Thursday, April 30, 2015

Great Lakes Sea Kayak Symposium

Don't miss the oldest kayaking symposium on the Great Lakes! The Greak Lakes Sea Kayak Symposium will be held July 16-19, 2015. 

Grand Marais Michigan has a protected harbor that is ideal for class sessions and skills practice while offering a perfect starting point for unforgettable trips along the scenic Pictured Rocks.

Visit for more information.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Raw Video Footage From TowBoatUS Rescue of Texas Kayakers Has Lessons For All Boaters

The first kayaker Capt. Michael Windham came upon last week on the open waters of Galveston Bay.
Capsizing on open water can mean life or death to a boater suddenly finding themselves bobbing in the sea. As a wall of thunderstorms approached Galveston Bay late one day last week, two kayakers suddenly found themselves in the water, unable to re-board their swamped craft – and made two near fatal mistakes, captured on video

The incident is a reminder to all boaters that if they ever find themselves aboard a vessel that’s sinking or capsizing, always stay with the stricken craft. It may also help boaters, who are now preparing for the new boating season, understand why life jackets are so important.

While TowBoatUS is not an emergency rescue service, Captain Michael Windham of TowBoatUS Clear Lake TX, overheard on his VHF radio USCG Sector Houston hailing “pan-pan” asking mariners to provide urgent aid to two persons reported in the open bay about 1,000 yards offshore a few miles south of the Kemah Channel. Leaving Clear Lake and with USCG permission, Capt. Windham raced through the empty channel’s no wake zone and was on scene in less than five minutes, initially finding one kayaker hanging on to two semi-sunk kayaks, but in good shape. Windham asked the kayaker for the location of her friend, and headed in the direction the woman pointed, proceeding cautiously.

While conditions were calm, skies were threatening with lightning coming from a not-so-distant wall of dark, ominous clouds. Knowing how difficult it is to see a single person in the water and concerned that he may run over the swimmer, Capt. Windham proceeded slowly until he saw the woman’s head barely above the water. She made a feeble attempt to raise one arm – it was clear she was exhausted. Capt. Windham safely brought her aboard and within minutes both kayakers were safely ashore – including the kayaks.

Visit for more information on how to stay safe on the water, and download the Paddle Ready app (free for iPhone and Android users) for easy access to safety information and ACA certified instructors near you. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Save the Date

Don't miss the 2nd annual Swiftwater Rescue Conference!

Date: October 9-11, 2015

Location: Western North Carolina
Venue: Tuckaseegee River
Registration: Available online - June 2015

The 2015 ACA Swiftwater Rescue Conference will focus on a series of on-water safety and rescue educational sessions taught by the best of the best in swiftwater rescue instruction. In addition, there will be a range of social functions, including BBQ and mountain music on Saturday night. For those simply looking for an Instructor Update, you can accomplish that too, but there will be so much more available in the realm of on-water rescue!

Visit for more information. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

We're in this Together!

Did you know? An estimated 6.14 million tons of debris enter marine environments each year, and 80% of this debris is land-based trash that enters oceans via freshwater rivers and streams. As paddlers, we are in a unique position to make a difference! Are you doing your part? 

Join the ACA Stream to Sea Initiative today and help stop marine debris at its source. Whenever you grab your paddle, make sure you grab a Paddle Green Bag, too. 

Click here to learn more about the ACA Stream to Sea Initiative, and become part of the solution. 

Paddle sustainably, paddle often!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Stewardship Saturdays!

We're starting a new weekend social media tradition here on the ACA Water Blog - Stewardship Saturdays! And to start things off, we'll be highlighting each of our 2015 Club Fostered Stewardship (CFS) Grant recipients. 

For the past 13 years, the ACA has partnered with L.L. Bean to provide the CFS Grant to grassroots stewardship initiatives across the country. From cleaning up waterways, to improving local access for paddlers, to conducting environmental education programs, these organizations deserve some serious recognition for their excellent stewardship work.

Today, we'd like to congratulate Anchorage Waterways Council, hailing from "the Last Frontier" of Alaska.

Established in 1984, the Anchorage Waterways Council promotes the protection, restoration, and enhancement of waterways, wetlands, and associated uplands within the Municipality of Anchorage, AK. 

This year, the Anchorage Waterways Council will be using CFS Grant funds to support their 31st Annual Creek Cleanup, a yearly event that mobilizes hundreds of volunteers to remove trash from local creeks.

