Our Adventure Paddling trips are rated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the most difficult. This is our own rating system that is similar to the ACA or BCU systems of awards, but does not follow these schemes exactly. Within each trip description we recommend certain P&T Outdoor Leadership Center trainings to help guide you in the decision on which trip is right trip for you. During the trip, we will offer training at the designated level of paddling difficulty. When reading the trip level descriptions, please keep in mind that you will be paddling with some of the finest coaches around, who are with you on these trips to ensure your safety and that the conditions are appropriate for you to be paddling in.
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Adventure Travel Trip Difficulty Rating
Level 1 Sea Kayak Trips - Paddling on calm, flat water in winds not exceeding 5 knots. Scenic estuaries, calm bays, flatwater rivers and other protected waterways are the destinations for these trips. Paddlers should be comfortable paddling forward at a 2 knot pace, using forward and reverse sweeps to turn the boat, launching and landing on shallow grade beaches, and swimming next to a boat upon capsize. We recommend taking our Level 1 Sea Kayak course before the trip. Those who have taken an equivalent level of training elsewhere, or possess equivalent paddling skills will also feel comfortable paddling on these trips.
Level 2 Sea Kayak Trips - Paddling on water ranging from flat to waves 1 foot or less, and winds not exceeding 10 knots. Along shore paddling and small crossings (2.5nm or less) are typical for this type of trip. Crossings and shoreline exposed to waves and winds higher than 2 feet and 10 knots, respectively, are out of the normal parameters of the trip. Paddlers should be comfortable paddling at a 2 knot pace in calm conditions, rotating their boats 360 degrees with sweep strokes, performing a wet exit, and re-entering their boat with assistance. Paddlers should also have the beginnings, but not mastery, of strokes such as the low brace recovery, controlled reverse paddling, and drawing. We recommend taking either of our L2 Sea Kayak training course or an equivalent level of training or paddling skill to feel comfortable paddling on these trips.
Level 3 Sea Kayak Trips - Paddling in seas to 3 feet and winds to 15 knots. Paddling along semi-exposed coastline,in tidal areas, and crossings up to 5 nautical miles are what makes these trips fun for paddlers starting to develop intermediate paddling skills. While these trips include rough water paddling, they are not advanced conditions trips. Paddlers should be comfortable paddling at a 3 knot pace in moderate conditions, have solid boat handling skills on flat water, be able recover from capsize using a hip snap and brace, reverse paddling, drawing, performing a Eskimo rescue, T-rescue and self rescue on flat water. Paddlers should also have the beginnings of the following skills, which we will work on during the trip: using a tow rig, a roll, bow rudder turn, low brace turn, draw on the move, hanging draw, and the stern rudder as well as some experience paddling in small waves. We recommend taking our L3 Coastal Kayak Weekend training course or an equivalent level of training or possess equivalent paddling skills to feel comfortable paddling on these trips.
Level 4 Sea Kayak Trips - Paddling in seas to 5 feet and winds to 20 knots. Paddling along exposed coastlines with crossings up to 8 nautical miles, tidal currents to 4 knots, navigating by chart and compass, and starting to learn good judgment and leadership while at sea are all part of our level 4 trips. Paddlers should be comfortable paddling at a 3-4 knot pace in moderate conditions, have the beginnings of good boat handling skills in rough water, using a tow rig, be able to roll, prevent capsize with a brace/hip snap, perform paddle, bow and stern presentation Eskimo Rescues, and have good awareness of other boaters in surf. During the trip, coaches will work with paddlers on rough water boat handling skills, navigation, and sea kayak leadership. We recommend taking either of our L4 Open Water training or having an equivalent level of training or paddling skill to feel comfortable paddling on these trips.
Level 5 Sea Kayak Trips - Paddling in seas to 8 feet, winds to 25 knots and training for leading intermediate paddlers in advanced conditions. Paddling along exposed coastline, tidal races, overfalls, and making crossings to 10nm for training in personal skills. For leadership skills, we’ll be looking at navigation, rough water rescue, route finding and making decisions while out at sea. Paddlers must have their ACA L4 Skills Assessment,,BCU 4 Star award or ACA Open Water Instructor Certification or an equivalent level of skill before joining one of these trips.