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]

Staying Afloat

Mishaps occur in seakayaking, but what you do and how well you are prepared can mean a difference between enjoying a brief time on the water or going home, continuing a journey in comfort or discomfort,  or worse: life and death.

Whether you lose you hatch cover on the way to the put in, forgot it or lost it on the water, these few simple and compact items should be carried with you at all times. Or if you developed a leak in your hull, and gorilla tape might not be the answer, again, you’ll be forced to try other things.  Consider these items part of your “A Kit”, an item you bring with everywhere.


Flotation bags, commonly used in whitewater craft or Skin-On-Frame kayaks, are used to occupy space that unwanted water would. If your kayak is taking on water and there isn’t time to do a proper repair, these will keep your boat buoyant.




Two of them nested side by side will displace most of the water. Their long tubes make it easy to inflate while afloat.






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Emergency hatch covers needn’t be complicated or costly. Try an inexpensive nylon spray skirt along with a piece of bungy cord with a slip knot. This one applies in less than a minute. It’s not ultra resilient, but quick and easy. It’s a bonus when any piece of equipment can do double duty.







All of these items will fit into…




…a nice little pouch the size of a litre bottle; nice and neat, and the contents are visible from the outside.


Simple! Easy! Fast!


Train for the worst; Hope for the best.

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.