GUIDE COURSE FAQS
Garden Faire Campground on Rainbow Rd. offers nice sites and showers plus it is located just outside of Ganges. Since we venture to different locations daily, this gives you a central location to all the launching locations we utilize during the course.
Duck Creek Farm has some nice sites but it is a little further away from the town amenities. If you have a vehicle it is only an extra 5-7 minute drive and you might enjoy the lovely active farm atmosphere.
Ruckle Provincial Park is a walk-in campground with few amenities but a spectacular oceanfront location. There are many campsites and the cost is less than the other two offerings mentioned above. Take note that it will be a farther drive each day to and from the ocean accesses that we use after the first day on Cusheon Lake.
Yes, we have a large trailer and can transport all boats for the Level 1 course and for those who rent kayaks from us during the AOG Upgrade courses. You are welcome to inquire if we might have space if you are bringing your own boats but there is no guarantee that we can accommodate you. Please make early arrangements for boat transportation as often, on West Coast trips, we run out of space and you will need to transport your own kayaks and gear.
We usually have space for one or two extra passengers to our various ocean launch spots on the Level 1 course. Please inquire well ahead of time if you are in need of transportation. We also try to have you network with other registrants who may be at the same campsite or be able to pick you up en route.
We are unable to commit to having space for extra passengers until we determine which vehicle we will be using on a particular course. You are welcome to make a request and we will follow up a week or two before the course start date.
Level 1 courses start daily at 08:00 at our various put in locations. The first day is at our base on Cusheon Lake--118 Natalie Lane. After that, we will let you know at the end of each day where we will be launching the following day but the start time will remain the same. We hope to be ending each day by 17:00 to allow for time to relax, study and work on theory during the evenings.
Full AOG also starts the first morning at 08:00 at 118 Natalie lane. We paddle 5 days in the Gulf Islands, through Porlier Pass and around Valdez Island and then move to Juan de Fuca to paddle in swell and surf. During non Covid times, we spend half our time in the Gulf islands and half in Clayoquot Sound. We hope to end by 16:00-16:30 on the last day.
AOG Upgrade will start at 09:00 at Rush Adventures in Sooke; it is the first building you come to on the oceanside when driving down into Sooke from Victoria. From here we mobilize and begin paddling in current at Wiffin Spit and that evening move to our base in French Creek. During non Covid times, we meet at 09:00 at the Tofino Boat Launch at the end of 1st Street.
If you are in the AOG Upgrade or Full AOG, you will need a helmet for paddling in current and for surf landings and take offs.
A drysuit is a big investment but a really nice way to keep dry. Wetsuits work well but do create a bit of chafing. Dry suits must have good seals and fit well. It would not be wise to borrow someone's drysuit as you might have narrower wrists or a thinner neck than the owner and discover that it does not work all that well.
We do rent wetsuits and booties but not drysuits.
You definitely need good footwear as you will be lifting boats up over rocks with barnacles. Flip flops are not an option; Tevas, Chacos or other technical water-friendly sandals that grab your foot all around, are recommended. You always want a change of footwear that is dry for when you get to camp.
Yes, it is necessary to do all the work in the Online Campus prior to arrival. This is applicable for all levels. If taking the AOG courses, you will need to ensure you are proficient at Secondary Tides and Currents and have studied the weather modules and passed the quizzes. Your guides will know how well you have done in the Online Campus as they can login and view the amount of time you have dedicated to it. By doing these studies ahead of time, it allows you to relax more during the course and concentrate on the practical learning. There will be time for asking questions about what is taught online during all the courses but there will be no evening sessions on the Level 1 course.
If you are taking a guides’ course as a stepping stone to becoming an accredited kayak guide, you must take out a membership in the SKGABC, prior to the course.
All the courses that we offer include a written and a practical exam. You must obtain a minimum of 75% on both of these in order to pass. If time allows, we may offer a second scenario option if you have been close to the 75% benchmark.
Once you have passed both the written and practical sections of the exam, your guide examiner will send in the marks and the evaluations, to the SKGABC. Your responsibility is to send in your valid First Aid certification, CPR–C ticket, up to date logs and
handheld marine radio certification. If you already have up to date certs in your file, you only have to send in the ones that need updating. Note: the Marine Radio certificate is good for life and does not need updating.
Level One Course & AOG Upgrade Course Gear List
It is expected that you come with some essential equipment. If you do not have these items, please ensure that you obtain them before the start date. We have rentals available for kayaks, (which includes accessories), and for wetsuits. Please let us know well ahead of time if you will require any of these rentals.
- Kayak with front and stern bulkheads
- Two kayak paddles
- Float rescue pad
- Chart 3442 plus a Current & Tide Atlas printed out
- Tow line
- Handheld Compass
- Wetsuit or Drysuit
- Change of clothing & a drybag for it
- Paddling clothes
- Manual handheld bilge pump
- "Rite in the Rain"/dry erase booklet & pen
***Camping gear is considered safety gear for day guides on trips, in case of an emergency or unplanned overnight. This includes a stove, sleeping bags, tarp & string. It is not necessary to bring this daily as your instructors will carry it. If during scenarios you are in need of something from this Camping/Safety Gear bag, you will be welcome to borrow it.
Wetsuit & Kayak rental, including 2 paddles, pump, float pad & towline: $125 + GST for the full course
Wetsuit only rental $75 + GST; Kayak and safety gear $100 + GST
Optional but recommended if you already have them:
- handheld Marine Radio. We listen to the radio every day so having one will help you get better at writing weather and understanding the forecasts.
