Sea Kayaking


Apr. 22, 2021


  • Boats and equipment are available to all members when accompanied by a trip leader, or without a trip leader including for solo use when members have been properly assessed to have Basic Skills (see below). Having said that, members use equipment at their own risk, and should remember the Coast Guard saying, “less than three (paddlers) should never be”.
  • Those assessed as having Basic Skills shall be given a key to Container 15 upon request, but not the main gate. (For additional key info see Senior Members below.)
  • Posted club paddles including but not limited to Open House Paddles shall have equipment priority.
  • Club boats and other club equipment may not be taken from Jamaica Bay or Lake Sebago without the permission of the Kayak Chair (KC). Permission is normally routine for posted club trips, but rare for other purposes.
  • All boats & equipment must be inspected but the paddler/user before and after each use. Any damage issues should be annotated via the “yellow tag” system and reported to the Kayak Chair or the Fleet Manager.
  • If a member likes a particular club boat, particularly fiberglass, kevlar and carbon fiber boats, and uses it regularly, that member is encourage to “adopt” the boat and repair it as necessary.


  • Basic Skills is defined as having ACA (American Canoe Association) Level 1 sea kayak skills plus self-rescue skills, see
  • Instructors or other authorized personnel shall submit a list of members who have successfully demonstrated Basic Skills to Dorothy Lewandowski – – for input into the membership database (aka FileMaker), with a copy to the Kayak Chair.


  • To be a Senior Member one must be a member in good standing for at least one year, request to become a Senior Member, be present at the appropriate membership meeting, and be voted in as a Senior Member.
  • Upon request, Senior members may be given a key to the main gate – but not to the safety gear lockers – which shall require further instruction/knowledge.
  • Senior members who attained Basic Skills may also be given a key to C 15 upon request.


General information re: Trip Leaders:
  • The trip leader’s skill should match or exceed the location. This is why trip planning is such a crucial requirement for any trip leader.
  • Protected waters such as Jamaica Bay or Lake Sebago would basically require Level 2 skills.
  • Intermediate waters like Cold Spring, NY to the Bear Mountain Bridge would require Level 3 skills.
  • Advanced trips in areas that regularly include open exposed waters, waves, currents or surf zones should have a Level 4 trip leader or above.

Intermediate & Advanced Trip Leaders: Trip Leaders for unprotected water not qualifying as Level 4 or 5 conditions should have at least an ACA Level 3 Trip Leader certification, or an equivalent assessment by the club. For ACA Level 3 TL skills see:

Protected water Trip Leaders:
  • See: Sebago Level 2 Trip Leader Standards below.
Assistant Trip Leaders:
  • See: Sebago Assistant Trip Leader Standards below
A list of all TLs and ATLs shall be maintained and available to members upon request.
  • See the Kayak Chair (KC) for details
  • Re-certification of TLs shall be required as deemed prudent by the KC.


