"Lots of people buy kayaks and they go out kayaking but they may not know they whys and wherefores of where they are or what they should and should not be doing. Our goal is to train these candidates to move out into the general public and be spokespeople for a greater safety protocol," said David McPherson, owner of Sea Kayak Connecticut.
For five kayakers, Labor Day marked the conclusion of a 5 day workshop at the Coast Guard Auxiliary Base at Calf Pasture Beach.
"It's a great way to continue the learning process and to feel safe on the water. You go with groups, you go out for the weekend, you go with friends and it's really good to know all these techniques," said Luke Rovner, a level 3 costal kayak instructor candidate.
Sea Kayak Connecticut hosted the American Canoe Association (ACA) coastal kayak instructor certification workshop in the effort to teach safety to the general paddling public.
"These individuals will end up working with clubs, groups, marinas, and camps to help enforce water safety, paddling knowledge, first aid; all the sorts of things that go with being an instructor," said McPherson.
Commander Robert Talley of the USCG Auxiliary Flotilla 72 Training Center said, "A lot of people get out on the water to have fun and they don't always think about safety. Sometimes they don't think about their skill set or the environmental aspects they are going to run into or whether or not their equipment is adequate and functioning to be ready for anything that happens."
The five day workshop included both classroom and water instruction with drills such as how to respond to a capsized boater.
The candidates where places in various scenarios. "Heart attack on the water, unconscious swimmer, people in a state of panic," added Rovner.
"What I want them to really take away is a real sense of self and a self of awareness about who they are and what they are when they are on the water as they move out and start paddling even recreationally. That when they are at a public boat launch that they are spokespeople for a higher tier of safety," said McPherson.
For more information about Sea Kayak Connecticut, visit www.seakayakct.com.