Safety & Equipment

MAKE SAFETY A PRIORITY

Our organization's number one goal is safe paddling. If you are new to sea kayaking, don't have all of the safety equipment you will need, or are unfamiliar with Maine waters, we strongly advise you to go out with a guide. Paddling accidents happen fast - you will have a lot more fun knowing that you are in safe hands.

There are a few simple rules all paddlers should follow, whether paddling in Maine or somewhere else:

Wear a lifejacket at all times.

Make sure somebody knows where you are and when you'll return.

Paddle with a buddy.

Check weather and tide conditions and plan accordingly.

Dress for the water temperature, not the air temperature:

  • Air Temp + Water Temp < 110 = stay out of the water.
  • Water Temp < 50°F = experienced paddler with drysuits only!
  • Water Temp between 50-60°F = wetsuits!
Sea kayak by Island Campfire

Recommended Equipment List for Sea Kayaking Guides

Sea kayak guides and instructors engage in a variety of activities, in diverse coastal waters and conditions. The equipment guides carry is dependent on the nature of the activity, group, and environmental variables, as is the choice of appropriate kayaks for that day and venue. Kayak designs and construction vary widely.

MASKGI guides and instructors make informed and experienced decisions on what equipment to carry for a given day’s activities and conditions.

Maine Association of Sea Kayak Guides & Instructors will consider carrying and using of all or some of the following:
Primary Equipment
  • Appropriate kayaks for conditions to be encountered with secure bulkheads or other adequate flotation
  • USCG approved PFD
  • A primary and spare paddle
  • Boat mounted tow, waist tow, and/or contact tow
  • Portable bilge pump or bailer
  • Appropriate spray skirts for the experience level of the paddler
Clothing and Accessories
  • Proper attire for the conditions and foreseeable weather
  • Extra (spare) items of clothing in a waterproof container
  • Protection against the sun, wind, rain, and moisture
  • Nourishment and fluids
Communication Equipment
  • Effective communications for the venue which may include VHF, cell phone, SAT phone, other
  • USCG required sound and signaling devices to include flares, dyes, horn, whistle, strobe, etc.
  • Reflective materials
Navigation Equipment
  • Appropriate charts, maps, print-outs, and devices to resolve all navigation and SAR needs that may arise
  • Weather, tide and current information for the trip's duration, with a reliable ability to update
  • Boat mounted and hand held compasses
Additional Equipment
  • RMG License
  • Emergency phone numbers and relevant VHF channels applicable to the venue
  • First aid kit adequate for group needs, stored in a waterproof container
  • Kayak repair kit adequate to maintain sufficient flotation, functional control of kayak, and visibility; to include tools, supplies, and materials deemed useful by the guide's training and preferences
  • Knife, which is readily accessible 
  • Paddle float
  • Sponge
  • Radar reflector
  • Hypothermia kit
  • Barometer
  • Watch
  • Waterproof flashlight
  • Waterproof matches
  • Writing/note-taking supplies
  • Rescue belt, sling, or loop
  • Thermos with hot drink or means of making a hot drink when seen as necessary
  • Solid waste management system when necessary

Note: this list is subject to change.