USCG Visual Safety Checks

As follow up to a discussion topic at last fall’s MASKGI meeting, the USCG Visual Safety Check (VSC) checklist can be viewed at the link below:


Starting last season, the USCG has been performing “boardings” of kayak groups as part of their paddle safety initiative. These encounters appeared to more common in the Casco Bay and MDI areas. It was noted at last fall’s meeting that technically each kayak is its own craft, so boarding officers may have been trying to gather information for each kayak and paddler, rather than for the group from the lead guide. Also, it is important to note that each kayak in a group must meet minimum USCG requirements. The VSC checklist is included here, so guides can assess the type and level of information that may be requested by a boarding officer.




Criminal History Records Check

Information on Criminal History Records Check for Registered Maine Guides

As of 1 November 2017, there is a new requirement for first-time applicants to become Registered Maine Guides and renewing Registered Maine Guides. First-time applicants and renewing guides will be required to pass a criminal history records check, conducted by the Maine Warden Service. This requirement is summarized in a memorandum, issued on 21 September 2017, by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (IF&W) below:


Information to become a Maine Guide, which includes references to these criminal history records checks, can be found on the IF&W website at:


Frequency asked questions (FAQs) that in part address several issues for new-guide applicants, concerning these checks can be found on the IF&W website at:


FAQs that a in part address several issues for guide renewing-guide applicants, concerning these checks can be found on the IF&W website at:




Wilderness First Aid Training

Wilderness First Aid Afloat in April

Wilderness First Aid Afloat

Scheduled for 28-29 April 2018

Sponsored by Nanuq Kayaks and MASKGI

Course Description

This SOLO Wilderness First Aid Afloat (WFAA) is being jointly sponsored by Nanuq Kayaks of Portland and MASKGI for their patrons/members and is specifically targeting participants engaged in paddle sports. This course contains all the same information included in the SOLO Wilderness First Aid course except for altitude illness. It also includes additional topics that are of specific interest to paddlers, such as sea sickness, marine bites and stings, and some types of injuries that are more common in marine environments. Topics, like sending for help, have been adapted to be more applicable to situations that might arise on the water and in a water-based environment. The WFAA meets all requirements of the United States Coast Guard for a Wilderness First Aid course, and is listed as an approved course and curriculum by the USCG.


Saturday and Sunday, 28 and 29 April, from 0800 to 1700 on each day


Nanuq Kayaks
The Maine Wharf (at the very end; pay parking is nearby)
Portland, Maine 04101 USA
1 (207) 805 6884


Nancy Zane, North Star Adventures
• Wilderness EMT
• Leave No Trace Master Educator
• Maine Recreational Guide
• Maine Sea Kayak Guide
• American Heart Association, First Aid & CPR Instructor
• National Registry EMT-B

Cost and Registration

Further information and register online at:

Course Topics

• Introduction
• Anatomy of a Wilderness Crisis
• Anatomy of the Musculoskeletal System
• Asthma
• Backcountry Essentials
• Cold-Related Injuries
• Environmental Emergencies and Survival Skills (including lightning)
• Heat-Related Injuries
• Medical Emergencies and Critical Care
• Orthopedics
• Patient Assessment System
• Patient Lifting and Moving
• Principles of Fracture Care
• Rescue Plan
• Response and Assessment
• Soft Tissue Injuries and Medical Emergencies
• Spinal Cord Injury Management
• Sprains and Strains
• Techniques
• The Human Animal
• Trauma-Musculoskeletal Injuries
• Trauma-Soft Tissue Injuries
• Universal Precaution
• Use of Epinephrine
• What is Wilderness First Aid?

Notification of Enrollment

After enrolling online, please notify Craig Shipp, MASKGI Secretary, at .
Enrollment is limited, so register early to guarantee a spot




Peaks to Portland

Spring Meeting 4/21/18

Due to the Wilderness First Aid Afloat class that we’re co-sponsoring with Nanuq Kayak, we’ve moved the MASKGI Spring Meeting to Saturday, April 21st 2018. The meeting will be held from 1:0o pm to 3:00 pm at Nanuq Kayak in Portland. We’ll also set up a Zoom video conference bridge for those who would like to attend remotely. We’ve put some more details on an Event page that we’ll share on Facebook and email as well. We hope to see you there!




