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Sea Kayaking Program

Family Sea Kayaking Course (Level 3)

Sea kayaking skills for families with kids age 14-17. Parents will be participating with their children.

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 course.

Who can take the course:  Parents (or other parent-approved adults such as grandparents) who are either current Basic Sea Kayak students or graduates, and their children or relatives between the ages of 14 -17 years.    All participants must be Mountaineer members (including children.) Parents will sign up for the Family Kayak Course (adult) and children will sign up for the Family Kayak Course age-appropriate level.

Children must be able to swim and be comfortable with putting their head under water. 

What is the Family Sea Kayak Course?  This is a family-based sea kayak program for Mountaineers kayakers who have children or other young relatives and would like to have those children participate in and grow into an interest in kayaking.  The course includes age-appropriate initial kayak safety training for the family unit and follows up with paddles specifically set up for families.  Parents or other adult relatives will be in charge of supervising their children during the course and on subsequent paddles.  Paddle leaders will be in charge of the group.

 After taking the initial kayak safety training and going on one family student paddle (which is done on the same day as the course), each member of the family that took the course would receive their Family Sea Kayak Course age-specific badge.   At that time, they would be eligible to go on subsequent Family Sea Kayak paddles (but not on regular Mountaineer Sea Kayak paddles.)  As long as one parent has the Family Kayak badge, and both parents are currently Basic Kayak Course students or graduates, then both parents can go on a Family Kayak paddle. 

This course would be tailored for the 14-17 year age group with these goals:

  • Have fun and improve paddle strokes, re-entries – introduction to planning
  • Day #1: Classroom session (2-3 hours) to learn about: tides, currents, weather, beginning trip planning, learn how to be a responsible paddler when going on group paddles, introduction to some environmental issues
  • Day #2: On-water training and student paddle (5-6 hours)
  • Learn the names of kayak parts and kayak equipment
  • Learn how to empty a kayak in shallow water
  • Be comfortable with wet exits while wearing a spray skirt -- self and assisted re-entries (both sides) – how to use a paddle float and pump -- paddle in a single sea kayak with a spray skirt – introduce all of the basic paddle strokes and low brace
  • Kayak games
  • Go on a 2-hr student paddle (3 – 5 miles)
  • Upon turning 18 years old, Family Kayak Course graduates may be eligible for receiving the Basic Sea Kayak Course badge, if they have fulfilled the Equivalency requirements for that badge including demonstrating the ability to paddle at 2-3 kts on a paddle that is at least 6 nm long. This would allow them to participate in our adult kayak program without having to take the Basic Sea Kayak Course.

Instructors:  All of our instructors are Qualified Youth Leaders and have experience as either Sea Kayak leaders or assistants.  They may or may not have children in this program but they are all dedicated to helping your family kayak together in a fun and safe environment!

 Date:  The classroom portion will be Saturday,  June 22, at 2:00 pm at the Tacoma Program Center in the upstairs boardroom.  The kayak on-the-water portion will be Sunday, June 23, all day.  Location of that to be announced.

Program Requirements

This program has no scheduled activities.

Required Equipment

Equipment:  Children aged 14-17 years should be in single kayaks. We will be locating our Family Sea Kayak Course and subsequent paddles at locations that rent kayak equipment for those families that need this option.

If families have their own equipment, it must include:  Sea kayak with flotation on both ends, foot pegs and deck lines, PFDs of the appropriate size for their children (with attached whistles), kayak paddles, pump and paddle floats.  Children over the age of 13 should have spray skirts that fit their kayak and are not too tight around the cockpit (nylon spray skirts work well.)

If families are renting their kayak equipment, it generally includes:  sea kayak with flotation PFDs with whistles, kayak paddles, pump and paddle floats.  We encourage families to purchase their children’s PFDs, to ensure a good fit. Families may need to purchase nylon spray skirts that can adjust to various sized kayaks, since not all rental locations have spray skirts.

  Wet suits and water shoes are required -- family members must provide their own or make arrangements to rent them.  If your family prefers to use dry suits instead of wet suits, that is definitely OK, too! 

Program Materials

There are no materials for this program.