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Q - What do I need for my kayak course?
A. You need a sea kayak. The requirements are: - A sea kayak with a cockpit and sealed bulkheads (dry compartment to store your gear).

- A kayak skirt
- Enough food and water to keep you going through the day
- An extra set of dry clothes in a dry bag or plastic bag...a good dry bag or plastic bag that doesn't leak.
- A wetsuit or a drysuit or enough layers of clothes not to get cold in the water.

PLEASE NO COTTON or JEANS
, you won't make it on the water if you wear cotton or jeans.

- If you rent your kayak gear, the store will know what you need and will provide you with the right equipment. If you are a first time buyer, be careful of what you are purchasing unless you know what you are getting in to.

You will also need the following Transport Canada requirements to get on the water:
- A propulsion device. - A sea kayak paddle
- A hailing device - A whistle is great. I recommend a fox40...great whistle
- A baling device - A kayak pump is recommended
- A personal floatation device (PFD) - Make sure that your PFD is suitable for sea kayaking. If you are planning to buy one, get the right one. If you are renting one, the store should know.

YOU WILL HAVE TO WEAR YOUR PFD AT ALL TIMES ON THE WATER
- A 15 meter floating line - In the kayak world, it is called a throw rope.
- Finally, a good attitude.

Q - What do I need to wear?
A. Do not forget that sea kayaking is an 'IN WATER SPORT" so YOU WILL GET WET!
The water in Victoria is cold (8 to 11 degree celsius) so you need at least a wetsuit or a drysuit (if you can afford one) because you will have to spend time in the water practicing rescues, etc. So you will get cold if you do not wear the appropriate gear and you might not be able to complete the course. Bring a towel and a change of clothing (and maybe a Thermos with a hot drink). Also, you will want to wear some sort of water shoes or an old pair of running shoes. Do not forget mitts and/or gloves, hat, toque, anything you will need to keep you warm. Bring more than not enough!.

Q - Where can I get a sea kayak?
A. Check your local kayak store for rentals. You may have friends who are willing to lend you their equipment if you want to save some money. Some clubs have equipment for their members. Once again, check out the possibilities but at the end of the day, make sure you have the right equipment for the course.

Q - What is Paddle Canada?
A. PADDLE CANADA is a non-profit organization supported entirely by its members and by our programs. Conceived in 1971, Paddle Canada was derived from the need of recreational paddling enthusiasts from across Canada to co-ordinate the efforts of non-competitive canoeing and kayaking.Refer to Paddle Canada website for more information - Click Here -

Q - Do I need to get certified to paddle?
A. No. You can take as many courses as you want, or not, and become a great paddler. It is up to you if you want to be certified, and for your own reasons. Being Paddle Canada certified helps identify the skill level your are at if you enrol in a club or an organization. Some clubs require that you obtain a certain skill level before going out on club paddles. Check the club policies if you are planning to join a paddling club, ask questions about their requirements. Certain clubs have their own skill level, outside Paddle Canada.

Q - Do I have to carry my equipment to the course site?
A. Yes. You are responsible to transport yourself and all your gear to the course site. Some stores offer delivery and pick-up for an extra charge. Learn how to properly tie your kayak on the roof of your car. Also check with you insurance company for your equipment coverage in case of an accident. Always be prepared.


Q - Do I need to take a course to sea kayak?
A. Yes and No. Taking a course is a great way to learn proper skills and the challenges of sea kayaking. It will help to develop the right paddling skills and understand the challenges of the ocean. Starting with good paddling basics will certainly help you to become a better paddler. Remember that only time on the water will help you to develop and improve your paddling skills. So if you are not sure what to do or how to do it, yes a course is highly recommended. I won't get in to the “NO”, I do believe that everyone should take a course, regardless your skill level.

Q - I am afraid under water and not a good swimmer, can I take a course?
A. Once again, do not forget that sea kayaking is an 'IN WATER SPORT" so YOU WILL GET WET! The human body is not meant to be upside down (butt over your head), under water, in an environment deprived of oxygen. If you are "big time" afraid of water and do not want to get wet, you may not be ready yet!

If you are taking a sea kayak course under Paddle Canada, you will have to perform under water skills such as Wet Exit, Eskimo Bow Rescue and swim your kayak for a distance of 50 meters. These skills have to be executed under control to get the certification. Being comfortable in water helps a lot to pass the course.

If you do not want to be Paddle Canada certified but still want to take a sea kayak course, you will at least know how it is executed and the course will still be beneficial for you. Certified courses are registered under Paddle Canada and follow the Paddle Canada curriculum.

I myself am claustrophobic and through a lot of time and practice, trying and trying again different sea kayak rescues techniques, step-by-step, overcame my "under water fear". So it is possible, but you have to give yourself enough time and determination to get there.

Before taking a sea kayak course or thinking about sea kayaking, ask yourself...is it something that I can feel comfortable at? For the rest, you are your only judge.

Q - What happens if I do not pass the course?
A. Under Paddle Canada certification, you have up to one year to complete the requirements. You will have to contact your instructor to set a time and a date to be reassessed. After one year, you will have to complete the course again and pay the applicable fees if you want to get the certification. If Paddle Canada certification is not a priority or necessity for you, you will walk out of the course with tons of useful information about sea kayaking. There is always something to gain by taking a sea kayak course.

Q - What else can I do to be prepared for the course or to sea kayak?
A. Read books on sea kayaking, check the web for kayak stuff (rescues, paddling techniques, etc.) There is a lot of information you can get out of the web. Check videos, go on youtube.com. If you already have a sea kayak, go out and paddle, and paddle and paddle again. The best way to learn is to practice and get time on the water. Go out and play, get wet, get to know your kayak, how it feels on the water...push your limit in a control environment so you know where you are at. Enroll in a paddle club, take workshops, attend sea kayak Paddlefest in your area.