NSSKA trip leaders take care to plan safe, enjoyable outings. Here’s what goes into planning a trip:
Our trip leaders provide enough information for you to decide whether the outing suits your abilities. This includes a trip rating, which consists of a number representing the expected conditions and a letter representing the human effort required. Trips rated as I-A are great for new paddlers. Scroll down for a description of trip ratings.
- Club member suggests a trip to our trip coordinator
- Trip coordinator finds a qualified member to lead the trip
- At least one person from the NSSKA Board approves the trip
- Trip gets posted to our events calendar
It is the paddler’s responsibility to come prepared to enjoy a trip. The club empowers all trip leaders to decide who is capable of participating based on a member's skills and equipment. We are sticklers about using immersion gear when paddling cold waters, and on many trips we require dry suits and/or neoprene wet suits.
I - Protected waters, possibly a light breeze, little or no current, easy landings. You must be able to wet-exit safely from a capsized kayak.
II - Possible chop with wind waves of up to 2 feet, current to 1-2 knots, easy to moderate landings. You must have experience with wet exits, assisted rescues, and bracing.
III - Possible swells and eddy lines, moderate to strong winds, moderate to difficult landings, current up to 4 knots. You must have dependable skills in assisted rescues, self-rescues, and bracing.
IV - Some exposed water, possible open-water crossings, moderate to strong currents, swells, moderate to strong sustained winds, moderate to difficult landings, possible surf. You must be able to brace automatically, to self-rescue confidently, and (preferably) to roll. You must be able to navigate using a chart and compass.
V - Possible long crossings, rugged and/or exposed coast, large swells, surf, strong currents, turbulent water, difficult landings and/or strong wind effects. You must have advanced paddling, seamanship, and rescue skills, and be able to roll dependably.
A - Up to three hours and/or 6 nautical miles, with plenty of sheltered landing spots for resting.
B - Up to 5 hours and/or 10 nautical miles, with some sheltered landing spots for resting.
C - Up to 6 hours and/or 15 nautical miles with infrequent shelter or landing spots.
D - More than 6 hours and/or more than 15 nautical miles, with little or no shelter and very few landing spots.
Gear & Supplies
Paddlers are required bring the following items on any day trip:
- Food and beverage/water
- Personal flotation device (PFD) equipped with whistle
- Sea kayak with flotation fore and aft (either bulkheads or float bags)
- Spray skirt
- Bilge pump and paddle float
- Personal first aid kit that includes any medications for specific needs
- Sun and rain protection (hat, sun glasses, sunscreen)
- Dry bag with rain jacket or cagoule, and change of clothes
- VHF radio if possible
In addition to the above, trip leaders are required to bring:
- VHF radio
- Compass and chart of the route
- Emergency blanket
- Repair kit
- Short tow and long tow
- Spare paddle
For overnight trips, the trip leader will provide a gear/supply checklist based on destination and duration.