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  Kayak Crusades Trip Safety, Ethics & Rules to Make Your Trip Safe and Enjoyable

Kayaking Safety

"This was a great experience for our family. We were initially nervous about sharing the kayaking experience with our younger kids. Thanks for calming my concerns and turning the whole family into confident paddlers!"

The Majer Family,
Bellingham, Washington


Waiting for instruction before a Deep Cove launch


Taking Safety precautions insures a fun, accident-free adventure


Take pictures but not souveniers as you explore the area's ancient native  history



Pull boats onto rocks or sand so as not to disturb area vegetation


Adhering to environmental ethics policies helps keep places like this beautiful


Take precaution around wildlife


Safety on and off the water ensures a happy trip


Protecting the environment through ethical camping practices


Camping Ethically





Making all the necessary precautions before we depart


Taking precaution helps to keep the forests pristine


Pack wisely


Out on the water


Take notice of the area's rules on campfires


Star fish in Kyuquot Sound


On the water in English Bay


Beach at sunset


Have a good trip!

"Humans need to know about wild places, to experience them and understand the rhythms they follow. We need to contemplate our place within these wildlands, to discern what it is that draws us there. We need to carry with us an ethic that recognizes the value of wild places, and acknowledges our responsibility to treat them with respect, and apply good judgement as we visit and travel within them. We need to care for wild places as if they were our homes because, in many ways, they are. To do this is good for us, it's good for those who will surely follow, and it's good for the wild places, wherever they may be found."


Kit's Kayaking Ethical Practices and Safety Guidelines

Whether you are sea Kayaking a few hours or a few days, no matter what, - preparation is essential! Preparation can make all the difference between an enjoyable outing OR a perilous exercise in survival. In areas with rapidly changing weather conditions, high winds or water that stays cold year-round; an oversight or accident will compound quickly with poor planning. So remember your instructional lessons and kayaking guides and be aware of your trip. Have a contingency plan... by planning for the unexpected!

At Kit's Kayak Crusades, camping in a way that will sustain our environment for generations to come and keeping our clients safe are our top priorities. To ensure this, we adhere to ethical principles established by the Leave No Trace Foundation and safety guidelines outlined by the Frontenac Outfitter's Paddlesport's Centre.

Kayaking Ethical Guidelines

To preserve the beauty and support the sustainability of the places we paddle, it is important to adhere to environmentally friendly camping and kayaking guidelines.  While kayaking itself leaves no impact on the water, misuse of the land where we dock and camp can have a negative effect on general health of the eco-system.  To ensure that kayakers leave the land as pristine as they encounter it, the Leave No Trace educational program established 7 principles for kayakers to follow on their adventures.  At Kit’s Kayak Crusades, we follow these principles:


  1. Plan Ahead and Prepare
  2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
  3. Dispose of Waste Properly
  4. Leave What You Find
  5. Minimize Campfire Impacts
  6. Respect Wildlife
  7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors
    • Educate Yourself on the area and its special concerns
    • Plan for your Group
    • Schedule your Trip in Advance
      • Know where campsites are
      • Obtain all necessary permits
    • Plan your Meals
      • Good planning reduces leftovers and waste
    • Use Proper Gear
    • Take Responsibility
      • Use caution to avoid endangering youself and others
    • Review These Principles Before Each Trip
    • Recognize Durable Surfaces
      • These are surfaces minimally affected by camping and hiking
      • Included are rock outcrops, sand, gravel, trails, dry grasses, snow or water
    • Concentrate Use in Durable Areas
      • Areas with minimal wildlife and vegetation
      • Stay on established trails
      • Do not step or camp on vegetation, this can cause erosion
    • Disperse Use in Pristine Areas
      • Pristine areas are those special places that appear to be wilderness untouched by humans
      • To keep theses areas pristine, avoid creating campsites or trails here
    • Good Campsites are found, not made
    • Breaking Camp
      • Leave the area as natural as possible
    • Establish a "Leave No Trace" Strategy at all Campsites
      • Can this site sustain your group without suffering new impacts?
      • Where will we launch and land?
      • Is there a place to store the kayaks?
      • Are there durable surfaces?
      • Is there room to accommodate all the tents?
      • Can a kitchen be established away from our sleeping area?
      • Where can we obtain water?
      • How should we dispose of human waste?
      • Where should we stash food, waste and other animal attractants?
      • What are the special concerns for this campsite?
    • Pack It In, Pack It Out
    • Practice Good Sanitation
      • Proper Human Waste Disposal
        • Avoid polluting fresh water sources
        • Eliminate contact with insects and animals
        • Maximize decomposition
        • Minimize the chances of social impacts
      • Facilities and Outhouses, always use when available rather than polluting the natural landscape
      • Portable, reusable toilet systems
      • Catholes
        • Best natural disposal method is to dig a 6 - 8 inch hole
        • Always dig at least 200 ft. from fresh water or campsite
      • Ocean Disposal is not recommended!
      • Urinate below the high tide line
      • Wastewater(dishwashing and cooking water) is best disposed below high tide line or in the ocean itself, not fresh water
      • Soaps and Lotions - use minimally even if biodegradeable
      • Dispose of Game and Fish by packing out or burning
    • Preserve the Past
      • Any archaeological artifacts you find should be left to preserve the area's history
    • Leave Natural Features Undisturbed
    • Avoid Spreading Non-native Plants and Animals
      • Don't transport flowers, weeds or aquatic plants into wetlands
      • Empty and clean all your gear after your trip as water and mud may contain harmful seeds, spores, plants or animals
      • Clean the dirt out of your shoes
      • Never discard or release live bait
      • Have your pets immunized, make sure their coats are free of seeds, twigs and ticks
      • Alert land managers of infested areas
      • Assist native plant restoration efforts
    • Use a stove
    • Know the law, only have legal campfires
    • Build a minimum impact pit or mound fire
      • Pit Fire: Built in a shallow pit with no vegetation
      • Mound Fire: Built on a pedestal built 6 - 8 inches tall
    • Use dead and downed wood only
    • Manage Your Campfire
      • Consider wind to determine safety
      • Never leave a fire unattended
      • Don't burn foil, leftover food or garbage
      • Burn wood completely to ash
      • Saturate the ashes with water
      • Scatter ashes in saltwater, pack out any charcoal
      • If there is already a fire ring at your site, use it
    • Avoid Sensitive Times and Habitats
    • Observe From a Distance
    • Store Food and Trash Securely
    • Control Your Pet
    • Teach Your Children
    • Special Considerations for Marine Mammals and Birds
      • Cruise slowly near marine mammals so as not to alarm them
      • Do not go near bird nesting areas
    • Respect Other Visitors and Protect the Quality of their Experience
    • Choose to Maintain a Cooperative Spirit in Wildlands
    • Yield to Others
    • Allow Nature's Sights and Sounds to Prevail


Kayaking Safety Guidelines

Safety is a top priority at Kit's Kayak Crusades. We adhere to and preach the Frontenac Outfitters Paddlesports Centre's "7-Step SEA KAYAK SAFETY GUIDE." This list has been painstakingly compiled to help YOU safely enjoy sea kayaking to its fullest:


  1. Mandatory Gear
  2. Day Outings
  3. Coastal or Big Water Excursions
  4. Overnight Excursions (and longer)
  5. Excursion Planning
  6. Environment
  7. Ethical Conduct

