Forms for Our Guests
Important! Each person must fill out a Liability
To save time, download the PDF here and bring it with you on the day of the
Frequently Asked Questions
What do you mean: "no experience needed"?
Kayak touring is a sport that almost everyone can
enjoy. This is not whitewater kayaking with tumbling water and
treacherous rapids. Kayak touring ranges from lazy paddling in calm
water (our shorter wetlands explorations) to steady paddling with
resistance from wind and/or current (our longer river crossings and
Each has a foot-controlled rudder operated by the person sitting in
the back. Before we launch, your guide will give you a basic boat
talk, paddle talk, safety talk and an orientation to the river.
Our "Explore the Martinez Wetlands" and
"Explore the Benicia Coast" are good first
trips for beginners - the distances are short, conditions are usually good
(see below). The Martinez marina offers a protected environment for practicing
your strokes and steering. Our extended shoreline paddles are good
intermediate adventures - longer distances and more varied conditions. If you are "an outdoor person," our river crossings should be quite doable even
without previous paddling experience.
Before signing up for any of our trips, we
encourage you to honestly evaluate your strength and ability. If you're not sure about a trip, please call and
talk with us - we'd be happy to talk with you further about what to
expect Please let us know in advance if you have physical
conditions that might limit your paddling - we'll try to accommodate
your needs and pair you with a strong paddling partner.
More about kayaking for beginners ... click
What should I wear and what should I bring?
Dress comfortably and for that day's weather
forecast. As with most California adventures, dress in layers. It's
always best to avoid wearing cotton T-shirts because cotton dries slowly
and does not insulate well when wet. Kayaking is a water sport ... so be
prepared! but it is not necessary to wear a bathing suit or wet
Please pack light ... there's very
limited storage space in a kayak and you won't be needing as much as you
Here's our suggested list of things to wear and
Hat or cap for sun protection
Hiking sandals, water shoes or really funky
Fleece or light jacket if conditions suggest
wind or clouds
Camera (bring a zip lock bag or other
Munchies or lunch
(depending on the length of the trip - see specific trip details)
Light-weight water-resistant spray jackets
Dry bags for packing extra clothes, etc.
Pocket binoculars (4x - one per boat)
Hats, warm clothes and water bottles as
What are the paddling conditions along the shoreline and on the
Generally the water is quite friendly. Winds do pick
up occasionally creating swells of one to two feet - not difficult to
handle, but thrilling for novices. The wakes of larger boats and tugs
are sometimes higher than natural swells and waves, but are also rare, brief
and manageable - usually less intense than ferry wakes on the Bay.
The water temperature in the fall and winter is
definitely chilly but somewhat warmer than Bay or ocean water. From late
spring through Indian summer (mid-Oct.), the water is usually warm
enough for swimming (!) - wet suits are not needed. We currently
do not offer trips when conditions warrant wet suits.
For River Crossings and Day Adventures on the
The river is approximately one to one and a half
miles wide (depending on our route) - crossings take about 20 to 30 minutes. Currents are generally
modest - typically between 1.3 and 2.5 knots. Several days per month,
the current during one of the daily ebb tides will reach 3.0 to 3.4,
with rare seasonal peak ebbs at 4.5 to 5.9 knots - we generally avoid
paddling during periods of high currents.
Current strength varies quite
a bit by location. Experience has shown
that even during the strongest ebb currents, there is slack or a slight
upstream back current near the very edge of the river. This can be quite
welcome on a return paddle during an ebb. Our trips are planned
around the tides and currents.
Traffic along the river includes
small pleasure craft, sailboats and occasional tugs and tankers. Tankers can be
seen quite some distance away, allowing pods of kayaks to either
complete a river traverse or hold off until the "coast is
Am I going to tip over? Will I get wet?
Two-person touring kayaks
are quite stable. The most frequent causes of capsize are: 1) collisions with fellow
paddlers (pilot error!), 2) horseplay (discouraged), and 3)
getting caught off-guard broadside by a large wave. Our river talk
covers paddling and navigation strategies as well as tips on avoiding
capsizes and how to respond if you do go over. Our guides are trained
and equipped to get you back in your boat. Capsizes are rare, but if you do go over,
remember: the first thing to do is smile!