Inspired to start your own local stewardship project? Apply for the CFS grant next year! Get more information here.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Gear Up For National Safe Boating Week

This stand-up paddler wears an inflatable beltpack PFD.
Who says safety can't be comfortable? 

National Safe Boating Week is right around the corner, May 16-22, 2015! The ACA is encouraging all paddlers to participate and help spread the message of safe and responsible boating.

Ready to kick-off #SafeBoatWeek? Join in on these two events and let's get this party started:

May 15 - Wear Your Life Jacket to Work Day 

May 16 - "Ready, Set, Wear It" Life Jacket World Record Day

National Safe Boating Week is the launch of the 2015 North American Safe Boating Campaign. This yearlong campaign promotes safe and responsible boating and the value of voluntary, consistent life jacket wear by recreational boaters through the national theme, Wear It! 

The ACA participates in the Wear It! Campaign year after year, and we encourage you to join us in 2015 by sharing your #WearIt photos and spreading the message of #SafeBoatWeek across social media. 

U.S. Coast Guard statistics show that drowning was the reported cause of death in three-fourths of recreational boating fatalities in 2013, and that 84 percent of those who drowned were not wearing life jackets. 

New life jackets are much more comfortable, lightweight and stylish than the bulky orange style most boaters know. There are innovative options, such as inflatable life jackets, allowing mobility and flexibility for activities like boating, fishing, paddling or hunting, and are much cooler in the warmer weather. 

Throughout the campaign, Wear It! will remind boaters of the importance of boating safely, including consistent life jacket wear, boating sober, knowing navigational rules and having a proper lookout. 

Stay tuned for more details and follow #SafeBoatWeek to join the conversation about safety + fun on the water. 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

New Membership Coordinator - Katie Hansen

Please join us in welcoming Katie Hansen to the ACA team!

After graduating with a B.S. in Communications, Katie worked at the Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce as Executive Assistant. She is a lifelong equine enthusiast who enjoys teaching riding lessons in her spare time. Katie is also an avid competitor with her longtime partner, Macha. She enjoys the outdoors, playing soccer at the local field house, reading, and live music. 

Katie is passionate about the community around her and volunteers at many equine events as well as serving on the Board of Directors for Open Hand of Fredericksburg. She is enthusiastic and eager to work with the ACA membership!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Dream Paddling Destination: Venice, Italy

Guest blog post by NataĊĦa Vugrinec, ACA Level 3 Sea Kayaking Instructor and ACA Representative for Slovenia. You can reach her at

Venice is one of the most coveted paddling destinations in all of Europe, offering a unique and fresh perspective on the world-renowed city. And every May, there is a big international boat race in the heart of Venice called Vogalonga that has been going on since the 1970s.

In general, the "City of Water" is not a destination for beginners! You should be aware that it is the busiest and most hectic nautical point of the Adriatic sea with countless vessels, from small boats and famous gondolas, to water busses (“vaporettos”) and ferries. An especially demanding area is the main San Marco channel. A paddler in Venice has to be confident in rough sea conditions and be familiar with the nautical traffic rules.

However, Venice’s inner channels are easy and calm for paddling, as you can see from countless tourist images. A good orientation is essential though, as you can easily get lost in a labyrinth of channels – a map and a GPS are obligatory!


Venice (ital.: Venezia) is located in Italy in the most northern point of the Adriatic sea, which is already a first class paddling destination with some nice lagoons and the Croatian coast with thousands of islands further to the south.

Venice is easy accessible by plane (there are even two airports - Venice and Treviso), train, ship, or car.

If you come from overseas, you should probably contact one of the local agencies providing both the equipment and guides such as Venice Kayak agency, but there are many other providers in the region.

If you have limited time, you can do a one-day paddling adventure. But multi-day paddling is strongly recommended, and allows you more opportunities to visit other less crowded points of the Venice Lagoon.

Standard entry points are San Giuliano, Fusina and Punta Sabbioni, which provide parking, campsites, beaches, restaurants and other accommodations. All of them are around 3 nautical miles (NM) away from the old city, which is a perfect distance for warming up.

Due to the fact the Venice is one of the most renowned tourist destinations, there are thousands of accommodation options.


