Family Kayaking 101, Beginning Sea Kayak Safety Skills


Beginning Family Sea Kayak Safety Skills.

Has it been a while since you've capsized? Do you and your family or group of friends want to improve your sea kayaking skills and become comfortable wet exiting? If so, you need to take this course! Our students tell us, "kayaking is more fun once you've overcome the fear of capsizing". Your youth will tell you they like being in the water as much as in the kayak so practicing safely exiting is just fun.

Our instructors are patient and well trained to help families work through new skills together. In addition to wet exits, we will put you on the path to an efficient forward stroke and show you how to turn and steer a straight course with and without rudders. We teach both feathered and unfeathered paddling technique, and let you experiment to find out which style you prefer (with proper technique, either one is good.). If you or one of your family members is a veteran kayaker and is already comfortable with capsizing and rescues, we will individualize the class to get them working on some more advanced skills. Everyone should practice a wet exit at least a couple times a year.

Prerequisites: Everyone should be able to swim and well enough to be comfortable putting their head under water and able to swim the freestyle/front crawl stroke or breaststroke without a buoyancy aid. And yes, we wear PFD's (life jackets) while on the water -- but you still need basic swimming skills. Minimum age-- eight (8) years old. 


Touring kayaks are not little toy boats or improved canoes; they are a specialty craft that requires unique skills that no amount of experience paddling other boats will prepare you for. Learn how to paddle a sea or rec kayak without developing bad habits or taking unnecessary risks. Whether you and your family or group of friends have never been in a kayak before, been paddling for years without any formal kayak training, or it's been so long since you took kayak safety lessons you feel the need to start over -- this beginning sea kayaking course is for you. Let us get you started on the right foot (or paddle blade) by learning the basics such as: indexing your grip to the paddle blade, adjusting a kayak seat and foot braces for comfort and efficiency, choosing a paddle that's the right size for you and your kayak, and what clothes and accessories you need to make your kayaking safer and more enjoyable. Along the way you'll all learn how to launch and land a kayak and use your paddle to prevent capsizes when a boat wake hits you. Skills are taught with consideration to your families or friends different learning styles and through games that appeal to all ages.

Today's skilled kayakers know that wearing a dry suit speeds up the learning curve by allowing you to be in the water without getting cold and wet. The Kayak Academy is the only kayak school that gives everyone this advantage by providing the use of drysuits in our kayak lessons (as well as free use of wetsuits when it's warm enough). You'll also benefit from the first-hand experience of learning how to put on a dry suit and wear it while swimming and paddling. Thanks to the drysuits, neoprene booties and kayaking caps we provide, you will stay warm and comfortable while learning skills that could save your life as a beginning kayaker. The gear we provide allows you to start right out on open water -- we don't waste your time indoors or in chlorinated pools. These are some of the reasons why students learn more in our lessons.

After completing this course, recreational kayakers generally feel comfortable paddling on small lakes or near shore on sheltered, non-moving water; for sea kayakers, Family Kayaking (FK) 101 is just the beginning. This kayak lesson gives you the best possible start. You can also skip directly from FK101 into SK115, but this multi-day course is more physically demanding, so if you need to take it a day at a time or your schedule doesn't allow for this course then SK 102 Sea Kayak Boat Handling Intro. is the best class to further your fun in a kayak.


Registration and Confirmation:

Determine the date that fits your schedule. Read prerequisites, liability, and cancellation policy.

Place your reservation.

Look for an emailed invoice and call to make payment. You will have a limited time to pay before we reopen the spot.

Your spot is confirmed once you pay. 

Location: Tibbett's Beach, Lake Sammamish State Park (map)
Duration: 6 hours, typically on a Saturday or Sunday
Class Size: 8 maximum with 4 to 1 student/instructor ratio maximum (minimum age: 8 years)
Tuition: $275 per person plus tax (includes free use of dry suits, booties, and skull caps) 
Dry Suit Rental: No Charge - Included with tuition
Kayak Rental: $35.00 plus tax, delivered to the lesson. Make Rental Reservation (14'-16' Roto-molded Beginner's Touring Kayak, Paddle, PFD, Spray Skirt, Bilge Pump, Self-Rescue Paddle Float, Sponge).
Parking: A Washington State Discover Pass ($30/yr.) or 1 Day Pass ( $10/Day) is required to drive into the State Park. Passes may be purchased from a machine at the park entrance or online at Buy Discover Pass On-line

Please read our Cancellation/Reschedule Policy

Prerequisites: Anyone who can swim well enough to be comfortable putting their head under water and able to swim the freestyle/front crawl stroke or breaststroke without a buoyancy aid can take this class, and yes we wear PFD's (life jackets) while on the water -- but you still need basic swimming skills. Minimum age--eight (8) years old.

Liability Form:
Please click here to go to and fill out our online “Student Record and Liability Release Form”.

How to sign up for classes/rentals:

Fist select the rental option and, if applicable, the lesson location. Then select the date of the lesson/rental you wish to take.

If you have moved onto the second sign-up page and are having trouble seeing all the required fields, try placing your mouse pointer over the "Additional Information" field and using the scroll wheel on your mouse. Otherwise, you can click on a visible field and hit the "tab" button on your keyboard to go to the next required field.

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