Narragansett Chapter Sea Kayaking Activities

Vacant, Sea Kayaking Subchair

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Requirements to Participate in Sea Kayaking Trips

All our Sea Kayaking trips are from easy to moderate paddles. We consider our paddles to be a combination of healthy outdoor recreation and social interaction. Any adult should not feel that sea kayaking is beyond their ability. But we do have requirements to provide for the safety of our members and guests, so we require that you be comfortable in the following conditions.

If you wish to participate in one or more of our paddles and have a question with any of the requirements, we encourage you to contact the leader of the paddle. If you feel that you are limited in any of the requirements that would prevent you from joining our paddles, we would like to help you gain the skills. Throughout the summer we offer skill sessions which will be listed in the Gazette, in the AMC on-line database and probably here on this page. We want you to enjoy the opportunity to paddle what we consider one of the premier day paddle areas in the Country.

Sea Kakaks for AMC rental

The Chapter Sea Kayaking committee has available four fully equipped sea kayaks and a recreational kayak for rental, including paddles and life vests. (The Flatwater committee has more recreational kayaks as rentals.) The rental rates are $8/day which goes to misc. expenses for the recreational kayaks. We keep the rentals cheap because the purpose not to make money (obviously not to cover the cost of the kayaks) but to get members acquainted with sea kayaking if they are considering buying their own sea kayak. If you have previously rented our recreational kayaks and think that you are ready to try out a sea kayak, now you have a chance to expand your capabilities and experience a faster smoother paddle while enjoying the social atmosphere of the AMC kayakers. For members who have paddled sea kayaks but don't have their own kayak yet, now you can join our paddles.

You should contact Mike Krabach (333-5350) in Cumberland about renting. The kayaks are for use on AMC sponsored events where a qualified leader is present. For open water paddles the renter will need to have the same qualifications as any other sea kayaker. Having performed a wet exit with a spray skirt is one of the requirements. For flatwater paddles involving lakes, ponds or river activities, the skirt will not be used and the wet exit requirement can be waived at the discretion the paddle leader. The kayaks are a polycarbonate 16' Eddyline Nighthawk, a polyethylene 16'6" P&H Capella, a fiberglass Valley Avocet LV and a cedar strip 'Outer Island' kayak. A new addition is a lightweight recreational kayak, the L.L. Bean Calypso.

All kayaks have skegs except the 'Outer Island' and the recreational 'Calypso'. Since these are full size kayaks the renter will have to arrange transportation to the launch site with a car that has a top rack. These do not need to be full kayak cradles, but two sturdy cross bars are required. Custom foam pads are available for seating the kayaks on the cross bars. We now have two "Sportrack" sets of cross bars that will fit many of the newer cars. If you do not have cross bars, either of our rack sets may fit on your car. Look at this pdf file of the Sportrack models and determine the rack set that fits your car model and year. We have the racks SR1010 and SR1002. With a little adjusment they may also fit on other similar cars. We also have a set of attachable cross bars for cars with OEM side rails (Ocean State Job Lot, excellent value for $40.) such as Subaru, Hyundai, and other SUV models.

To be assured that the kayak will be absolutely secure, we (not you) will install the racks on your car and give instructions on using all the safety ropes. We have all the necessary custom foam pads, tie down straps, and front and rear safety ropes. We also have "gismos" that can attach the safety rope under the front hood and rear trunk, if there are no other front or rear safety tie down points . We also have a kayak dolly for rolling the kayak to a launch site. Currently the kayaks are stored in Cumberland and are available for potential users to examine. We encourage members to use them.

The P&H 'Capella' is a good fit for larger people providing a stable platform for those who might not be fully acclimated to tippy sea kayaks. It is also pretty indestructable if used on rocky beaches or rock gardening. It is a relatively heavy kayak, as most polyethylene kayaks are, but once in the water a solid paddler. In heavy cross wind it will have a strong weather cocking tendency. But beginners will not be in those seas ordinarily.
The Eddyline 'Nighthawk' is a nice transitional kayak with a shallow vee bottom that makes it feel tippy at first but also results in a consistent righting moment as the kayak tilts. The kayak is constructed of a lighter polycarbonate plastic than the polyethylene Capella so it is easier to carry, but still can take banging around on rocks. In rough water it is not as smooth a paddle as the Capella which has a better bow shape. It tends to pound in waves as opposed to cuttng through. It is a perfect kayak for medium size people who want to move up from a smaller recreational kayak to a sea kayak.
The fiberglass Valley 'Avocet LV' is a kayak specifically designed for smaller women less than 120 pounds. It will handle a larger person up to about 5" 10" with the foot pegs fully extended. Being fiberglass it is more suscreptable to damage on rocks, but has the feeling of a high performance kayak for intermediate and advanced paddlers. It has a very feminine strawberry pink deck over a light gray hull.
The cedar strip kayak 'Outer Island' is a handmade kayak graciously donated to our chapter by James Doyle of New London, Conneticut. It is a beautiful stable kayak with a little lower volume than the Capella but perfect for medium size paddlers. It is fitted with a aftermarket foam seat that is best for men and women with medium to narrow hips. We have another seat that can be velcro'ed in that does not have side pads and allows more width for those with wider hips. It has nice consistent stability, so no suprises when edging the kayak for turns or in rough water. Because of the technique for wooden strip construction, the thigh braces are not as comfortable as some commercial kayaks, but still are functional. We also have traditional Greenland paddles that can be used if the paddler wishes to stay "fully wooden" while paddling this kayak. Because of the thin hull (fiberglass over and under thin cedar striping) this kayak will not be allowed to be used where it may be bounced on rocky beaches or in rocky shallows. This kayak does not have a skeg or rudder but is fairly neutral to weather cocking and tracks nicely.
The L.L. Bean 'Calypso' is a light weight polyethylene recreational kayak. It has a rear watertight bulkehead and a large foam front divider for flotation. It has a thinnner than normal hull which gives it a light 38 pound weight, advertised as an ideal kayak for women. The boat is 12 ft long with and 24 inches wide, which makes it slightly narrower than a traditional recreational kayak, but results in easier paddling.