A typical tour to the old city and visiting at least some of the famous points (Canal Grande, Rialto bridge, channels around San Marco square, etc.) would take at least 12 to 15 NM, but if you want to visit other islands of the city (Murano, Lido), you should probably split your trip to 2 or even more days.

The lagoon is extremely shallow – sometimes even too shalow for a kayak – so you should follow official waterways, marked by triple pilots.

Due to shallow water there are strong tidal currents that can make our paddling harder or easier. It’s a wise idea to check a tide forecast in advance and plan your trip accordingly.


There was an on-going campaign to ban paddling in Venice completely. Fortunately, due to public pressure from fellow kayakers, the city government recently found a compromise and issued more tolerant rules valid since April 20th, 2015.

Basically, they limit paddling during the workdays and on Saturday morning. However, all paddlers need to be aware of and obey standard nautical traffic rules, especially in San Marco channel and Canal Grande.

Paddling in Venice can be an extremely rewarding experience, allowing us to see and experience the city from a completely different perspective, away from the beaten tracks! 

For more information, please visit:

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Check out Some of These Stars of the Stewardship World

Since 2002, the ACA has partnered with L.L. Bean to sponsor the Club Fostered Stewardship (CFS) Program. The CFS Program provides funding to clubs and organizations that undertake stewardship projects on waterways in their area. 

With the help of L.L. Bean, we have been able to provide nearly $130,000 to over 135 different stewardship initiatives since the program's inception.

This year's CFS Grant recipients are...

Anchorage Waterways Council
Boardman River Clean Sweep
Cahaba Riverkeeper
Greyhound Central Performance Academy

Colorado River Alliance
Friends of the Rappahannock
Friends of the Waterbury Reservoir
Illinois Paddling Council
Northern Forest Canoe Trail
Paddle Without Pollution
Plastic Tides
River Restoration Adventures for Tomorrow
South Dakota Canoe & Kayak Association
Spokane River Forum
Tennessee Scenic Rivers Association

To learn more about these organizations, and the stewardship projects they are championing across the country, please stay tuned to our blog, Facebook, and Twitter, where we will be highlighting each of the CFS grant recipients in the coming weeks!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Perception of Place: Developing an Outdoor Center

Guest blog post by Caroline Harris, City of Orange Beach Wind & Water Learning Center Manager and Instructor. Caroline has been with the Center ever since they opened their doors in May of 2013. She holds her ACA Level 1 Kayaking instructor certification, and is currently pursing her Level 2. She also has her US Sailing Small Boat Instructor certification. Caroline graduated from Tulane University with a bachelors in Political Science, and loves all things outdoors!

Monday mornings, 8:30 am sharp, I look through my office window and see kids donning colorful lifejackets and sand covered water shoes running down the gravel driveway with the smell of sunscreen lingering in the air. It is 98 degrees outside and summer is here. Excitement and expectation intermingles with hesitancy and fears of the unknown in the kids’ minds. They are already exploring the grounds and proudly pointing out the sailing or paddling vessels that they will be captain of for the week. I think of how proud I am to offer on-water programs that allow for personal growth, confidence building, and awareness of our unique coastal environment to both residents and visitors. 

One of our major undertakings of 2014 was establishing a paddling program that incorporates kayaking and kayak fishing classes affiliated with the American Canoe Association (ACA). For the paddling program’s inaugural year, the response was positive. To date in 2015, we have held a multitude of “Quickstart Your Kayak” classes, Coastal Navigation classes, Level I and Level 2 instructor certification classes, and Boy Scout kayaking merit badge clinics. Additional offerings include our popular youth Summer Sail Camp in which over 250 kids enrolled last summer; students learn water safety, knot tying, proper sail trim, tacking & jibing, and more.

We are committed to preserving and continuing to develop a sense of place at the Wind and Water Learning Center located in Orange Beach, Alabama. How does the concept of a “sense of place” resonate with you? For some, a sense of place is associated with concrete, geographical features and settings. Others attribute to the place a perception that fosters a positive sense of belonging or recognition. The Wind and Water Learning Center sustains and maintains both a special physical location and a place that creates lifelong memories. The Center is situated on a beautiful back bay setting with towering pines planted behind a white sand shoreline, yet it is embedded with stories and experiences from generations of students, young and old. Students are introduced to coastal birds and mammals such as the great blue heron, brown pelican, osprey, and bottlenose dolphin while engaging in our sailing and paddling classes. These encounters with our coastal wildlife are an integral part of what we offer.

