Sea Kayak Equipment

Sea Kayaks

To qualify as a “sea kayak”, a boat must have certain features and characteristics. For Sea Kayak trips with the Boston Chapter boats must meet the following requirements:

  • Double bulkheads. Water-tight compartments in the bow and the stern to allow the boat to float in the event of a capsize.
  • Minimum length = 14.5′. 
  • Perimeter deck lines (static rope, not bungee)
  • Sit-in cockpit. (Sit-on-top kayaks or surf skis may be allowed on some trips)


At a minimum, each participant on a Sea Kayak trip with the Boston Chapter must have the following equipment:

  • Personal Flotation Device (PFD)
  • Paddle
  • Whistle (usually attached to the PFD)
  • Spray Skirt (optional on certain beginner level trips)
The following additional equipment is strongly recommended:
  • Paddle Float
  • Bilge Pump and Bailing Sponge
  • Spare Paddle
  • Marine Chart of the area you are paddling. (Waterproof chart or in a chart case)
On more advanced trips, the following items may be required or recommended:
  • Watersport-specific helmet
  • Tow Belt
  • Marine VHF Radio
  • Headlamp / Navigation Light
  • Compass – Deck mounted or hand held
Any equipment you carry with you in the boat should be carried in a dry bag if it is at all sensitive to water. This includes cell phones, cameras, personal electronics, spare clothing or gear. 

Your trip leader will let you know if any additional equipment is required.


Sea Kayakers should always dress for the potential of immersion in the water. Consider the water temperature first when dressing for a trip. Always wear synthetic or wool clothing and never wear cotton clothes on the water.

During the warmer months, the following clothing is recommended for ocean paddling:

  • Synthetic (or wool) shirt and pants/shorts
  • Close-toed water shoes (or old sneakers). No sandals.
  • Rain jacket or paddling jacket (available in a hatch)
  • Extra synthetic fleece layer for warmth
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
During the cooler months or when water temperatures are cold (which is most of the year in northern New England), paddlers will want to consider a wetsuit or drysuit. Hydroskin (½ mm neoprene) is great in July or August if you are going to be in 65° water. Thicker wetsuits are required for the shoulder seasons or colder water.
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