[Ride a Wave - Creating Special Days for Kids With Special Needs]
  Volunteer  -  Kayak Team Guidelines

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It is important that you read and understand ALL the information on this page AND the Introduction to Volunteering page before committing yourself as a Ride a Wave volunteer.

Contact:  Kayak Team Coordinator (Dave King)
Role:   A Body Board Guide ensures that each child has the safest and most fun experience possible when body boarding. 

The following is required to be a Kayak Paddler or part of the Kayak Beach Crew:

  • Being well versed in the water use of a seagoing Kayak.
  • Good upper body strength and endurance as the guide will be the main, and sometimes only, Paddler.
  • The ability to read the beach break to make a safe decision on entry and exiting the ocean.
  • Strong swimming skills incase of tip-over.
  • Good leadership skills to keep the riders comfortable and safe while they are taking direction from you.
  • Basic First Aid skills.
  • Basic Knowledge of water lifesaving skills.

What to Expect

  • To be tired at the end of the day and sleep good that night! 
  • To be sunburned (Hats are a good thing, sunscreen mandatory) 
  • To be hungry (Clif Bars will be your friend)
  • To have had a blast taking some very deserving folks for a spin in the ocean.

Safety Policy for Kayak Paddlers and Kayak Beach Crew

Remember that above all, common sense will ensure that everybody has a safe and wonderful day at the beach. General Guidelines Bear in mind that the day camper is likely to be nervous, especially if this is their first Kayak ride. (It might be their first day at a beach!) Be sure to talk to the day camper, telling them what you will be doing, before you do it. While in the water helping the day camper, be ready to be grabbed at any moment, for you have become their lifeline. If the day camper becomes agitated, upset, or maybe in their uneasiness, unruly, for safety's sake, consider canceling the ride for the time being.

The following guidelines are for the safety of our day campers and for RAW members:

  1. The Kayak launching area will be set-up away from the boogie board/swim area, while staying in the same area where the RAW camp is set up
  2. Kayak riders can paddle if able.
  3. The day camper needs to sit up front.
  4. The day camper MUST have a life vest and helmet.
  5. No one other then RAW members will be allowed to use the Kayaks.
  6. If there is a waiting line for Kayak rides, the Paddler should make the first runs short.
  7. If a Kayak is not in use, it must be pulled well past the high water mark on beach.
  8. Only the Kayak Coordinator or designee should fetch or return the Kayak(s) from/to the wharf.
  9. Only one day camper at a time. The only exception to this is when a parent or guardian wishes to accompany the day camper. Maximum Kayak load is 600 LBS. When a guardian accompanies a day camper, use good judgment if it is safe for them to use a paddle. The Parent or Guardian must have a their own life jacket.

Launch/Return Guidelines

REMEMBER!!! A WAVE CAN TAKE THE KAYAK SIDEWISE, AND BECOME A DEADLY FORCE BEHIND THE POWER OF THE WAVE! KEEP THE KAYAK POINTED INTO THE WAVES AT ALL TIMES!! NEVER ALLOW A DAY CAMPER TO REMAIN IN THE KAYAK WITHOUT THE KAYAK BEING HELD IN A SAFE POSITION (NOSE OR TAIL TO THE ONCOMING WAVES) BE AWARE OF THE DANGER OF THE KAYAK ROLLING OVER IN SHALLOW WATER!! BE DOUBLY AWARE OF THE DANGERS WHEN YOU ARE LOADING IN/RETURNING WITH A PARA/QUADRIPLEGIC DAY CAMPER. IF THE KAYAK WERE TO ROLL OVER WITH A HELPLESS PERSON, UNCONTROLLED, IT GREATLY ENHANCES THE CHANCES OF SERIOUS INJURY!!

At the designated launch area there is required a minimum of 3 personnel for each Kayak launch, this includes the Kayak Paddler, and a two-member beach crew. The Paddler must be skilled in the ability to safely shore launch a Kayak through the shore break, and have attended the RAW safety training sessions. The two-member beach crew, if not experienced in assisting the Kayak launch, should be advised of their responsibilities. The beach volunteers must have strong water skills, and be physically able to pull the Kayak out of the water and on the beach, as the two-member beach crew will be responsible for stabilizing the Kayak during the launch and return.

Remember that wave conditions change constantly, be alert, light wave action can change suddenly. For each launch of a Kayak, the following procedure will be followed:

a. The Kayak coordinator of the day will determine the launch position in relationship to where the wave break is at the time of the launch, depending on the size and break of the waves.

b. In preparation for a Kayak launch there will be two beach volunteers in the water holding the boat, one in front and one in back. The front beach volunteer will be responsible for keeping the Kayak pointed into the waves, and to advise to the rest of the crew of any incoming waves, or other action in the water.

c. The rear beach volunteer will hold the paddles.

d. The Kayak Paddler will load the day camper, brought to the water by an escort, making sure that the seat back is set at an appropriate depth.

e. The paddle for the rider, if needed, will be handed to the rider once seated.

f. Once the day camper is safely seated, the Paddler will get in the boat while the front volunteer joins the rear, and they will give the boat a starting "push-off" through the shore break. The two volunteers will remain in the water until the Kayak is safely away. After the Kayak is well out of the wave break, the two beach volunteers may relax or help with other activities, but must remain available to assist during the return of the Kayak

g. Upon return of the Kayak, the volunteers will meet the boat in the water, getting into position to grab the rear point of the Kayak first, to maintain the rear of the boat pointing into the waves. Once the volunteers have stabilized the Kayak, the Paddler will exit the Kayak and be responsible for the day camper(s), and escort safely to dry land.

h. If the day camper is physically compromised, the Paddler should run the Kayak straight on the beach before getting the day camper out, with the beach volunteers pulling the Kayak up on the shore. If the day camper requires special needs, as with a para/quadriplegic, the Paddler will decide if the person should be loaded into the Kayak on shore, or in the water, depending on the size and ability to cooperate. The Paddler has the last vote on whether or not it is safe to take a day camper out.

During the Kayak Ride

  1. When more than one Kayak is in use, do not launch or return at the same time. A Kayak in the water must circle safely beyond the break and wait for the shore Kayak to clear.
  2. It is normal for the day camper to be unskilled with the paddle, and may actually lose the paddle in the water.
  3. Be very aware of fishing lines when approaching the Wharf; the joy for the day camper of seeing the starfish will be wreaked by a fish hook in the eye/ear.
  4. If taking the day camper over to watch the surfing, be sure to stay out of the break, and never get in front of someone on a board. They have the right of way.
  5. While the Kayak has the right of way over a powerboat, use common sense to avoid one. If a powerboat leaves a large wake, remember to turn the Kayak into a right angle to the wake. Remember to do what you can to be safe, and have fun.

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