The Wind and Water Learning Center’s greatest accomplishment has been sharing this sense of place. For me, it's about watching kids grow and younger siblings aging into our programs the following year; attracting visitors into our City and showcasing our properties; and accommodating an entire family and having something everyone can do. Most of all, it's about building a community. I am preserving a place that fosters an appreciation of coastal stewardship, memories, and traditions for generations to come.

For more information, please visit

Friday, April 17, 2015

East Coast Paddlesports and Outdoor Festival Kicks Off Today!

The ACA is proud to sponsor the 2015 East Coast Paddlesport and Outdoor Festival. Whether you’re a devoted outdoor sporting enthusiast or just beginning to explore nature’s playground, you’ll find your perfect fit for fun and fitness at this amazing three-day festival. Canoeing, kayaking, paddleboarding, rock climbing, slacklining, mountain biking, archery—even disc golf—there’s something for everyone!

An all-star line up of ACA educators will present everything from introduction classes to masters classes. Multiple ACA Instructor Certification Workshops will be offered pre and post festival.

ACA is proud to coordinate the Tag Team Paddle Adventure. This fun event pairs a youth participant with a professional paddling instructor for a fun, water-based race against other dynamic duos. Kids get to enjoy the excitement of competition and combine it with quality time with a paddling professional. Learn how to properly size water-craft, paddles and safety gear before getting on the water and racing for the finish with your professional paddling partner!

The ACA will also have an Exhibition Booth, so be sure to stop by between classes, say hello, catch up with the latest ACA policy & curriculum developments, or simply renew your membership.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Let's Show the Rappahannock Some Love!

Join us on June 6th for Rock the River FXBG

This is the first event of its kind for Fredericksburg, Virginia. The event combines activities from various communities who benefit from, are inspired by, and enjoy their time on the Rappahannock River. There is adventure with a multi-sport river and foot race, outdoor activities for grown-ups, kids, and their furry friends, a display of unique art and crafts, as well as the enjoyment of great craft beer, tasty food, and live music throughout the day. These communities have one thing in common — the desire to show our beautiful Rappahannock River the love it deserves!

FREE admission for all kids, dogs, and river lovers!

Get more info at 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Kayaking Tragedy in Dungeness Bay, Washington

Two kayakers died and another was critically injured while paddling back from a day outing in Dungeness Bay in northwest Washington state on Saturday.

When only four of the group of seven paddlers made it back to shore, they notified the police about their missing friends. The Coast Guard deployed a helicopter and boatcrew to the scene, and shortly after they found the three kayakers floating in the 49-degree water. 

The victims were wearing life jackets, but they lacked any other cold water gear (layers, drysuit, etc.) They were ill-equipped when they suddenly encountered 35 mph winds and 3-foot high seas. 

Our hearts go out to those affected by this tragedy. At the ACA, everything we do is driven by a desire to keep paddlers safe on the water. Please educate yourself and your family on the dangers of cold water, and consider taking a course from an ACA certified instructor before you embark on your paddling plans this season. Please remember that even though the weather is warm, the water can still be cold enough to kill. Always dress for immersion.

Visit for more information on paddlesports safety, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Don't Miss the 2015 ACA Open Canoe Slalom Nationals & North American Championships!

This year the ACA North American Open Canoe Slalom Championships (NORAM) will be held at the Madawaska Canoe Centre in Barry’s Bay Ontario Canada. 

Race dates are July 22 – 24, 2015. 

Stay tuned to this Facebook page for updates, and visit for more details!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Want to Work in the Outdoor Recreation Industry?

The ACA Career Center Website is now better than ever! Use it as a one-stop-shop to find awesome jobs all over the country at places like REI, the U.S. National Whitewater Center, and more. 

Visit to find your dream job in the outdoor recreation industry today. You can even sign up for email notifications so you know when new jobs get posted to the site! 

Friday, April 10, 2015

Announcing the 2015 Club Fostered Stewardship Grant Winners!

Since 2002, the ACA has partnered with L.L. Bean to sponsor the Club Fostered Stewardship (CFS) Program. The CFS Program provides funding to clubs and organizations that undertake stewardship projects on waterways in their area. 

With the help of L.L. Bean, we have been able to provide nearly $130,000 to over 135 different stewardship initiatives since the program's inception.

And now, to announce this year's CFS grant recipients! They are...

