WRO Policies Page

Reservation and Cancellation Policy (Reader’s Digest Version)

We require full payment with a reservation, just like an airline.

Trip cancellations (either by WRO or customer) are for credit on a future trip only – unless you’ve purchased Trip Cancellation Protection.

If the river is over 17,000 cfs, your trip will be cancelled and you will be provided a credit on a WRO gift card, unless you’ve purchased Trip Cancellation Protection.

We reserve the right to alter your trip due to weather or river conditions. Once your paddle hits the water there are no credits or refunds.

Our credo is simple. We want everyone we put on the river to enjoy themselves and come back. We also want to give people the Wisconsin River sand bar experience we know everyone treasures and expects.


Cancellation Policy – The Lengthy Version

Because we are an outdoor seasonal business, we are at the mercy of Mother Nature – paddling the Wisconsin River is NOT a Wisconsin Dells water park experience. Most of our customers understand that, but some have short fuses when things don’t go as they planned because of weather or river conditions.  Please understand we have ZERO control over what the river and weather do on the dates of your trip. Our desire is to get everyone on the water for the days they booked. For us to function as a business, and still be here the year you’re ready to paddle with us, we require full payment with each reservation, at which point we set boats aside for your trip.  Once your reservation is booked, there are NO CASH/CREDIT CARD REFUNDS. We’ll provide a credit to your account in our system, which does not expire, that you can apply to another rental in the future.

We encourage you to have a backup date in mind for your trip. If your trip dates are not flexible, we HIGHLY recommend you either purchase Trip Cancellation Protection or wait to book your trip so YOU can determine if committing is the right thing to do. In the past, we seem to have had a high number of customers who, once the date they planned to do their trip passed, were departing on a one way mission to Mars and were NEVER going to be in a position to return to the Wisconsin River (or Earth for that matter) and use their credit…these folks are PERFECT candidates for opting for Trip Cancellation Protection.

For WRO to reserve your boats, we require full payment with the reservation.

We do NOT provide any cash/credit card refunds, regardless whether you need to cancel your trip, or WRO must cancel based on the river parameters/conditions or weather conditions discussed below. We understand this may make a minority of our customers uncomfortable. You have two options:

  • Hold off booking until closer to your dates (yes, there is a risk we won’t have boats available), or
  • Purchase Trip Cancellation Protection

If you or WRO cancel your trip, you will be provided a credit to use in the future, which does not expire. You can also gift the credit to someone else for them to use on a river trip.

River Conditions: In order for there to be a handful of sand bars available upriver from Boscobel for overnight camping trips, as well as places to stop for day trippers, the river must be under 17,000 cfs and/or trending down (using the USGS reading in Muscoda).  For downriver trips from Boscobel, the river needs to be at 10,000 cfs (which is why these trips generally aren’t available until July 4).  Yes, we’ve put folks out at higher levels in the past but feedback regarding the experience they’ve had was less than positive. We’ve also been concerned about the paddling ability level of some of our customers in higher water conditions that has led to an update to this policy.

If you are not comfortable with this policy, please do not book until you feel comfortable.  Our staff is happy to suggest, based on our experience, what the river might do – we get it right about 50% of the time (better than an MLB batter)…but in the end it’s your call to book and the policy above still applies.

Weather Conditions: First and foremost, paddling the Wisconsin River is a wilderness experience, so we expect you to have rain gear and be prepared for your trip.  We do not have a Coast Guard Cutter or a rescue helicopter. You need to make it to the next boat landing for WRO to be of any assistance once you start your trip.**  It is not possible for us to pick you up early from your trip simply because it has started raining and you’ve failed to prepare (see our packing list).

If you decide to cancel because of rain in the forecast, WRO will provide you with a Gift Card you can use to reschedule your trip at a later date, based on availability, unless you purchased Trip Cancellation Protection – at which point you will be issued a refund, minus the cost of the protection.

On the day of your trip, we will not put you on the water until the immediate threat of lightning has passed based on information from https://www.lightningmaps.org.

There are RARE occasions when NOAA is forecasting that strong storms (rain, wind, lightning, hail) will be approaching the area, sometimes days ahead of time. We take this seriously because most storms come out of the southwest, which is the direction the river travels. The rivers treelined shores have a “funneling” effect on winds and it’s not uncommon to have winds over 70 mph head upriver with the right conditions that create whitecaps and standing waves. We’d prefer not to have you out paddling when these conditions manifest themselves. If we are aware of the possibility of these conditions before your trip departs, we will let you know and make suggestions based on that.

Our credo is simple. We want everyone we put on the river to enjoy themselves and come back. We also want to give people the Wisconsin River sand bar experience we know everyone treasures and expects.

We reserve the right to alter your trip due to weather or water conditions.

If you do not purchase Trip Cancellation Protection at the time of purchase, there are NO REFUNDS – only credit for a future trip. Again, there are no cash or credit card refunds unless you’ve purchased Trip Cancellation Protection.

** Also note that calling 911 will most likely incur a charge of as much as $1,000 from local rescue services that you will be responsible for. We are not suggesting you don’t call if you’re in an emergency situation but calls to be picked up off a sand bar because you’re tired, wet or it’s windy may be worth reexamining.