Kayaking Classes Available

by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Photo by ANDe Demetriou, Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park, 2023 Photo by ANDe Demetriou, Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park, 2023

TAMPA, FL - The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, and Florida State Parks have teamed up with the American Canoe Association (ACA) Florida chapter to provide low-cost kayaking instruction at state parks on May 18th, in honor of National Safe Boating Week. This event, now in its third year, has been highly successful - in 2023, 279 students across North Carolina and Tennessee were trained by nationally certified ACA instructor volunteers in 24 simultaneous Kayaking 101 classes.

As a result of the success in Tennessee and North Carolina in 2023, seven states are participating in this event in 2024 with 43 simultaneous Kayaking 101 classes planned on May 18th in Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Texas, Missouri, and Florida. Participating locations in Florida include Sebastian Inlet State Park, Crystal River Preserve State Park, and Faver-Dykes State Park.

Classes are priced at $15 per person, including a free kayak rental for those who sign up at registration. The training, which usually retails for $75-$150, is taught by nationally certified Florida volunteer instructors supported by experienced safety teams. Each park's event will be limited to 15 people, with a limited number of kayaks, paddles, and life jackets available.

These classes are made possible by certified instructor volunteers, boating safety-educated boaters, and equipment donations from various organizations, including Kaku Kayaks, Tampa Bay Kayak Anglers, Florida Paddling Trails Association, Kayak Adventure Group, and St. Augustine Paddle Sports.

To register for the ACA Kayaking 101 course, visit TampaBayKayakanglers.org and click "Events" and "Learn More." In-person spaces are limited, but a free paddlesports online class can be found at AmericanCanoe.org by clicking "Education" and "Resource Library." However, in-person training with a certified instructor is strongly encouraged. The ACA is the national accrediting body for paddlesports education.