Review: February 2015, BCU 5 Star Training San Francisco

A group of 7 student came together for a 5 day training course to improve our skills in more challenging environments and prepare for 4 or 5 Star Award Assessments. Gathering in San Francisco, paddlers from California, North Carolina and Minnesota collected for two classes, BCU 5 Star Training course and Open Water and Tidal Planning, taught by Jen Kleck and John Carmody.

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Training and assessing: 2013 Cumberland Island

"Blind" rescuer being guided by "sighted"  victim"

“Blind” rescuer being guided by “sighted” victim”

Learning safety in Sea Kayaking comes in many forms: science (understanding the physics of weather, waves, tides and currents), reading material (trade magazines,  books on a wide variety of topics or specific in nature), word of mouth (social media, friends), formal training from qualified persons (first aid, CPR, kayaking courses and curriculum established by reputed and recognized agencies), and informal training (experiential, mentoring, friends sharing and showing). Because kayaking is an “inherently dangerous sport”, we can (and should) use all these different methods of utilizing key factors for increasing our chances of survival and enjoyment. As we all know from our formal and informal learning experiences, the key to the best learning is having FUN.

Here is a review of a recent trip to the Coast of Georgia (U.S.) and a message of how all of these components come together to form a rewarding learning experience. [Continued] [Photos]

Stowing your gear for an extended day trip

Inland Sea Kayakers monthly meetings provide educational and informative topics for club members and visitors. Katie Katzner, Program Director, puts together these meetings, arranging for time, space, appropriate topics and presenters.

Last night, Christopher gave a talk on “What’s in your day hatch”. A show-and-tell style presentation of what he brings in his kayak provided attendees a good visual and hands on experience of the gear he totes around. Although he predicated the talk that his selection has evolved over time, it was evident the selection was well thought out and contained the most modern equipment available. It was a well presented topic with many good take-aways. The main one being: be prepared for any eventuality.

What is the “day hatch”? The day hatch is the smallest compartment in your kayak; located directly behind the cockpit and having an offset opening, it provides easy access to it’s contents while seated and on the water.

One of the biggest lessons I learned from Shawna Franklin still is: “Your day hatch is one of the most valuable pieces of equipment”. That’s where we pull our magic from while on the water: spare hatch cover, spare clothes, signal equipment, food, water… stuff you can easily dig out and use without having to stop; address the situation NOW!!!.

Be judicious about the gear you put in your day hatch: maintain the ability to rummage around with one hand, identify the piece of equipment you want to use and pull it out with ease.

Use the rest of the space to stow the extra gear you may need when you land: Spare clothes, shelter, sleeping pads, etc. These items can’t be applied for anything practical while on the water, but are still critical to comfort and survival.

For a more comprehensive review of suggested equipment to bring on an extended day trip, read What’s In Your Kit?

2013 BCU 3 Star Training for Midwest Club

Nine members of the Inland Sea Kayakers had an opportunity to have BCU 3 Star training by featured coach, John Carmody, this past Labor day weekend.


As a BCU Level 5 Sea Coach (the highest rating in sea kayaking), John Carmody brings a wealth of hard earned and highly revered knowledge along with an understanding of student needs and desires. Weave in compassion for his students and a love for the sport, bring him to the student’s home waters and you get a perfect recipe for learning and growth. To learn more about John and his kayak company, visit his website Sea Cliff Kayakers.


Train for the worst; Hope for the best.