Anchorage Waterways Council
Boardman River Clean Sweep
Cahaba Riverkeeper
Greyhound Central Performance Academy
Colorado River Alliance
Friends of the Rappahannock
Friends of the Waterbury Reservoir
Illinois Paddling Council
Northern Forest Canoe Trail
Paddle Without Pollution
Plastic Tides
River Restoration Adventures for Tomorrow
South Dakota Canoe & Kayak Association
Spokane River Forum
Tennessee Scenic Rivers Association

To learn more about these organizations, and the stewardship projects they are championing across the country, click here. Congratulations to all!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The East Coast Paddlesports & Outdoor Festival is Right Around the Corner

The ACA is proud to be sponsoring the East Coast Paddlesports & Outdoor Festival (ECPOF) again this year, April 17-19 in Charleston, SC. Come enjoy this amazing opportunity to meet and learn from experts in their respective field of paddling, as well as other knowledgeable paddlesport enthusiasts.

Here are some of the ACA Instructors who will be presenting at the conference this year:

Ben Lawry 
-Biomechanics of Paddling
-Essential Fuel for Paddlers
-Dryland Rolling
-Intermediate Sea Kayak Surfing

Chris Stec
-How to select a SUP
-ACA Instruction Q&A
-SUP Trip and Group Management
-Solo Canoeing (aka Obedience Training for Your Canoe)

Matt Hite
-SUP Surf Session

Todd Johnstone-Wright
-Risk Management for all Paddlers
-What Makes an Effective Instructor
-Rescues & Recoveries Outside the Box

And more! Click here for a full schedule of the ECPOF programs and activities. We hope to see you there!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Public Review Period for Revised National Boating Education Standard

As part of the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators' (NASBLA's) recently acquired status as an ANSI Accredited Standards Developer, the Education Standards Panel has opened a public review period for NASBLA 101-201X: Basic Boating Knowledge — Human-Propelled, Paddlesports, Etc. through May 7, 2015.

Comments may be submitted via the EZ-ESP website on the final draft standard at this time.

Instructions for submitting comments (including how to obtain login credentials for the EZ-ESP website) are available for download at Please contact for additional information.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Don't Miss CKS PaddleFest 2015!

Do you have plans for Memorial Day weekend? Kick off the summer paddling season by attending CKS PaddleFest from May 22-25 in beautiful Buena Vista, Colorado!

CKS Paddlefest draws thousands of newbies and enthusiasts from around the region to learn, share, watch and celebrate what paddling has to offer. The multiple location venues include a flatwater demo center, on-water education, river competitions, multi-sport races, free demos, and several other non-paddling and family oriented events centered on “all ages” participation. There will also be live music, arts, culture, food, beer, libations, running and biking races, and much more.

Visit or follow them on Facebook for more information. Hope to see you there!

Monday, April 6, 2015

We're Expanding!

The ACA is expanding our Insurance and Membership Departments to continue to provide high quality customer service to our members and the paddling community.

Deadline for your cover letter and resume is Friday, April 17th.

To apply, please visit:

Friday, April 3, 2015

Our Land, Up for Grabs

Federal land grabs have been happening at an alarming rate in Congress lately. In his New York Times op-ed, Will Rogers of The Trust for Public Land, makes the case for why we all need to be contacting our elected officials and voicing our concerns over protecting public lands (and waters).

"Land protection has long been an issue for which voters of both parties have found common cause. Since 1988, some $71.7 billion has been authorized to conserve land in more than 1,800 state and local elections in 43 states. Last year, $13.2 billion was approved by voters in 35 initiatives around the country — the most in a single year in the 27 years my organization has tracked these initiatives and, in some cases, led them.

But this consensus is being ignored, and not just in the nation’s capital."

Click here to read the full op-ed by Will Rogers. We couldn't have said it better ourselves.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Find Your Dream Job in Paddlesports

Have you ever wished you could find paddlesports-related job listings all in one place? The new and improved ACA Career Center website makes that possible!

Visit to discover this great resource for job seekers and employers alike.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

We Want to Hear From You

Have something to share? Whether it was the paddling trip of a lifetime, a stewardship event you helped out with, or just something you learned while out on the water, we want to hear about it!

Send your story to Catharine at, and your words could show up right here on the ACA's Water Blog, our Facebook and twitter pages, or our new Paddle emagazine!