Sea Kayak Compass

Plans for 2018!

Hi everyone,

My name is Sam Frankel, and I’m serving as the President of the Maine Association of Sea Kayak Guides and Instructors (MASKGI) for 2017-2018. I picked up my license in 2016 after a few years of increasingly serious sea kayaking. I took my guide course from Tidal Transit in Boothbay, and am preparing for my third season working for Portland Paddle in beautiful Casco Bay. As MASKGI prepares for our annual membership drive, I thought I’d summarize what we have planned in 2018!

For those who may be new to the organization, MASKGI is a professional association for sea kayak guides in our state. MASKGI’s goals are to:

  • Provide professional development opportunities for guides to improve their skills;
  • Advocate for guides and outfitters with State agencies and boards;
  • Promote safety by building a strong community of guides ready to teach safe paddling skills on the water.

MASKGI’s goals are consistent, but each year we evolve a calendar of activity based on needs expressed by members and opportunities for collaboration. For example, last year we organized seminars on understanding weather, after a discussion at our Fall meeting. We also responded to a request from the U.S. Coast Guard to assist with their Paddle Smart campaign events. Most of our events take place either during the winter or the “shoulder” seasons, since during the summer many of us are on the water full-time!

MASKGI organizes some events directly, but also promotes those put on by our members and other groups. We try to act as a direct provider of services, but also as a network that finds and amplifies opportunities for guides in general. Events we organize or amplify are typically open to the community, but often offered at significant discounts for MASKGI members. Here’s what we have planned for 2018!

  • In January, February and March we’ll be organizing and/or promoting indoor “pool sessions” to work on kayak skills during the off season. It’s a great time to get started learning or perfecting your roll!
  • In February and March we’re hoping to offer another round of the “understanding weather” seminars with John Huth. These had a great response from both paddlers and sailors who attended last year.
  • In April and May we’ll be offering and/or promoting pre-season training opportunities like Wilderness First Aid Afloat and rough water rescues. This is an example of how we can amplify classes offered by some of our terrific instructor members, who often provide a significant discount for MASKGI members.
  • In May we’ll have our Spring Meeting, where we’ll discuss opportunities for the organization and how best to support members.
    • These discussions include advocacy around professional issues to the Maine Guide Board and Department of Marine Resources.
  • From May to September we look for opportunities to teach paddling safety to the public. For example:
    • Last year MASKGI members appeared on Maine Public Radio and WERU to discuss paddling safety and make public service announcements.
    • We assisted the U.S. Coast Guard with their Paddle Smart campaign events with in water demonstrations.
    • MASKGI members are on hand to respond to media inquiries in the unfortunate event of paddling injuries or fatalities. We try to reinforce safety practices that will reduce these tragedies.
  • In November we have our Fall Meeting where we elect officers and discuss ideas for the year to come.
    • …and then the cycle begins again!

I hope this brief sketch of our activity makes you excited 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. Just visit our website, get in touch by email, or come to one of our events! We have an active Facebook group where we discuss paddling, issues related to guiding, and just socialize. Whether you’re a guide, interested in becoming one, or an outfitter, we hope you’ll join our community.

Happy 2018 on the water!




sea kayakers at Riverton Pool Session

Winter Pool Sessions

Joe G. has organized the first 3 pool sessions of the winter. The sessions are from 2-4pm at Riverton Pool in Portland.

The dates are:

  • Sunday, December 17
  • Sunday, January 14
  • Sunday, January 21

$20 members
$25 non-members (You can join or renew onsite.)

Long and short boats are welcome.

These pool sessions are informal, but instruction is usually available. Space is limited, so if you’re coming!

If you need to borrow a boat and/or gear please inquire and we should be able to help.




Settling in for Winter

New Board Members Elected

Congratulations to the new MASKGI Board Members elected for the 2017/2018 term:

  • President: Sam Frankel
  • Vice-President: Maria Jenness
  • Treasurer: Joe Guglielmetti
  • Secretary: Craig Shipp