ocean; isn’t it time you went out on the water?

• There are, by one count, 428 islands that comprise the San Juans, and you’re never going to hit all of them alone. Rent a sailboat, complete with skipper, to explore spots like Echo Bay on Sucia Island, or mainstays like Orcas or Lopez. Bellingham is another busy spot for sailboat rentals, and Bowman Bay on Fidalgo Island is a good place to rent a kayak.

• Got your own schooner? We suggest setting a course for Denman and Hornby Islands, hidden island secrets in British Columbia.

• Don’t forget the rivers—they’re water, too. Whitewater enthusiasts will thrill at the Snake River to the east, where brave rafters push off near Hells Canyon (gulp). Things are a little slower (and boozier) when kayaking down the Yakima River in wine country; the culinary delights are even tastier on a culinary whitewater trip on the Salmon River, which adds fine dining and Dutch oven cooking classes to the float.

• Rather than harness the wind, harness the power of your own quads in a paddleboat. Rentals are available as close as Green Lake and can also be found at Lakedale Resort on San Juan Island.

• Perhaps you’d rather do without the hassle of an actual boat. The sport of stand-up paddleboarding is on the rise, and now you can do SUP yoga, too. Once you’ve done a corpse pose in the middle of Lake Union, you’re officially one with the water.

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