Sea Kayaking -- a Primer

Lesson One -- Don't Start Paddling Until You Get in the Water!


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Updated: July 6, 1999

We share the waterways with various furry, rubbery, scaly or feathered fellow travelers. Much as the DMV handbook shows you the rules of the road, this primer will teach you the laws of nature which you must obey if you don't want Mother Nature to punch your ticket.


Launching in Quiet Water
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Before you load up your kayak on the boat launching ramp, it is a good idea to check to see if others want to use the same ramp. It is polite to let others in a rush go ahead. Regardless of your views regarding non-sea kayaking "personal watercraft", recognize that others might have different views. (Alligator, Everglades National Park)

Aligator on goat launching ramp


(Ed Gilette crash and burn)

Surf Launching -- Wait for the Window
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Advanced kayakers will want to venture off from the beach and head directly to Tahiti.
(Ed Gilette, fresh from paddling from Monterey to Hawaii, crashing and burning at Muir Beach, Marin Co.)


Ask How Big it Is, Before You Agree to Launch "from the Dock"
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There are docks, and there are docks. This one, seen in its entirety, is located in the middle of a fiord, about 300m from land in about 300m of water. And it was raining. (Sid Wolfe, the author, Johne Payne, four kayaks, and gear for four for a week, Misty Fiords, SE Alaska )

(Floating dock, SE Alaska)


Onward to Lesson Two - Etiquette on the Water (don't miss it).
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(c) 1999 Jim Scarff, all rights reserved