Sea Kayaking 113, Open Water Training Camp


Open Water Over Night Training Camp

Take the guesswork out of kayak navigation and the fear out of paddling through waves and tide races. This course is like two kayak lessons combined into one spectacular trip in the beautiful San Juan Islands, WA. Look under "Detail" to see if you meet the prerequisites for this class.

Our Open Water Training Camp bridges the gaps between theory and practical experience for both your kayak paddling technique and kayak trip planning/leadership skills. Many students find this course so interesting and valuable they take it more than once! No one is too experienced to benefit from this course -- even if you've done a lot of trips in the San Juan Islands before (instructors, guides, and kayakers with ten or more years of experience are consistently blown away by how much they learned from George on this overnight kayak camping trip).

If you own a sea kayak or are about to buy one, you owe it to yourself to take this course.


For both the mental and physical skills, this is a hands-on, learn-by-doing kayak course with the water as your classroom. Each student is provided with their own chart, compass, and tide tables.* With these tools in hand and the water in front of you, you'll not only learn to predict tides and currents - you'll learn to: check your predictions by observing the rise or fall of the tide, reading the water so as to see the current and eddies with your own eyes, interpret marine weather forecasts and observe the weather and understand the significance of its trends, take compass bearings to fix your position and determine ferry angles, read charts to avoid miss adventures hazards, decide when to go ahead and when to wait for ships to pass, and that's just the beginning! Even at camp, the learning continues as you'll practice techniques for night navigation, vessel, light identification, and more ... it's non-stop learning.

On the water, each student takes turns navigating and leading the group during island crossings in current and taking part in the decision-making along the way. You'll also be given opportunities to test your paddling skills in rough water conditions with George Gronseth there to coach and watch over you. Paddle through waves, surf a tide race, cross eddy lines ... take advantage of this opportunity to push your limits with George by your side coaching you. This course puts it all together on a fun adventure-filled trip with self-selected physical challenges.

Even if leading trips isn't your main goal, this course will give you the ability to anticipate, evaluate, and avoid misadventures with waves - all of which will lower your anxiety while paddling with others and make you a safer more self-sufficient member of any group.

Although whale and bird watching aren't the focus of these trips, it's not uncommon to see porpoise, seals, bald eagles, oystercatchers, and sometimes orca and other whales on this trip. There are hundreds of islands in the San Juan archipelago, and they are well-known for their natural beauty and wildlife. Few people know these islands and the winds and tidal currents around them as well as George. Most of the challenges sea kayakers face are found in the San Juan Islands. This is bad news for the clueless paddlers, but it's great for those prepared to test and advance their skills -- let George show you how.

Open Water Training Camps are offered as kayak camping trips in conjunction with the Thurs. - Fri. part of our 5-Day Training Camps and occasionally we offer separate "Open Water Training Camps" on weekends.

*Handouts include the Kayak Academy's exclusive 66 pages, "Trip Planning & Leadership Guide", by George Gronseth. You also get to keep a set of Washington Tide and Current Tables, and the Kayak Academy's waterproof logbook.

Student Testimonials

Student Feedback:

"I thought I knew how to navigate, but compared to what you taught us my former navigation skill was the technical equivalent of rubbing sticks together to make a fire." K.K. Edmonds, WA
"We were talking on the way home about how you pushed our envelope but not anyone's safety. It really built my confidence." M.H. Mercer I., WA
"Eddy lines and tideraces used to terrify me, and I avoided them as much as possible. Thanks to your "Open Water Training Camp" I now know I can handle them." J.A. Seattle, WA
"As beginners, we were a little nervous at first, but by the end of the weekend we had confidence and were able to relax and enjoy being out there in our kayaks." M. & D. W. Seattle, WA


Registration and Confirmation:

Determine the date that fits your schedule. Read prerequisites, liability, and cancellation policy. Then place your reservation by filling in required information on this page, adding the lesson to your cart, and check out. Your spot is confirmed once you pay. 

Prerequisite: Courses 101,102 and 103 (recommended) or check with us about Equivalency.

Instructor: George Gronseth
Location: Launch near Anacortes, Washington. We'll camp on an island and return on the last day (destination depends on conditions and time of year)
Duration: 2 days and 1-night camping in a tent
Class Size: Typically 5 (If more than 5 students, we will add a second instructor and then 7 students are the maximum)
Tuition: $850.00 (includes handouts and free use of drysuit, booties, and skull cap)
Dry Suit Rental: No Charge - Included with tuition
Kayak Rental: $100.00 plus tax, delivered to the lesson. Covers entire duration of lesson. Includes Brit/Danish style sea kayak w/skeg, paddle, spray-skirt, PFD, bilge pump, and paddle-float.
Tent Rental: $30 total for trip
Sleeping Bag Rental: $30 total for trip (includes a liner sheet which is washed each time and an air mattress)

Parking Fee: Depends on location $7-10 (please bring cash)
Camping Fee: Included with tuition

Please read our Cancellation/Reschedule Policy

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.

Enter Your Profile

Add one person per form. If you are signing up more than one person, add them to the cart one at a time.

Can you swim?

Will you be bringing your own dry suit?

Do you need to rent a boat for this class?

Choose A Date


Pick course date and enter student info before adding to cart