Frequently Asked Questions

Chicago Retroboats - Chicago River Boat Rentals


4 is the maximum number of adults allowed on our boats. This applies to all of our boats – no matter what size or departure location. These capacity restrictions do not alter the hourly price. These capacity guidelines were set forth by Gov. Pritzker in the “Boating & Fishing Guidelines” published on May 30, 2020 by the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity.

Yes, our company adheres to the Executive Order 2020-32 that requires “any person over the age of two wear a face-covering when in a public place.” Customers are required to wear a well secured face mask/covering that covers your nose and mouth at all times- including when cruising on the rental boat. Employees will wear masks at all times. Failure to comply will result in refusal of service. However, if you have a medical condition or disability that prevents you from safely wearing a face-covering, please call our office at 312-644-6411 prior to making a reservation. We will strive to make reasonable accommodations to get you on the water without endangering your health or the health of our employees and fellow customers.

We are enacting social-distance-friendly orientations, a staggered check-in system, and assigning one crew member per group to present the orientation. The waiting area will be clearly sectioned off for each group to ensure social distancing. All Chicago RetroBoat employees and customers will be required to wear face masks. Signage reminding our customers and employees of these policies will be posted throughout the facility and vessels. Customers must wear masks until a boat has left the dock, and worn again upon return. We adhere to all the health and sanitation guidelines noted by the CDC and the USCG.

We have diligently increased the company’s cleaning and sanitizing procedures throughout our operation. All supplies for sanitizing are included on the CDC-approved product list. Extra time will be taken to clean and sanitize all boats before and after use – taking extra care to thoroughly sanitize life vests, tables, steering wheels, dashboards and seats as these are high traffic surfaces for hands. A steam-sanitizing system will be used after a boat has thoroughly been wiped down for added precaution. Hand sanitizer will be accessible aboard each of our boats. The frequency of cleaning and sanitizing our facility, especially the high-touch surfaces, will increase. This includes but is not limited to our tabletops, door handles, restrooms, POS equipment and other high-touch areas. We adhere to all the health and sanitation guidelines noted by the CDC and the USCG.

We want you and everyone else to be able to enjoy our boats and feel safe doing so. To ensure that we are all doing our part to help stop the spread, we are allowing those experiencing symptoms to reschedule their visit with us after a minimum of 21 days. If you purchased cancellation insurance, you may cancel at any time. You can reschedule for free by going online or contacting us no later than 10:00 AM on the day of your current reservation.

In an effort to maintain a safe and healthy environment for both our guests and our employees, we ask that anyone experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, to please, stay home. In the event that you or someone in your reserved party is experiencing symptoms, please call to reschedule your reservation with us. Rescheduling no later than 10:00 AM on your departure date will result in no additional charges. Please note that we feel it is our responsibility to set a minimum of 21 days in between the day the request is submitted and the date that you will be allowed to reschedule, to ensure the health of those around us. Thank you for understanding and working with us to help stop the spread!

General FAQs

Are there any age restrictions?
While passengers of all ages are welcome aboard, the captain must be 21 or older with a valid driver’s license.
How many people can ride the boat?
All Retro Boats seat a maximum of 4 passengers.
Can we bring food?
Of course! What’s a river cruise without snacks? We also offer a complimentary cooler and have ice for an additional charge!
What about drinks?
Our boats are BYOB but the captain must not drink alcohol while driving the boat. If everyone in your party would like to drink then it is possible to hire a captain. Please contact our office for more details.
What if there’s rain?
We cannot control the weather and would never send a group out in dangerous conditions. If it’s heavily raining or storming, we may hold your departure for 15-minutes to allow it to pass. If necessary, we will issue a rain-check voucher for another date.
What is the cancellation policy for boat rentals?
There is a strict 72-hour cancellation policy. Any and all cancellations must be made prior to 72 hours of your scheduled departure time via email to [email protected]. We understand that it is not fun to be boating in the rain and will allow a raincheck for inclement weather. We will also allow you to substitute one of our fully enclosed Duffy Electric Boats during inclement weather, upon availability.
Can we take the boat on the Lake?
No, Retro Boats must stay on the Chicago River. There are no exceptions.
How fast is the Retro Boat?
Our boats cruise at a comfortable 4-5 miles per hour.
Is the Retro Boat pet-friendly?
We allow service pets only. Staff must be notified ahead of the cruise and all necessary paperwork must be presented.
Where do I park?
There is valet parking available nearby at House of Blues with preferred rate of $18 for up to 5 hours. Just ask us to validate your ticket!
Can we hire a captain or tour guide?
We are happy to provide you with information about hiring a captain or tour guide to enhance your experience. Please call or email us for lists of approved captains and docents.
Can we take the boat to see the Navy Pier Fireworks
Yes! We have cruises on Wednesdays and Saturdays that allow you to enjoy the summer fireworks. The viewing area is located east of the Lake Shore Drive bridge near the Chicago Locks.