Sunday, October 30, 2016

National Boating Safety Advisory Council

At the 96th meeting of the National Boating Safety Advisory Council (NBSAC) in Washington DC, Rear Admiral Paul Thomas of the U.S. Coast Guard presented ACA Chief Operating Officer Chris Stec with the USCG’s Meritorious Public Service Award.
Representing paddlesports on the Federal Advisory Council for 6 years, he served as the Chairman of the Prevention through People Subcommittee for the past 4 years.
The National Boating Safety Advisory Council provides advice and recommendations to the Secretary of Homeland Security through the Commandant of the United States Coast Guard on matters relating to recreational boating safety. The National Boating Safety Advisory Council is responsible for specific assignments and may conduct studies, inquiries, workshops and fact finding in consultation with individuals and groups in the private sector and/or with state and local government jurisdictions.
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Thursday, October 27, 2016

ACA's Second Presidential Award

ACA is proud to present a Presidential Award to the College of Life Foundation! This award is given by the President of the ACA Board of Directors to individuals for outstanding service to the ACA on a national level. 

As an ACA Paddle America Club, the College of Life Foundation has developed programs in the following categories: Competition, Stewardship, Education and Instruction, and Community Outreach.

They launched Calusa Palooza as an ACA sanctioned race which will become an annual event. The race included canoe, kayak, and SUP categories with a free 1 mile Kid race.

College of Life Foundation planned and facilitated a restoration project along the Estero River. The 7 mile river was littered with debris, crippled by non-native, invasive species, blocked by downed trees, and an eyesore for families as a railroad bridge was covered in graffiti.  The Foundation partnered with Lee County Natural Resources on removal and treatment of the invasive species and removal of the downed trees. Within two weeks, native vegetation began to grow!  The Foundation partnered with local businesses and volunteers to paint the graffiti covered Seminole Railroad Bridge; a climbing club from FGCU rappelled over the bridge to reach the suspended parts over the river. ACA/LL Bean provided a grant for this project and liability coverage. Then, the Foundation organized a trash / litter pick up of the 7 miles of Estero River that empties into the Estero Bay Aquatic Preserve. 

Partnership was key in completing this project. The Seminole Railroad only granted permission after the Foundation had requested permission to paint the bridge - after three years of emailing and letter writing. Partners in the community rallied around this event and were so grateful for a clean river to enjoy paddlesports with their families.

Thank you for all of your work that has improved the paddling community! 

If you would like more information about the ACA's National Awards, please follow

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

What Makes You Boat?

Paddling is very important to many people around the world. It brings people together through mutual experiences and a shared love. It important to recognize why we boat and face the challenges that boating brings us. Here is an excerpt from a blog by Sarah Ruhlen that addresses this subject.

"It's why I'm here. I will not be complacent. I can't be indifferent to this thing, these rivers and mountains, these people, have composed me. I am their symphony, whether they are aware of writing me or not. Their presence frees me of regret, frees me to love myself with no particular struggle. How could I not, when I find so much of them in my reflection?"

To read her full blog post, please follow this link: "What am I doing here?" 

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Thursday, October 20, 2016

President's Award #1

We are pleased to announce that one of our Presidential Awards goes to the Los Angeles Kayak Club! This award is given to individuals for outstanding service to the ACA on a national level. 

Paul and Katherine Macey founded the Los Angeles Kayak Club (LAKC) over a decade ago and have consistently supported and led the organization to promote paddling in Southern California.  The LAKC has successfully maintained ACA Paddle America Club (PAC) status for many years and runs its annual ‘beginner trips’ on the Kern River through the ACA. 

Katherine and Paul are exemplary paddlers and stewards of the community.  They generously promote and lead kayaking activities, and both emphasize how community is a key to kayaking.  The Macey’s rally support for the annual Kern River Festival, have competed in Kayak Polo competitions around the world, and have truly build generations of kayakers, including Alex Morris and Bryant Burkhardt, two individuals serving on the California ACA State Director council.

This year, recognizing their contributions to the Los Angeles area, the Macey’s received a community award from the Los Angeles Mayor’s office! 

Katherine and Paul typify the generosity and philanthropic personality that sustains the kayaking community.  Katherine and Paul Macey are receiving the award for their generosity and leadership in supporting and building paddling communities. They use the ACA’s PAC structure for many activities and promote ACA membership, safe paddling, proper instruction, and good stewardship and community.

Thank you so much for all that you two do for the paddling community! 

If you would like more information about ACA Awards, please follow

Thursday, October 13, 2016

J. Henry Rushton Award

ACA is proud to announce that the J. Henry Rushton Award goes to California Aquatics! This award is presented to an organization for outstanding achievements in advancing paddlesports and the mission of ACA. 

California Aquatics exposes tens of thousands of new paddlers to kayaking and stand up paddleboarding every year while maintaining consistently high standards of safety and training by using innovative blended teaching techniques including video, simulators, excellent instructors and equipment.

California Aquatics is located on Alamitos Bay in Long Beach, California. The company trains and outfits hundreds of novice kayakers and stand up paddleboarders daily. Ken Williams, the owner, has developed a unique, innovative, high quality program of safety and training for new paddlers in a high volume environment. This blended program integrates on-site video, online education, instructor led on-the-water training as well as beach simulator training. 

In 1976 Williams started training high school students in scuba diving for the school districts in Los Angeles and Orange County, California where there had previously been fatal accidents. Williams developed a strong training program to ensure safety and consistent quality while handling a large volume of students. He has drawn on his experiences to apply these lessons to paddling and developed an efficient "certification course" that provides safety, fun, and 100% proof of non-omissions. Seven days a week hundreds of people of all ages and backgrounds, most of whom have never paddled before, gather through word of mouth to learn from California Aquatics. 

Ken Williams and the staff at California Aquatics have developed a terrific system. Over the course of a year they do an excellent job training tens of thousands of new paddlers annually to basic ACA standards. 

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