AMC Members Escape the Winter, March 2011

Three AMC members escape the winter in Rhode Island and head south to kayak in Florida. Exploring the most southern coast of Florida in the Everglades National Park at the Flamingo campgrounds. Leaving on a snowy Sunday morning and in just two days have 80 degree weather. This was not an official major excursion but felt like one.

Providence Industrial Waterfront, September, 30, 2009

A kayak tour around the Providence waterfront. Starting at the Bold Point fishing access, we paddle up to Providence Waterplace Park and then back down the Providence River, along the Port of Providence to examine and try to identify all the industrial facilities on the waterfront. We end up by Save the Bay for lunch and continue as far south as Pautuxet Cove. We then cross the Bay and view the natural and unnatural features as we paddle back to the launch point. An interesting paddle, different from others. The full photo set is in the Photo Album.

Paddle Training Session in 2008

Paddle training was held at Grosvenor Camp in North Kingston. -- View photos of one of our training sessions. Some photos demonstrate the standard assisted rescue called the "T" rescue, where the kayak is overturned to empty out the water, and then the paddler is assisted in getting back in their kayak.

Best of YouTube Rescue Techniques

This new training page is an ongoing project to familiarize sea kayakers with rescue techniques. All the videos (so far) are linked to YouTube. The first section demonstrates the Cowboy Rescue, my favorite, with more techniques added as I sort them out. YouTube tends to be the lowest common denominator for aspiring video producers.

Kayaking Helmet Cam Fun

Level 3 rough water fun. Round trip from Goddard Park, June 29, 2008, heading to Prudence Island. Then over Prudence and down the east side to the Potter Cove crossover, through the estuary channel, and back up to Patience Island for the crossing. Video shows the heavy traffic coming from the Quonset Point Air show when crossing back to Warwick Neck. Second video July 13, 2008, trip was round trip from Conimicut Point, north to the Pawtuxet Cove and back. When returning, the wind was southerly 20 knots, gusting to 25 knots, with whitecaps on the waves. Click image to play video. (A single click on a running video will open YouTube for full size version.) Note: The latest Adobe Flash Player may be needed if you get a black or blank screen and no video.

Rough Channel Crossing

20 knot Headwinds

Paddle Tidbits

Floodscove Island Camping for Kayaks -- (new) New campground is being developed off the shore of Friendship, Maine. The family that owns the island has permits to build 24 tent sites and has 8 built so far. Each site has a 30 inch fire ring with an adjustable cooking grill as well as a picnic table. Each site is on the shore of the Island with direct ocean access. For a description of the facilities, read information from the owner.

DEET Plus Sunscreen a No-No? -- Articles suggest that using DEET products and sunscreen together may not be in your best interest. But not all sources have the same recommendations. Read article by the US Center for Disease Control, one by Undercurrents magazine, and one by the Illinois Department of Public Health.

A Reason to Learn Self Rescue -- This YouTube video gives humor to a situation that could be a problem other than next to a dock.

Treacherous Brenton Reef and no life preservers -- June 17, 2009, Newport, RI -- Two police officers saved a South Carolina man from drowning after the man's motorboat overturned off treacherous Brenton Reef Friday morning. A passerby on Ocean Drive called for help just after 7:30 a.m. after spotting the capsized Grady-White boat floating about 150 yards off Brenton Point. Read the Providence Journal article.

‘Shooting the tubes’ becomes tragic adventure -- A 17 year old teen and his father decided to “shoot the tubes” with their canoe through the stone archways at the Pratt Dam on Sunday Nov. 9, 2008. The teen was tethered to the craft by a 4-foot mooring line that had become tangled around his ankle. The canoe overturned before going through the tube and was jammed against debris in the culver. The current pushed the canoe down far enough to pull the young man under the surface. Read the Providence Journal article.

