My name is Rose Weggler, and I’m serving for my first term (2019-2020) as the volunteer President for the Maine Association of Sea Kayak Guides and Instructors. I live in Portland, and have guided in Casco Bay, Boothbay Harbor, Muscongus Bay, and California over the years. As we kick off our membership drive for 2020 I thought I’d share where we’re headed as an organization this year.
MASKGI is a professional association for sea kayak guides in our state, and we’ve been around for a while! MASKGI’s mission statement is ever evolving, but we strive to:
- Promote the sea kayak industry and safe recreation in the coastal environment
- Provide skill building and professional development opportunities for Guides
- Advocate for Guides and Outfitters with State agencies and boards
To accomplish these goals, MASKGI helps to build the community of Maine Guides and other experienced paddlers that support sea kayaking in our state. We help new Guides meet their peers and mentors, members of the public find expertise, and Outfitters have a voice with State regulators.
Here are some planned highlights for 2020:
- Continuing our off season “pool sessions” but offering them FREE to members this year!
- Offering Wilderness First Aid Afloat (WFAA) training and certification at a subsidized rate for members in partnership with the Maine Island Trail Association (MITA);
- Sponsor seminars like practical, on-the-water weather forecasting with John Huth, author of “The Lost Art of Finding Our Way”;
- Help members access boats and gear through “pro deals” with manufacturers;
- Promoting training offered by instructor and outfitter members in areas like Maine Guide courses, navigation, rough water rescue and incident management, and others
- Assisting the Coast Guard with education and outreach in situations where paddlers can help support their safety mission;
- Helping the Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife recruit experienced sea kayak guides as guide test examiners; to ease the bottleneck in the number of guides who can be trained, tested and certified in time for the season.
- Continuing our conversations with DIF&W and the Guide Board about how regulations impact sea kayaking as a profession and an industry;
- Experiment with ways to market the sea kayaking industry to the benefit of our member Guides, instructors, and business members.
I hope this encourages you to renew your membership or join us for the first time. MASKGI memberships run the calendar year from January 1st to December 31st, although you can join anytime. Details are on our membership page, you can reach us by email, or come to one of our events! We have an active Facebook group, as well as a mailing list (you can sign up here on our website or just get in touch and we’ll add you) and several active committees. Your MASKGI membership ties you into the paddling network in Maine, fosters the community of Guides and instructors, and supports the superior sea kayaking experience that we enjoy in our beautiful home.