  • MANDATORY GEAR - required by Canadian Law:
    • Aproved Personal Floatation Device(PFD). Best in bright colors such as red, yellow or orange. ALWAYS WEAR YOUR PFD WHILE KAYAKING. Canadian PFDs must have Underwriter's Laboratories of Canada(ULC) Maple Leaf Label on the inside of the jacket
    • Whistle attached to PFD
    • Kayak Paddle.... seemingly an obvious one
    • Bilge Pump with Float
    • Throw Bag with 15 meters of Float Line
    • Flashlight, make sure it's waterproof with working batteries
  • DAY OUTINGS - lakes or rivers"
    • Paddling Gear:
      • Sea kayak
      • Spare take-apart Kayak Paddle (always store within reach of cabin)
      • Kayak Leash (attach to paddle and kayak deck)
      • Paddle Float (store within reach of cabin)
      • Tow Line (store within reach and ensure that it's functional)
      • Spray Skirt
      • Topographic Map of your Route (within reach and with waterproofing)
      • Large Sponge
      • Knife (attach to PFD)
      • KNOW HOW TO USE YOUR GEAR.... ask your guide for training!
    • Traveling Snacks and Personal Accessories:
      • Energy Food Rations (e.g. energy bars, gorp, dehydrated fruit, salted nuts, chocolate)
      • Drinking Water
      • Water Bottle - 24 oz.
      • Sunglasses with Floating Strap
      • Sunscreen
      • Insect Repellant
      • First-Aid Kit
      • Dry Bag
    • Clothing
      • Sun hat/rain hat
      • Water shoes or sandals with straps(flip-flops are bad)
      • Wool Socks
      • Polyester T-Shirt
      • Shorts or Pants
      • Cycling Gloves
      • Water-proof/wind-proof jacket and pants
      • Change of clothing in watertight bag
    • For cold conditions, add:
      • Dry or Wet Suit
      • Neoprene boots, gloves or poggies
      • Balaclava or Polar Fleece Cap
      • Fleece or Woolen Skirt
  • COASTAL or BIG WATER EXCURSIONS-all of the above plus:
    • A kayak of at least 15 feet in length, no recreational models
    • Compass
    • Global Positioning Receiver (GPS)
    • Cell Phone (Urban Areas)
    • Talk-a-bout Communicators
    • VHF or weather radio
    • Up-to-date Forecast for Marine Weather
    • Marine Chart (Waterproof)
    • Chart Ruler
    • Tidal Table(Waterproof)
    • Distress Flares
    • Air Horn(with a new gas cartridge)
    • White Strobe Light
    • Radar Reflectors
    • Signal Mirror
    • Binoculars
    • Multi-tool
    • Duct Tape
    • Mylar Survivor Blanket
  • OVERNIGHT EXCURSIONS & LONGER- all of the above plus:
    • Tent
    • Ground sheet
    • Shelter tarp
    • Sleeping bag
    • Therm-a-rest pad
    • Day backpack
    • Camp Stove & Appropriate Fuel
    • Matches(waterproof)
    • Pots, pans, dish cloth, dish towel & pot scrubber
    • Plates, cups & utensils
    • Kitchen Kit (salt, pepper, tongs, biodegradable soap, matches, can opener, etc.)
    • Food, appropriate quantities
    • Garbage bags
    • Small shovel
    • Toiletries & Personal Items
      • Wallet with Identification & Keys
      • Watch w/ alarm clock
      • Tooth brush & tooth paste, dental floss
      • Soap, Shampoo
      • Hairbrush
      • Advil & Tylenol
      • Lip Balm
      • Toilet paper
      • Towel
    • Additional Clothing
      • Pants
      • T-Shirts
      • Fleece or other synthetic shirt
      • Sweater
      • Waterproof pants
      • Walking shoes
      • Thermal socks
      • Synthetic Underwear
    • Food & Personal Accessories
      • Food, quick prep types, include extra rations
      • Extra drinking water OR water purification system
      • Personal medication
      • Extra sunglasses or contacts
      • Kayak repair kit
      • Sewing kit
      • Line (20 metres x 3 mm)
      • Extra flashlight batteries
      • Candle(s)
      • Waterproof dry bags for all gear
    • Entertainment
      • Swimming gear
      • Facemask & Snorkel
      • Camera, film
      • Reading &/or writing materials
      • Cards
      • Fishing rod, tackle & license
    • Safety begins with you. Always choose a destination suitable for the ability levels of the entire group. Make sure the least experienced and slowest paddlers can cover the distance you plan to paddle. Make sure nobody paddles alone. Always watch for changing conditions as winds and currents can greatly affect any trip. On any excursion, you will benefit from preplanning. Ask these questions to insure you are prepared:
      • Do we have a designated leader? Do we have assistant leaders? Do we know where our first aid kit and other supplies are located?
      • What is the weather forecast?
      • Is the weather likely to change?
      • What winds or currents need to be taken into account?
      • What is our potential exposure to the elements?
      • What vessel traffic should we be aware of?
      • Is our planned trip reasonable given the skills of our group and potential conditions?
      • Do we have the essential equipment & accessories?
      • Have we brought along enough water & energy rich food?
      • Do we have method(s) to communicate?
      • Do we have a first aid kit in case of medical emergency?
      • Have we packed warmer clothes in the event the weather changes?
      • Have we filed a float plan? (see below)
    • FLOAT PLANS: Float plans only take a few minutes to file and are an essential safety measure. You will need to provide the number of people in your group, departure & planned destination, estimated arrival time, kayak route and contingency plan. Give the plan to friends, the harbour master or a general store clerk in the town you are launching. Leave a labeled envelope on the dashboard to your automobile.
    • WARNING: Failure to follow recommended safety procedures can result in serious injury. Use of drugs and/or alcohol will effect your coordination, judgement and impair your ability to kayak safely.
    • Sea kayaks are efficient, unobtrusive exploration vessels that enable riders to get in close contact with nature that is normally impossible. However, there are ways that kayakers can have a severe negative impact on environment and wildlife. Find out the specific regulations and code of ethics for the places you travel before paddling out. Also, take note of the points below:
      • Animals get disturbed if you get too close
      • If repeated disturbances upset animals they will leave their habitats & young
      • Never chase them, keep your distance
      • Avoid abrupt sounds, movements and changes in direction
      • Avoid fragile ecosystems and nesting areas
      • Camp above the high tide line
      • Use a camp stove rather than the fire
      • Pack out what you pack in
      • Bury latrine pits
    • The Basic Kayakers Code of Ethics
      • Respect fellow sea kayakers and boat traffic
      • Offer help to those in trouble
      • Respect private property
      • Move away if you see signs of nervousness or panic in wild animals
      • Ensure everyone knows this "Code of Ethics"


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