RIC/KA Paddling Basics
RIC/KA is not a professional paddling organization. Our members coordinate paddles for their own enjoyment and the enjoyment of the rest of the paddling community. Skill sessions, while a great way to learn, are not run by professional instructors.
The trip coordinators are not professional guides or instructors. Many of them are highly skilled and experienced paddlers, but they do not neccesarily have any professional credentials.
You choose to join RIC/KA coordinated trips at your own risk.
In order to participate in RIC/KA sea kayaking trips you MUST have the following equipment:
- a sea kayak*
- Coast Gaurd approved PFD (inflatable PFDs are not allowed)
- spray skirt
- bilge pump
- appropriate clothing for the water temperature
A sea kayak is designed for use on the ocean and typically has the following characteristics:
- 15' or greater length
- fornt and rear bulkheads
- perimter lines
If you are uncertain if your kayak is appropraite for a trip, contact the trip coordinator.
We strongly recommend that you bring along the following:
- drinking water
- a change of dry clothes
Before a Paddle
Consider the following before joining a group paddle:
- Check the difficulty level of the trip.
- Check the marine forecast and tides prior to paddling.
- Assess your comfort level for participating in the trip based on the difficulty level and the forecasted conditions.
- Each participant in a group trip shares the responsibility for the safety and enjoyment of the entire group.
- All times listed are LAUNCH times. Arrive early enough to prepare.
- If necessary, paddles will be cancelled by 8:00 AM. Check the message board for cancellation notices.
During a Paddle
To ensure a safe and fun paddle, all paddlers in the group should do the following:
- Stay with the group.
- If you are having trouble, inform the trip coordinator.
- Keep an eye on the rest of the group. If you notice another paddler having difficulty, help them out or tell the trip coordinator.
- The scheduled difficulty level of the trip is the difficulty level of the trip. Only the weather will push a level 2 trip to a level 3 trip.
- In an emergency situation, only one person should be in charge. Give them space and do as they say.
- If you choose to leave the group, tell the trip coordinator.
Cold Water Paddles
When the water gets cold hypothermia is a serious danger. Consider the following:
- Cold water saps heat faster than cold air. The proper thermal protection is required:
- dry suit with fleece or polypro underneath
- head wear (a fleece or wool hat, neoprene hood)
- hand protection (neoprene gloves, poggies, etc)
- a change of warm, dry clothes stored in a dry bag
- Submersion in cold water can cause a paddler to inhale water and drown instantly.
- Submersion in cold water for a few minutes radically reduces a paddler's ability to assist in their own rescue.
- Submersion in cold water can disorient a paddler even if they can roll.
Do not approach seals when paddling in the winter. It is against the law.
Sunset Paddles or Night Paddles
When paddling at night the following extra equiptment is required:
- coast gaurd approved navigation lights
- 360 degree visable white light
- red/green navigation light
It is also a good idea to bring an emergency strobe light.
Surfing and Rock Gardening
Surf and rocks present special dangers to paddlers. Surf is unpredictable and powerful. Rocks can smash a kayak or a paddler's skull. Before venturing into a surf zone or a rock garden consider the following:
- Helmets protect your head from hard landings.
- Do not get in front of a paddler on a wave. They do not have a lot of control.
- When paddling through rocks do not follow the lead paddler too closely. Take the time to evaluate your path before following.