We always recommend that all of our renters – whether for 3 hours or a week or more – are familiar with wet-exits and self- & assisted-rescues before they go out on the water without a guide.
While it’s true that accidents can happen anywhere on the coast, the consequences of an accidental capsize have the potential to be much graver in the remote waterways north of Desolation Sound.
The beaches are steeper, making landfall impossible in most areas; the water is colder, making immersion a far more grave danger for risk of hypothermia; and the boat traffic is far more sparse, making your ability to flag down a passing kayaker or boater very unlikely should an accident befall you.
Therefore, the ability to rescue yourself during a capsize, or your friends in the same situation, can be the difference between an embarrassing and cold immersion and a life and death situation. Other considerations include an efficient paddling technique to avoid overuse injuries when far from base, and the ability to protect and prevent injuring the equipment to avoid being stranded should your kayak suddenly become damaged due to a rough landing.
For these reasons (and more outlined below) we insist that everyone that wishes to paddle this area unguided have completed a formal sea kayak lesson with emphasis on wet-exits, rescues, launching and landing, packing and unpacking gear, and intermediate strokes before renting our kayaks for your adventure.