Blue Trail Dedication at Weaver Cove -- Dedication of the new Blue Trail on Aquidnick Island occurred on August 22, 2008. It was a beautiful day with many dignitaries attending and having a good paddle after the speeches. Your paddle subchair was on hand to document the event and to assist any wayward kayakers (yes, a few). With a contingent of Portsmouth Police, Coast Guard boat and Navy, and maybe Secret Service (who knows?) everything was under control.View photos and (non-secret) reports.

Tired of JUST kayaking? -- Try something new. How about a folding boat, one that really folds up? Got a lot of friends that like to row? Then you should investigate a Greek Trireme which unfortunately can be quite expensive. Cheaper, smaller and easier to build is the concrete canoe. Get all the proper info at the Concrete Magazine. Maybe you could use a boat for bottom sightseeing. A transparent canoe or maybe a transparent kayak? If you want to stand up in your kayak to stretch your legs or to cast a fly, try the Freedom Hawk.

New Canoe and Kayak Launch in Ninigret Wildlife Refuge -- A new access to Ninigret Pond is available near the refuge’s east entrance. From the parking lot, a paddler can drive through a gravel-covered loop, drop off a boat and drive back to the parking lot. The launching area is sandy with a bench overlooking Ninigret Pond. Update 2010: launch location is in a cove, downwind of prevailing SW winds, which collects seaweed and grass over a mucky bottom.

Information for Planning Your Paddle

For a more extensive listing of the following topics, the viewer is refered to the Local Coastal Access Information page. Additional information is given for the New England States for kayak public access, aerial photos and additional oceanographic information.

Coastal kayak access maps are available for over 100 locations in the Narragansett Bay region. Rhode Island has the most extensive collection of ocean and Bay public access areas in New England. Not only are the most popular launch sites shown, but there are many alternative sites that are rarely used and offer new locations to explore. This graphical interactive site gives detail information on the general condition of the site, directions to the site, available sanitary facilities, and at least two photographs of each launch area. Aerial photos for an overview of each launch site are also included.

NOAA provides a quick synopsis of the marine weather. The map gives the Southern NE coastal waters forecasts by a colored zone. You click on the zone of interest and get a text listing of the marine weather for the current day and four days in advance. The marine weather includes the wind direction and velocity, wave action, fog conditions, and visibility, but not much more. These links are available for overall weather or radar information.

When planning an offshore or Bay paddle, there are times when you need better weather information than given by the summary on the weather page. Under the Weather link there is a page section titled Additional Forecasts and Information. The item "Forecast Discussion", gives detailed information for the southern New England area, in a semi-technical manner. It included the land, aviation, and marine forecasts. It is what you would expect if your high school science teacher was giving the weather forecast on TV.

  This site gives the physical oceanographic Real-Time meteorological conditions for six locations in Narragansett Bay. This includes the wind speed and direction, air temperature and pressure for Providence, Fall River, Conimicut Point, Quonset Point, Potter Cove in Jamestown, and Newport. This site gives the best feel for the current conditions you might experience on the Bay.

This map shows ocean buoy locations and Narragansett Bay stations that you can access to find detailed ocean and weather conditions. Data available includes wind direction and speed, air and water temperature, wave height and period. The Boston Harbor, Buzzards Bay and Montauk Point buoys are identified. WHOI also has a meterological and oceanographic station on Martha's Vineyard, including a realtime video cam of the South Beach.

This is the home site for the Quonset Point Physical Oceanographic and Meteorological Real-Time data. Other Stations in and around the Bay also have the similiar collections. There are quick links to all the nearby stations, and each station has extensive data pages available. Links are available to detailed graphical data for most parameters in a 72 hour window. CO-OPS is consolidating the PORTS® pages into a more universal format as part of an upcoming PORTS® product enhancement. The web address (URL) for a specific PORTS® location will change accordingly when the pages are migrated to this new format. Because Google Maps are used, the site will come up slowly on dialup access.

Rhode Island tidal data in chart form, showing RI Hi/Lo/Sunrise/Sunset predictions for the current month and 5 months ahead, can be found at the USHarbors site. Links are available for tides in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire.

Evening and night paddling can be a very quiet and relaxing paddle. Most late paddles involve the moonlight theme, so the night is not entirely dark. But since visibility is limited, precautions should be taken to minimize any dangers from other boaters or unseen obstructions. The Evening and Night Paddle Equipment page gives an overview of late evening and night paddling, and what to wear and carry in your kayak along with prudent precautions.

Free Marine Coastal Charts, and viewers are available. NOAA has free digital maps that can be downloaded and various companies have free viewers. On-Line raster maps and an 'easy to use' viewer are available from NOAA. A demo site ising Google maps with online mapping software by Geogarage has marine charts of United States coastal areas, including the Gulf Of Mexico and the Great Lakes. Information is available on this page.

Requirements to Lead Sea Kayaking Trips

"Give a person a fish and you feed them for a day; teach a person how to use the Internet and they won't bother you for weeks." -- unknown

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Photo Credits (unless noted) - Michael Krabach
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Rev. Jan. 14, 2017