Open Water Session-2021

Field trip: Basic Sea Kayaking Course

Open Water Session-2021 - Commencement Bay

Two days of on the water activities, learning basic kayak skills. Wet exits, rescues, and basic paddle strokes will be covered. Prepare to spend much of the day in the water.

COVID-19: Learn about our most up-to-date guidance for participants and leaders on our COVID-19 Response page. All participants and leaders must agree to the COVID-19 Code of Conduct before participating in this Mountaineers activity.
  • Sea Kayak II/III
  • Easy
  • Mileage: 7.0 nm
  • Maximum Wind: 10 kts
  • Maximum Waves: 1 ft

Meet by 8:30 am at Jack Hyde (Chinese Reconciliation) Park both days. Coordinates, Copy and Paste into your mapping program/GPS:  -122.46200424330435, 47.27549000665432. Map above is correct and can be zoomed in.

Coming from the North:

I-5 Northbound. Take City Center Exit (By Tacoma Dome)

Stay to the right towards Schuster Pkwy

Stay in the left lane towards Ruston Way. 

Right after the overpass before the light, take left into the parking lot. Drive back to park under the overpass. 

Coming from the South

I-5 Southbound. Take City Center Exit

Rest of directions, same as above

From Narrows Bridge.

Exit Hwy 16 towards I-5 North. 

Once past the southbound split, be in the right lane. 

Move one lane right to merge on the City Center exit, 

Rest of directions, same as above

An alternative to making a left into the parking lot, which can be a pain if lots of traffic. On Schuster, stay in right lane toward N 30th. Go under the overpass and take the first right on McGarver. Go one block to the light at Ruston, turn right. Take a right into the parking area before going over the overpass.

Restrooms: located at the corner of McGarver and Ruston, about 400 ft from our beach area.

Due to the virus, pool session skills will be taught at the beginning of the first day. This most likely will take place in Puget Sound. We will be covering wet exits, assisted rescues, and paddle float self rescues. Participants and instructors will be in the water A LOT. The water is COLD and hypothermia is a risk that we want to avoid. We will be talking about how to dress for immersion during the classroom session and we will require participants to dress for it. Adequate insulating layers and dry suits will be required. Neoprene hoods or wool stocking caps are advised. Neoprene gloves are helpful for those whose hands do not tolerate cold well.  Please bring extra dry, warm clothes to wear during lunch and beach breaks. We will cover this in more detail during the classroom session.

Please have a lunch and snacks that are rich in calories to help your body produce heat. It is recommended that you have a thermos with hot liquids or soup for lunch.


Commencement Bay

  • Sea Trails Vashon Island, Tacoma Narrows to Elliot Bay WA203

    MapTech Oak Bay to Commencement Bay No. 102
  • See full route/place details.
Required Equipment

Required Equipment

Participants must have their own kayak and drysuit. No rentals will be available. 

Wear warm clothing. Headwear such as a neoprene balaclava or  skull cap, and neoprene gloves, are recommended. Shoes should not have laces. Layered clothing, no cotton. Bring an extra set of clothes in case you inadvertently leave a zipper open!

Bring Sunscreen, sunglasses with retainer (floating best), spare clothes. Bring a large poncho or at least a garbage bag to put over all of you (including PFD) at breaks/lunch to keep from getting cold (windbreak).  Bring a towel.

Bring something to contain wet clothes (a tub or at least a garbage bag).


For longer boat carries such as this, we often use a kayak cart, "wheels" we call them. If you have them, bring them. Instructors will loan you theirs otherwise.

Dive/Snorkeling mask, or swim goggles/nose plugs may be a good idea.

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