Kayak Safety Taught On JBLM
February 10, 2012
For many Soldiers and families in the Joint Base Lewis-McChord community, the opportunity to get out and enjoy nature is a great privilege. From hiking, biking, swimming to kayaking, families have the chance to see Washington State from every outdoor perspective.
Fortunately, the Northwest Adventure Center at JBLM offers a safe way for fans of kayaking to learn all the safety methods necessary to enjoy the fun of kayaking with a little less risk and a little more warmth.
Two nights a month the NAC provides a two-to-three hour class that allows both new and experienced kayakers an opportunity to learn valuable skills. Kayakers can also practice their old skills in a safe and controlled environment.
"This is a kayak skills class that focuses on flip rescue and getting back into the boat with a buddy or solo," said Bradley Hinton, Northwest Adventure Center class instructor. "This is a great class if you are planning to kayak on your own. A lot of people rent kayaks from us and they go out without a lot of experience. This class will teach them the skills they will need to help them be safe in the open waters."
While this kind of skills training can be a fun workout, it is more important that kayakers have the abilities to help themselves if they ever get in a situation that could be life threatening.
"We bring out all the gear to these classes so that we can teach how to get back into your boat if it flips over, and how to pump it out. We also cover if you're out with a buddy how to help your buddy back into his boat and how he can help you get back into your boat. We cover different steps for each situation," said Hinton.
For an experienced kayaker thinking of enrolling older skills can be dusted off and refreshed in order to be ready to get out into water and to handle most any situation.
"Everyone can benefit from this class. If people have a lot of experience with kayaking, this class is good because over time techniques and skills fade," said Hinton, a 10-year kayak veteran. "This class will either give them a new technique or help them dust off an old one."
One student who is new to the sport of kayaking found the course important for his personal enjoyment.
"My family and I just came from our vacation in California and we tried kayaking and enjoyed it. It is a relaxing activity and everyone on JBLM should think about taking this class if they are really interested in the sport," said James Arriola, JBLM installation safety office. "Working in safety I want to make sure I know what to do if I ever get into a situation that is dangerous for me or someone else."
For Hinton the enjoyment of the sport provides an opportunity to teach others about kayaking safety and the opportunities they have in this region.
"I like the freedom. Going out with one or two people makes it a very peaceful relaxing sport. Once you get into a good cadence it's just a good time," said Hinton. "This is definitely a popular sport here, especially with the island chains and the state parks we have in the Puget Sound. There are just a lot of recreational options for kayakers in the area."
Anyone interested in learning basic kayaking skills or sharpening their old skills can contact the JBLM Northwest Adventure Center at 253-967-6263 to schedule a class time.