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By Donna Cipolloni

Tester staff writer

There have been a few extra canoes, kayaks and paddleboards on the water around NAS Patuxent River ever since Morale, Welfare and Recreation began renting them in May.

“The program kicked off Memorial Day weekend and it’s been steady ever since,” said Sue St. Onge, administrative assistant and campsite coordinator. “The weekends are the most popular. All of the equipment has been rented every Saturday and Sunday since the program started.”

Located at Goose Creek are three canoes and two kayaks, available for rent by the site’s campers, along with another four canoes and two kayaks at Harper’s Creek, for rent by anyone with base access. The paddleboards are kept at the West Basin Marina office.

Anyone interested in renting the equipment — which is available every day of the week — can phone the marina office at 301-342-3573 for reservations, and then stop by the office the day of the rental to pick up the necessary paddles, life jackets and key to unlock the equipment. Afterward, the equipment must be locked up again at the campsite and the paddles, jackets and key returned by 3 p.m.

Canoes and kayaks have proven popular with campers, families, Boy Scout troops and a group of students from a local middle school.

“The school rented all seven canoes one day for a [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] program activity,” St. Onge said. “And some people are even renting paddleboards during their lunch hour as an alternative exercise workout.”

Canoes and kayaks are rented on a per day basis; paddleboards by the half day. The marina office is open 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.