Guidelines for an  Sea Kayaking Tour (Day Long) in Canadian Waters

Sheltered* water: Minimum of one guide (assistant or leader)
Exposed water: Minimum of two guides (leader & assistant)

Leadership:

Guide/Client Ratio: A minimum of 1:6
(Exception: This ratio would be adjusted upwards as conditions dictate, e.g., exposed coastline, low water temp, etc.)

Equipment:

Per Boat: Coast Guard minimum

  • Flotation (bulkheads or air bags)
  • Bailing device (e.g., pump)
  • Life vest/person
  • Signaling device (e.g,, whistle)
  • Paddle / person
  • Flashlight (night paddle)

Additional:

  • Spray skirt (with grab loop)
  • Deck rigging (preferably taut perimeterdeck lines)
  • End toggles
  • Cold water gear (e.g. wet suit, pogies, neoprene booties), when conditions dictate
  • Accessible water bottle
  • Accessible food (e.g., candy bar)

Per Guide:

  • Tow line (buoyant, with clip and quick release system)
  • Self rescue method
  • Knife (readily accessible)
  • Matches/ lighter (waterproofed)
  • Appropriate flares
  • Spare paddle compass & map/chart

Per Group:

  • First aid kit -repair kit
  • VHF radio or cellular phone (accessible and waterproof)
  • Extra clothing bag {to deal with insufficient client clothing)
  • Thermos ( means to heat water)

Procedures:

Prior to day trip:

  • Clarify expectations and obligations of the clients
  • Determine relevant client medical conditions as well as possible,
  • Determine the experience of the client and convey to them the demands and potential risks of the day trip
  • Insure that the clients have the appropriate clothing & food (if not supplied) for the prevailing conditions
  • Insure that equipment is suitable and serviceable
  • Leave trip plan with responsible individual

En Route:

  • Initial instruction/safety briefing including: risks associated with sea kayaking
  • Function & fit of PFD's (wearing mandatory)
  • Function of all other equipment
  • Procedures; signals, wet exits, rescues
  • Basic paddling strokes
  • The day's itinerary

On-Going Assessment:

  • Monitor weather and water conditions (adjust plans accordingly)
  • Assess coastal exposure, landing options

Communication:

  • Maintain contact with group members
  • Note group members needs (tired, hungry, nervous, etc) and accommodate them
  • Communicate effectively with other guides.

Guidelines for a sea kayak tour (Multi-Day)

Leadership:

Guides: Mininum of two guides on each trip (leader & assistant)
(Exception: a group of experienced paddlers may require only one guide)

Guide/Client Ratio: A minimum of 1:6
(Exception: This ratio would be adjusted upwards as conditions dictate, e.g., exposed coastline, water temp, etc.)

Equipment:

Per Boat: Coast Guard minimum

  • Flotation (bulkheads or air bags)
  • Bailing device (e.g., pump)
  • Life vest/person
  • Signaling device (e.g,, whistle)
  • Paddle / person
  • Flashight (night paddle)

Additional:

  • Spray skirt (with grab loop)
  • Deck rigging (preferably taut perimeterdeck lines)
  • Cold water gear (e.g. wet suit, pogies, neoprene booties), when conditions dictate
  • Accessible water bottle
  • Accessible food (e.g., candy bar)

Per Guide:

  • Tow line (buoyant, with clip and quick release system)
  • Self rescue method
  • Knife (readily accessible)
  • Matches/ lighter (waterproofed)
  • Appropriate flares
  • Spare paddle
  • Compass & map/chart

Per Group:

  • First aid kit -repair kit
  • VHF radio or cellular phone (accessible and waterproof)
  • Extra clothing bag {to deal with insufficient client clothing)
  • Thermos ( means to heat water)

Procedures:

Prior to tour:

  • Clarify expectations and obligations of the clients
  • Determine relevant client medical conditions as well as possible,
  • Determine the experience of the client and convey to them the demands and expectations of the tour
  • Forward a detailed checklist of personal items required
  • Insure that equipment is suitable and serviceable

En Route:

Initial instruction/safety briefing including:

  • Risks associated with sea kayaking
  • Function & fit of PFD's (wearing mandatory)
  • Function of all other equipment
  • Procedures; signals, wet exits, rescues
  • Basic paddling strokes

On-Going Assessment:

  • Monitor weather and water conditions (adjust plans accordingly)
  • Assess coastal exposure, landing options

Communication:

  • Maintain contact with group members
  • Note group members needs (tired, hungry, nervous, etc) and accommodate them
  • Communicate effectively with other guides.

Camping:

  • Low impact

Rental Guidelines

  1. Objectives of these guidelines:
    • To promote safe, successful sea kayak rental operations.
    • To ensure that rental operators are aware of the various liabilities and exposure to renting sea kayaks and gear.
    • To ensure that renters of sea kayaks are aware of the equipment, skills and judgement necessary to be safe.
    • To provide a minimum standard of rental procedures.
  2. The Rental Operator must provide or check to ensure:
    • A document of disclaimer which renter must sign, in which the renter accepts responsibility of their actions and everything in connection with the rental of said equipment.
    • A knowledgeable staff member to familiarize client with the equipment rented and who does a brief screening of the customer's ability vs the proposed outing. This rental staff member should be able to recommend options for instruction and training to those who are novices or appear to need more training.
  3. The Kayak Renter should provide:
    • Proof of training adequate to the journey anticipated.
    • A willingness to use proper safety procedures in the event of inclement conditions: wet/dry suit, safety equipment, group travel procedures.
    • An accurate outline/description of their proposed route and return time.

Seaworthy kayaks and equipment that meet coast guard requirements and has:

  1. per kayaker*:
    • secure buoyancy bow and stern
    • grab loops bow and stern
    • a paddle, PFD, and spray skirt
    • a self-rescue device
    • a signaling device (whistle/horn)
  2. per trip group*:
    • self-rescue device, spare paddle (s), pump(s)
    • appropriate signaling devices for the trip

* Sheltered Water: Sheltered water is defined as enclosed harbours or inlets, or stretches of coastline that are protected from the open sea by islands, and where there is minimal chance of being blown offshore.

What our customers are saying...

I just wanted to say thank you for everything you did for Derek and I during the trip last fall. It really was a great experience and i'm sohappy with myself for completing the journey.

- The McLeods