SK trip leading and planning

In the kayak club, our goal is always to have safe and fun adventures on the water!  In order to help make that happen, we have some long-established customs and procedures for planning and leading club sea kayak trips.  You can find all the details about trips in the sea kayak bylaws, but a quick summary is below.  We need trip leaders in order to have trips, so if you like to paddle you should think about becoming a trip leader!

How to become a trip leader

  1. Go on some trips with the club.
  2. Lead some “trips” on the lake.  These don’t require approval, but they’ll help you figure out how to plan outings and manage a group of paddlers.
  3. Email the SK Tzar and tell them you want to become a trip leader.
  4. Co-lead some SK-II trips with an established trip leader.
  5. Take trip planning and leading skills classes.  Email the SK Tzar to let them know you are interested.  They will be offered or coordinated every year when there is interest.
  6. Graduate to leading your own SK trips!

How to plan a sea kayak trip

  1. Think of a place you’d like to paddle.  Do some research, by reading guide books and trip reports, looking at charts and currents in the area, and figuring out where to put in, take out, camp and rest.
  2. As early as possible before the trip, email the Sea Kayak Leaders email list (ukc-skl at about where and when you’re thinking of going (and any other details).  You should fill out as much as possible of a “trip sheet,” which lists proposed date and time, location, relevant maps, route description, typical weather conditions and likely concerns, tidal current information and predictions, alternate route, anticipated hazards, and trip participants (names if known).
  3. After review and approval by the Sea Kayak Leaders, announce the trip to the whole club via the UKC-all list.
  4. Make sure you have at least 3 participants, they are all ACA members, and that they all have demonstrated/practiced re-entering a boat within the last year.  Lead a rescue session to provide this opportunity if necessary.  Ensure the participants’ skill levels are appropriate for the trip, by paddling with them and asking for input from SKL about what appropriate skill levels are.
  5. Check the weather in the days leading up to the trip; be for altering your trip or cancelling if the weather doesn’t cooperate.
  6. Send a final trip sheet to the ACA and SKL before leaving.
  7. Have a good trip!
  8. Send a trip report to ACA and SKL afterwards.