Classroom-Based Instruction

Understanding Sea States

Tides, currents, and wind are a few of the major forces at play here. They impact how water moves through Puget Sound and determine how we move through the water.

Understanding these forces will help you make smarter decisions in trip planning and know what to expect while on the water in Puget Sound.

We’ll cover:

  • The basics of each, how they are interrelated and impact us and our plans.
  • Resources and tools for finding tide, current, and wind data
  • The Rule of 12ths, the 50/90 Rule, and the Rule of Thirds
  • Using the data to plan a trip
  • An introduction to charts

*This module is a prerequisite for Practical Navigation.

Practical Navigation

This course is an an introduction to navigation for trip planning and open water crossings. It’s designed to provide simplified methods using less math – covering the needs of the average paddler.

  • Reading nautical charts
  • Finding bearings
  • Ranges and transits
  • Plotting a course to steer

*Understanding Sea States module is a prerequisite.

Trip Planning

This is a hands-on class that will walk you through planning a trip (or trips).

Planning a trip – choosing a launch location, timing currents and tides, identifying bail out and break points, choosing alternate routes….can be challenging as you move away from shore crawls.

We’ll go through the process of planning a trip from start to finish to help you experience the process with an option to take the trip to see how well it was planned!

*Understanding Sea States and Practical Navigation modules are recommended prerequisites.

Packing a Sea Kayak

Even a day trip means carrying and properly stowing gear. What should you carry with you? Where should it be packed?

Planning an overnight trip? Things get more complicated as we add more gear.

This module will cover:

  • The gear you’ll need
  • Gear you’ll want to consider (adding or skipping)
  • A primer on how to pack everything properly
    • Weight distribution
    • ‘Trimming for sea states
Robert Nissenbaum holding an NRS paddle float with a sea kayak on the beach

Gear and outfitting

Having the right gear can make the difference between having fun and struggling (or even completing a trip).

We’ll discuss:

  • Required and recommend gear
  • Outfitting your kayak for comfort and safety
  • Choosing the right paddle 
  • Communication on the water
  • Transporting kayaks
  • First Aid and kayak repair kits
  • And more

You’ll leave this class with a better idea of what you need to carry for your trips (day and overnight) as well as WHAT to carry for each kit.

Audible and Visual Communication

We’ll discuss:

  • Advantages and disadvantages of each method
  • Means of communication available for each methods
    • Hand signals
    • Paddle signals
  • Best practices and procedures for using them

We’ll walk through real-world scenarios and participants will be provided a list of recommended devices and resource links after the class.

VHF Radios & PLBs

Everything you need to know from choosing a VHF to basic operation including:

  • Choosing a VHF radio and PLB
  • Setting up the VHF radio
  • Which channels we use to make calls
  • The language we use when making calls
  • How to call – with easy to follow scripted scenarios

Module pricing

  • $125-175 per personFamily, group, and organizational discounts are available.

COVID 19 Health and Safety Protocols:

  • Please feel free to bring/wear a mask.
  • If you show any signs or symptoms (regardless of the nature of the illness) please cancel immediately.