Trip levels

Trip levels are based primarily on the factors that have the greatest influence on safety such as degree of exposure or open water distance. However, trip levels are also influenced when other criteria such as distance greatly exceed the norm for a given level. If a trip is run in the early or late season, its difficulty level may also be increased for that reason.
All trips, unless otherwise noted, should be considered to have some degree of exposure to wind, wave, boat traffic, etc. although such exposure will typically be less severe and of shorter duration for easier trips.
Trips run RAIN or SHINE . Only exceptional weather usually cancels. Trip routes may be adjusted for less severe bad weather, but in general, participants must be willing and comfortable to participate on trips that may encounter typical summer coastal weather (wind, reduced visibility, waves, possible late afternoon thunderstorms).
In general, participants need to have attained a rating one level below a trip’s level to be considered for the trip. For instance, level 2 trips typically require participants have at least a level 1 rating, level 3 trips require a level 2 rating, etc. In some cases, a leader may require participants to have attained a level equal to a trip or specific skills/experience, if the trip is expected to be more difficult than most trips in the level.
These trip descriptions provide general guidelines and requirements for trips of a given level. However, trip leaders individually assess and specify requirements for a given trip. Furthermore, weather conditions and other factors can significantly affect the level of a given trip.
 
Level 1
Trip distance (miles) 5-7
Time on water (hours) 3-4
Time between breaks (hours) Up to 1.5
Average paddling speed (knots/hr) 1.5-2.5
Wind speed (knots) <10
Waves (feet) <1.5
Typical current (knots) <1
Distance from shore (miles) <.5
Minimum resue and (desired) skills wet exit [assisted re-entry]
 
Level 2
Trip distance (miles) 8-13
Time on water (hours) 4-5
Time between breaks (hours) Up to 2
Average paddling speed (knots/hr) 2-3
Wind speed (knots) <15
Waves (feet) <3
Typical current (knots) <2
Distance from shore (miles) <1
Minimum resue and (desired) skills all Level 1 + [self rescue] + [rescue others]
 
Level 3
Trip distance (miles) 14-22
Time on water (hours) 5-7
Time between breaks (hours) Up to 2.5
Average paddling speed (knots/hr) 3-4
Wind speed (knots) <20
Waves (feet) <5
Typical current (knots) <3
Distance from shore (miles) <2
Minimum resue and (desired) skills all Level 2 + [in rough seas] + [towing]