  • Trip Leader (TL) status is designated by the Kayak Chair or such other member or committee the Chair designates (usually the senior instructors managing the Trip Leader Workshop). Participation in the Trip Leader Workshop is the preferable means of becoming a TL (or brushing up on one’s skills). Ad hoc appointments are possible via contacting the KC, but are discouraged.
  • Only Trip Leaders may take members who are not trip leaders or guests out in club boats.
  • TLs should carry their own safety equipment including VHF radios and tow belts. However, the club maintains a TL locker with group safety equipment such as first aid kits, repair materials, night illumination, paddle floats, pumps and spray skirts. Club radios are also usually available in the Trip Leader Cabinet in the clubhouse.
  • Spray skirts should be used only by members who have successful experience with wet exits and have Basic Skills.
  • The Trip Leader shall have the ultimate authority over all major decisions including but not limited to: go or not go; accept any participant; select an assistant; when & where to launch or land; etc.
  • TLs shall comply with the ACA guideline of a maximum of 5 participants to a TL. A TL together with an ATL may handle up to 10 participants. However, the TL may lower the leader/participant ratio at his/her discretion.
  • While each trip member is ultimately responsible for his/her own safety, the maintenance of the integrity of the group is very important for safety reasons. Failure to heed the instructions of the TL shall be considered a serious issue.
  • If a trip will include guests, the TL should gather participants together; arrange for introductions; assign boats; adjust equipment; describe basic strokes; summarize the trip plan; describe signals to be used; discuss what to do in the event of a capsize; and cover such other issues that may be necessary. The Trip Leader shall assign duties to subordinate TLs and ATLs.
  • TLs and ATLs should have safety equipment including a tow rope; first aid kit, whistle, pump, paddle float, extra paddle, VHF radio. Air horns are encouraged. In Jamaica Bay channel 68 or 69 are frequently used on the VHF radios, but the channel to be used shall be the decision of the TL, within Coast Guard parameters.
  • All adult guests must fill out electronic waivers.
  • Electronic waivers must be submitted by a parent or guardian for all juvenile guests (those under 18).
  • Trip Leaders should have good reason to believe that the signatories are in fact the parents or guardians.
  • Paper waivers are no longer permitted.
  • The Trip Leader is responsible for maintaining the utmost propriety dealing with the public, and particularly when dealing with youths.
  • The TL shall maintain Trip Rosters of all paddlers, including supporting TLs and ATLs, and is responsible for ensuring that the Trip Rosters and all waivers have been executed and properly processed and maintained. The Trip Rosters shall be deposited in the Trip Leader Cabinet for review by the Kayak Chair.
  • The Check List on the back of the Trip Roster is for the convenience of the TLs, and is not deemed to cover all pertinent matters.
  • Trip Rosters shall act as the old Sebago “sign up sheet” as well as the Trip Roster.
  • TLs shall ensure that all trips are posted on Sebago’s calendar. (Note: All open paddles and a number of member paddles are posted at the season’s inception.)
  • Use of club boats by anyone under the age of 16 is prohibited.
  • Topic specific events, for example – a Safety & Rescue session, will be a special occasional event.
  • If “no shows” become an issue — they will be addressed by the KC. Prospective Instructors –
  • The club does wish to encourage new instructors;
  • The club should pay for direct costs of becoming instructors. For example, the instructor assessment course can cost as much  as $600.00. The club should pay  or reimburse that. However, any classes taken to develop skills in order to become proficient enough to become an instructor shall not be reimbursed.
  • Only those members who have been identified by the Kayak Chair as being good prospective instructors AND who are deemed to have demonstrated a commitment to Sebago shall be reimbursed.
  • Prior to authorizing a reimbursement program for any prospective instructor there should be a clear understanding and record of how the instructor shall minimally support Sebago via running subsequent instruction classes.
  • Reimbursement shall be 100% and paid promptly upon the member formally passing the instructor assessment class.
  • Any and all reimbursements shall be at the discretion of the Kayak Chair, be charged to the Kayak budget and be subject to budget availability.
Existing Instructors:
  • The club is an ACA instructor oriented club. The club shall pay for the direct costs of ACA instructor recertification of those instructors who have a demonstrated to the Kayak Chair a commitment to Sebago. For example, the cost of recertification and the cost of CPR shall be reimbursed. However, if the instructor decides, for example, to take instructional classes in order to maintain or enhance skills to facilitate recertification, these classes shall not be reimbursable.
  • Prior to authorizing a reimbursement program for any prospective instructor there should be a clear understanding and record of how the instructor shall minimally support Sebago via running subsequent instruction classes.
  • Reimbursement of BCU instructor recertification shall be at the discretion of the KC.
  • All reimbursements shall be subject to Kayak Chair approval, charged to the Kayak budget and subject to budget availability.
Contact information at the present time:
  • Kayak Chair: Gianni Lopez
  • Fleet Manager Member Boats: email available upon request
  • Fleet Manager Club Boats: email available upon request