Our trip ratings are based on factors that affect the safety of the group and the skills required to participate.
The trip ratings below follow the AMC’s Activity Rating System, which rates activities on a spectrum from relaxed to strenuous. The conditions described in each section indicates what conditions you might encounter on the trip, not what is expected to be encountered. The skills described in each section identifies specific skills that are required to participate in the trip.
Unlike some other activities in the AMC, ocean paddling requires specific skills that are learned and developed over time. Trips rated from Moderate to Strenuous are not suitable for paddlers without prior training and experience – no matter your level of fitness.
Note that neither the American Canoe Association (ACA) nor the British Canoeing (BC) sea kayak skill classification levels aligns with the AMC’s Activity Rating System. This is due to the technical nature of sea kayaking and the high variability of conditions on the ocean. Wind, waves, tides and currents all play a party in ocean paddling and conditions can change rapidly and unexpectedly. Paddlers must be able to assess their capabilities accurately and honestly when sea kayaking.
Always check with the Trip Leader regarding the actual trip difficulty level and how that aligns with your own skills and equipment.
All sea kayak trips will have some exposure to wind, waves, boat traffic and other factors that may affect the difficulty of the trip. Our trip leaders will select venues and routes that are appropriate for the skills of the group and level of the trip, but there is always a risk that conditions may exceed the parameters forecast for the trip.
Paddlers without the appropriate knowledge, skills and equipment for the conditions can become a safety issue for the group. You should know and understand your own capabilities and limits when deciding whether a trip is right for you.
Our trips run rain or shine. If the weather or conditions change, the trip leader may adjust the route or venue based on the level of the trip. Rarely, weather or sea conditions may result in the cancellation or postponement of a trip. The final decision to run, cancel or modify a trip is left to the trip leader.
The trip leader will screen participants to make sure that they have the appropriate skills and equipment for the nature of the trip. For advanced trips and classes, evidence of assessment by an outside paddle sports organization such as the ACA or the BCU will usually be accepted by the trip leader.
We reserve the right to deny any individual participation in a trip if the trip leader determines that the individual lacks the skills or equipment necessary for the safe operation of the trip and the enjoyment of all participants.
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