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Kayaking FAQ’s


What do I need for a multi-day sea kayaking trip?

View our top tips on packing a sea kayak for multi day trips.
See our checklist for multi-day and multi-week sea kayak trips.


Tell me about an introduction to sea kayaking?


What do I need for a days kayaking?

Q. To wear?
  • Two pairs of warm/thermal leggings
  • Waterproof trousers, a light weight set for walking will do
  • One or two thin thermal tops with heavier fleece layer - NOT cotton. We supply a waterproof top
  • Synthetic underwear / swim wear
  • Foot wear - old trainers with thick socks or wellies, or neoprene wetsuit boots
  • Warm hat

Q. To bring?
  • A full change of clothing
  • Layers are good
  • Hat and gloves can be handy
  • Synthetics and wool are warmer than cotton, particularly if damp
  • Remember that if you have fallen in you might be a little chilly so don’t stint on the spares! Your guide will give you a water proof ’dry’ bag for these

Do’s
  • Bring drinks for the day - a 500ml plastic bottle is ideal
  • Bring a pack lunch
  • Bring some high energy snacks
  • Bring high factor sun block

Don’ts!
  • Wear glasses or sunglasses without a head band
  • Put mobile phones or car keys in clothing pockets or buoyancy aid pockets, your guide will make a waterproof box available
  • No jeans or cotton hoodies. When wet they are cold and heavy
  • Bring cameras unless water proofed in some way

Q. What is supplied?
  • A sea kayak
  • Paddle
  • Buoyancy aid
  • Spray deck
  • Wind/waterproof kayaking top

Q. Who can go sea kayaking?
  • Anyone can.
  • You don’t have to have any ‘special’ physical or mental attributes. You kayak in conditions and at a level that works for you.

Q. How old do I have to be?
  • Roddy McDowell (Kayak Bute) does not work with unaccompanied children under 18 years of age. Accompanied children over 16 may participate in sea kayaking. Please discuss your requirements before booking.


Q. Do I have to be able to swim?
  • No. It is desirable from a water confidence point of view but the buoyancy aid will keep you afloat.


Q. How far do I have to paddle?
  • This depends on you and what you want from the day. You will always be asked.
  • On a first day ‘introduction to sea kayaking’ we will probably only travel a few kilometers. Five maybe eight with plenty of ‘leg stretch,’ snacks and lunch stops.
  • We also explore how to make the kayak do what we want it to do. With the minimum of effort. It’s a game of technique over strength.

Q. Will I fall in?
  • Probably not.

Q. What happens if I do capsize?
  • You will get wet. Your friends might laugh but the guide won’t. He will put you back in your boat.
  • Bring that change of warm clothing

Q. Going to the toilet
  • Yes, we all have to.
  • We make sure that toilet facilities are available near to our start point. During the day we will stop every hour or two and as necessary. There is plenty of opportunity for privacy and a pee. For more serious needs your guide will have provisions on board! Being discrete and leaving no traces is what we do.

Q. What about safety?
  • Your guide gives you a full safety briefing before you go on the water.
  • Your guide carries a range of safety equipment including: mobile phone and VHF. Your guide is very well practiced in a range of rescue and towing techniques to put you back in your boat or on dry land if required.

Q. What about the weather?
  • You cant change it!
  • Your guide has a local inshore water forecast for the day and will share and explain this with you.
  • Your day is planned around the forecast and we only do what we do if the wind and the sea state allow us to do it safely
  • You are part of the planning process. You need to be happy to paddle with our support in the conditions that planet earth shares with us on the day.

Q. How long is the day?
  • We meet you between nine and ten in the morning depending on your transport and domestic arrangements.
  • Our finishing time is between four and five o’clock. Again this will be negotiated to suit you.


Q. Will I see any wild life?
  • Almost certainly. Seals are common, otters less so but they are there. At the right time of year we see porpoise and sometimes dolphins and basking sharks.
  • Herons are common as are eider ducks, buzzards, oyster catchers, guillimots and gannets.
  • This year the island I live on, Bute, was visited for a few weeks by a pair of young sea eagles. Lets hope they return on a permanent basis.


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