Attend a navigation skills weekend workshop in Maine! Navigation Weekend focuses on the core skills necessary to navigate on coastal waters, especially when paddling in challenging conditions.
Sea Kayak Navigation Fundamentals, Part 1
- Paddler Ages 15+
Hone your navigation skills during this half-day sea kayaking lesson in Portland, Maine!
Spend a day on the water with our guides practicing some of the essential skills involved in sea kayak navigation. This course will prepare you to read a nautical chart, follow the rules of the road when crossing boat channels, and use a compass to plot a course. You’ll spend most of the day on the water getting firsthand experience applying these skills. The group will move at a modest pace and take many breaks, but all students should be prepared for a full day of paddling. Please pack a lunch.
We developed this course as an on-water counterpart to our Ocean Skills navigation workshop, but no prior navigation experience is required. Anyone with prior sea kayaking experience is welcome. The cost of using a kayak is included in the price, though you are also welcome to use your own. Students are asked to bring a handheld compass and a nautical chart of Casco Bay. These items are also available for purchase at Portland Paddle. (Sharing with one other person is okay).
Please consider following up this course with Sea Kayak Navigation Fundamentals, Part II.
- Reading a nautical chart
- Plotting a course
- Taking a bearing, both onshore and on-water
- Following a bearing
- Crossing boating channels and high-traffic areas
- Dead reckoning
This lesson will be taught by one or more of these instructors.
Janet bought her first sea kayak in 1993 after a few years of whitewater paddling and many years of hiking, backpacking, and long-distance bike touring, including a solo cross-country trip. The grand-daughter of a sea captain, she loves the wild beauty and challenge of the open ocean and is thrilled to be able to share her knowledge and enthusiasm for sea kayaking with paddlers of all ages and skill levels. She kayaked the entire Maine coast in 2020 and is a licensed Maine Guide and an ACA-certified Level 3 Instructor. In addition, Janet is president of the Southern Maine Sea Kayaking Network and serves as a Trustee for the Maine Island Trail Association.
Erin, Portland Paddle co-founder and guide, grew up exploring New Hampshire’s waterways by canoe and kayak. When she isn’t on Casco Bay guiding trips or at home taking care of her two young boys, she’s Development Manager at SailMaine, Portland’s community sailing center. Erin is a Wilderness First Responder, a Registered Maine Guide, and an ACA-certified instructor.
Suzanne fell hopelessly in love with kayaking in 1980. In 2017 she discovered stand up paddle boards and now has two favorite ways to play on the water. Suzanne has been guiding and teaching since 1996 and is a Master Maine Guide with ACA Coastal kayak Level 4 and SUP Level 2 Instructor certifications. “Helping someone master skills and gain a sense of comfort and connection with the ocean brings me tremendous joy!” she says. Suzanne has paddled the entire length of the coast of Maine three times. She says, “I really hope to paddle the whole coast again. It’s endlessly challenging and inspiring but this summer I’m going to change it up and hop in a canoe to paddle the Allagash Wilderness Waterway!”
Joe is a Master Maine Sea Kayak Guide, an open-water sea kayak instructor with the American Canoe Association, and a wilderness first responder. He is also a licensed clinical social worker, and a returned Peace Corps volunteer (Zambia 07-09). Joe has paddled expeditions as far away as Fiji and Zambia, has through-paddled the coast of Maine, and section-paddled from New Hampshire to Nova Scotia. Joe enjoys bringing people of all walks and strokes of life into the marine environment, and he often leads paddlers to his favorite place in the world; the Cushing Island Cliffs, a mere three miles from Portland, where guillemots nest above the wild open sea.
Zack, owner and co-founder of Portland Paddle, grew up in Old Town, Maine along the shores of the Penobscot River. He’s been paddling on whitewater and the ocean since he was 11. During his 17 years as a guide, Zack has led countless kayaking and canoeing trips throughout the coast of Maine, and in Mexico, British Columbia, Ontario and Alaska. He is a master Maine Guide, an ACA Level 4 kayaking instructor and a Wilderness First Responder. When Zack isn’t running Portland Paddle, he’s a journalist, writer and teacher.
Eric grew up right here in Portland and first got excited about sea kayaking after a week long trip with a high school program. He is passionate about environmental sustainability and social justice, and really just wants the world to be a happy place for everyone. When not paddling on the ocean or rivers, Eric most enjoys reading, writing, mountain biking, and snowboarding. He is an ACA lvl 3 sea kayak instructor. His craziest adventure yet was 104 days paddling the Mississippi River from source to sea.
Alex has been sea kayaking since 1998 and is a Registered Maine Guide. He loves paddling Greenland technique and you’ll see him using a “skinny stick” on the water. He has kayaked in Greece, Australia, and the length of the Maine coast yet his favorite spot is right by home … Five Islands Maine … In the winter he works as a Ski Patroller in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. He is a Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician (WEMT) and is certified in Advanced Wilderness Life Support. Sometimes rumored to quote Homer’s Odyssey while paddling … Alex is passionate about mountains, oceans, reading, and sharing the outdoors with friends both old and new…
Dan hails from North Carolina and got stoked on paddling after watching the 1996 Olympics (he had never seen whitewater kayaking before). His favorite places to paddle are Wilson Creek and Shackleford Banks in North Carolina. Currently Dan is an ACA Level 4 Open Water Sea Kayak Instructor, Level 2 SUP Instructor (former L4 Whitewater Kayak Instructor and L5 Swiftwater Rescue Instructor), and Maine Sea Kayak Guide. Dan sea kayaked the length of the east coast of the United States in 2009 with his wife and in 2018 was the first person to SUP the coast of Maine. He also really enjoys surfing and canoeing as much as possible.