East Coast Sea Kayaking Club

Home > Meets > New Members' Guide > Is my sea kayak suitable for club meets?
Is my sea kayak suitable for club meets? PDF Print E-mail
User Rating: / 0
Written by Julian Haines   
Thursday, 20 May 2010 11:35

Kayaks come in all manner of different sizes, shapes and materials. The intended uses vary enormously. When we talk about a sea kayak we're describing a relatively long, narrow boat with a covered cockpit into which the paddler sits, rather than a shorter wider boat which the paddler sits on-top, commonly referred to as a sit-on-top or, unhelpfully, also as a "sea kayak".

Sea kayaks

To paddle on club meets, unless in exceptional circumstances and by prior agreement with the meet leader, you must have the use of a sea kayak which meets the specific requirements below.

  • Closed cockpit kayak
  • Length greater than 4.5m
  • Width narrower than 65cm
  • Secure decklines fitted along the full length of the kayak on both sides
  • Watertight bulkheads in front and behind the cockpit.
  • Secure and watertight hatch covers
  • Usually either a retractable skeg or rudder


  1. Shorter or wider boats may be suitable for some trips in some conditions, by prior agreement with the meet leader. In general they will not be so easy to steer in a straight line at sea. They will also be slower to paddle, making you work unnecessarily hard to keep up with a normal group pace.
  2. Occasionally we see boats without bulkheads. These are actively discouraged but in any event such a kayak absolutely must have substantial airbags fitted securely front and back as an alternative.
  3. The presence of full length deck lines is absolutely critical for swift and safe rescue in the event of a capsize. The use of shock cord (bungee) or thin string in place of thicker cord (5mm) intended for the purpose, is unacceptable. The decklines should extend to near both the bow and the stern of the boat, normally well beyond the hatch covers.

If your boat does not meet the necessary requirements in full, you will not be permitted to paddle with the club group.

Last Updated on Sunday, 20 February 2011 12:39

Add comment

Your name will be displayed with your comment. Please be respectful when posting comments.

Security code