Sea Kayaking


Club sea kayak outings are generally scheduled in advance during Fall, Spring and Summer quarters. A mix of day trips, weekend outings, and longer trips have typically been organized to various locations.  An annual class is held to train participants in the off-water planning skills for organizing trips, usually during Spring quarter.

You can learn about scheduled trips by visiting the UKC Home page, or through email using the UKC-ALL listserver.  If no trips are currently scheduled, send an email to ukc-all begging for a trip to one of these locations, and someone may volunteer to organize one. Trips must be approved by the club president or the designated sea kayak Tzar in order for club members to reserve the equipment.

In order for anyone to use UKC equipment on an off-campus trip it must meet the official trip guidelines, as described in the Club Constitution, Rules and Customs, and Safety Guidelines.

  • At least one trip coordinator, pre-approved by the club Safety Committee for the level and type of trip considered, must be present.
  • At least three club members (trip coordinator included) must participate.
  • The trip must be to a sea or lake location or stretch of flatwater river that has been pre-approved by submitting a completed "sea kayak trip check sheet" to the ukc-skl mailing list, leaving sufficient time (typically AT LEAST 24 hours except for extremely simple and familiar routes) for responses from the recipients and an OK by the Sea Kayak Tzar.
  • A final copy of the check sheet (after any revisions suggested by the ukc-skl crowd) should be sent to to make the club eligible for ACA insurance.  This must be done a minimum of one business day before the trip, Eastern Time, so by Friday morning for a weekend trip.  After the trip, participants and their ACA numbers must be reported to the same address or by regular mail.
  • Participants must fill out a trip participant list (in the binder on the table in the clubroom) prior to leaving campus.
  • Required equipment for sea trips includes at least one each of the following:
    • first-aid kit
    • flares
    • bilge pump
    • tow rope
    • paddle float
    • optional but strongly suggested: charts of area (required unless you are VERY familiar with the area), magnetic compass, VHF radio
A more complete version of the trip planning process is here.

Be sure to contact the listed trip coordinator(s) to reserve a space on any of the scheduled trips and to refer to the UKC Sea Kayak Trip Rating Scale for descriptions of the rating system used in the trip descriptions. You are responsible for understanding or finding out about trip ratings, and for evaluating your own ability to participate in a trip. Participation in a rescue session is required for trips rated at SK-II and above. Trip ratings are explained here.  We also strongly encourage everyone to become proficient in CPR.  Before going on a trip rated SK-III, you should have practiced most of the basic kayaking skills.

Note that almost all salt water in Washington is dangerously cold in summer as well as winter, with only a couple of degrees variation except in a few very shallow, protected areas.  Therefore, you should plan to wear a club wetsuit (or your own drysuit) on most club trips except maybe SK-IIs along walkable shores.

Due to the limited number of club boats it is MANDATORY that you contact the trip coordinator to assure yourself of a place on the trip. The trip coordinator will be able to answer any questions you may have about the adequacy of your paddling experience but you should know things like: "How far have you paddled in a day?" and " What is a comfortable paddling speed for you?" There is a sign on the bulletin board in club room that explains how to use the markers on the 520 bridge to check your paddling speed (also found in the "trip ratings" link) or ask us to host a paddling speed workshop this summer.

Sign ups within the first 48 hours will be given equal preference.  Ultimate selection of the members participating will be made by the trip coordinator who must balance the experience and paddling strength of the party for safety reasons. For SKI and SKII trips, every effort is made to accommodate as many new paddlers as possible, usually two thirds of the participants. For SKIII trips and above, trip coordinators will weigh participation in the sea kayak class or other equivalent experience, rescue practices, pool/lake sessions, and assistance at work parties.

Transportation on sea trips is cooperative, and all riders should give the driver some money for fuel, etc.  Because the amount depends on destination; ask the driver what she thinks is fair.  Please do not wait for your driver to ask you for your contribution.  The trip coordinator may elect to use the UW Travel Office milage rate to allow for the costs to the driver in addition to fuel, because most drivers spend more on insurance, maintenance and depreciation than they do on gas.

A list of our boats can be found here.

If you are not sure about what you need to bring on a trip, you should check the list of stuff to bring on a sea trip.

Photo above taken in Curme Islands, Desolation Sound BC.