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Kayak Safely!

If you only read one area of this website, make it this one.


The Bay Area is a beautiful place to explore in a kayak. But the beauty of the open ocean, the excitement of the currents below the Golden Gate Bridge, the numerous other boaters on the Bay, and cold water and strong winds can create some of the most challenging conditions a kayaker can face. Every year, some paddlers need to be rescued by the coast guard/police/fire department, and unfortunately not all of those rescues come in time. Check out this ACA video about how the choices a kayaker makes can mean the difference between a safe outing and disaster—everything they talk about there (cold water, currents, fog, etc.) are challenges we face in our area.

Many aspects of kayak safety are not always obvious, so getting educated before you go out is very important. If you are a beginning kayaker, there are many local outfitters who provide lessons from the basics of the sport to playing in rock gardens and the surf zone. BASK also maintains a curated list of videos and articles on the most essential kayaking skills. BASK members are also eligible to take part in the intensive Skills Clinic we put on each summer, along with various clinics and classes put on throughout the year.


  • BASK Trips: BASK policy/philosophy regarding safety on trips
  • Kayaking Skills: A checklist of suggested skills for different paddling environments
  • Safety Gear: A list of equipment you should carry when sea kayaking
  • Weather: Wind and weather and where to find information
  • Tides and Currents: Tides and Currents in San Francisco Bay
  • Hypothermia: Information on hypothermia and how to prevent it
  • Boat Traffic: The most basic and most important rules of the road
  • Pod Dynamics: Comments from fellow BASKers/trip initiators on Pod Dynamics
  • Current Thoughts: Understanding and predicting the current is far from an exact science, but there is a lot you can do to improve your odds and really try to get a grip on what the current is doing. This article will help with that.