Level One Course & AOG Upgrade Course Clothing List
Note: Cotton clothing gets wet quickly and becomes heavy, cold and dries very slowly. Wool or synthetic apparel acts like a wick and moisture is drawn to the outer layers. Jeans are not appropriate pants for a guides' course. Wearing layers including wool and synthetic is best for our climate.
- A good sunhat with a brim and a toque
- 3-4 pairs underwear (you can always wash some)
- 3-4 pairs wool/synthetic socks
- 1 lightweight towel (PackTowl is best)
- 1 pair of long underwear, top & bottoms (synthetic or wool)
- 2-3 T-shirts (synthetic or wool are best; cotton blend is okay)
- 1-2 long-sleeved synthetic shirts/pullovers (fleece, etc.)
- 1 set of good, waterproof rain gear: jacket & pants
- 1 warm synthetic puffy/insulation jacket that packs down nicely
- 2-3 pairs of shorts
- 2 pairs of long pants (not full cotton)
- 1 pair of sturdy, water friendly sandals, water shoes or booties (flip flops are not appropriate water shoes)
- 1 pair of light hiking boots or runners
- Sunscreen and sunglasses with straps, Zinc sticks for face – please ensure all sunscreen is reef friendly.
- Toiletries - toothbrush, toothpaste, brush/comb, face cloth, hand towel, contacts/glasses, etc. Ladies, check out menstrual cups for a camping- friendly feminine hygiene option or bring what you use and need.
- Flashlight or headlamp (with an extra set of batteries)
- Medication – Please bring extra medication for instructor to pack if you have a severe allergy-anaphylactic- or have any critical medications you cannot be without in case they get spoiled or wet.
- Synthetic sleeping bag (not down filled or cotton/flannel lined, which absorb moisture and don’t insulate well in a coastal environment). Rentals are available-see below.
- 1 L water bottle
- 2 -drybags (mid size, not over 15L; 10 litres is best for packing)
- 2-3 washable masks, 1-2 Buffs/neck tubes, that can be washed and used as masks well as neck warmers.
- Personal hand sanitizer.
- "rite in the rain"/waterproof journal/pen for note taking. These should be small; 5” X 2.5 “ is perfect for packing in a pocket though lightly larger is fine as well.
- Paddling gloves, pogies (neoprene over-mitt) or neoprene gloves if your hands get cold.
Please limit electronic equipment (eg. laptops, handheld gaming devices). Iphones do make good cameras and usually are waterproof.
- A camera that is not part of your phone is optional. Cameras should be waterproof, as even the humid saltwater ocean conditions can negatively affect them. Instructors will have a camera and will put photos up on Dropbox to share.
- Bug spray can be helpful, however some people are sensitive to it and many brands - particularly those containing DEET - are highly toxic. Please use bug spray with care, or consider a natural brand or bug net.
- Synthetic sleeping bags are available to rent for $25 + GST.
- Thermorest style pads –please ensure they pack small.
If you have any questions or concerns please call us for suggestions: 250.537.2571.
Full AOG Course Gear List
- Kayak with two bulkheads-(rentals of boat & safety gear are available
- Two Kayak Paddles,
- Float Rescue Pad
- Tow Line –min.15 meters of buoyant line
- Handheld Compass
- Change of clothing—spare clothing bag
- Camping gear including tarp.
- "Rite in the Rain"/waterproof notebook/pen
- Binder or clipboard with paper, pen and ruler
- Manual handheld pump
- Tide/Current Atlas; for courses in Juan de Fuca Chart # 3606
- Waterproof chart case
Rental cost: for 9 days includes wetsuit, kayak, paddles and all safety gear. $185 + GST
Kayak with paddles & safety gear $125 + GST
Wetsuit $85 + GST
- VHF /handheld marine radio
- Flares: a combination of A B C or D flares – 3 total, 2 of one kind and one of another. (Guides will bring – not necessary for participants to purchase for class)
Please visit charts.gc.ca to print out all Tides and Currents for the time we are out including Secondary Tide and Secondary Current Calculation tables and the back of the Tide and Current Table including:
• Reference Ports Table 2 Tide heights,
Optional but recommended if you already have:
- VHF Radio We listen to the radio everyday so having a radio will help you get better and writing weather and understanding the forecasts.
Full AOG Course Clothing List
Suggestion of Clothing/Misc. list to bring:
- Hat with a brim and a toque for warmth
- 1 pr of gloves to keep your hands warm & dry
- 5-6 pairs underwear
- 5-6 pairs wool/synthetic socks
- Neck tube/"Buff" or scarf
- Sunglasses with straps
- Light towel (PackTowl is best)
- 2 pairs shorts (quick dry is best)
- 1-2 pair(s) long underwear (synthetic or merino wool)
- 1-2 fleece or wool sweater(s) or second layer shirt (not cotton)
- 2 pairs of long pants (not full cotton -synthetic or soft shell is best)
- 4 t–shirts (wool, synthetic or cotton blend preferably)
- 1 light jacket- synthetic/puffy for layering/insulation
- 1 pair paddling gloves/pogies (optional – if your hands tend to be cold on the water.)
- 1 set of good rain gear, pants and jacket with hood (make sure it is waterproof and not just water-resistant).
- 1 pair of sandals (Tevas/Chacos,etc.) or water shoes/booties. Your footwear will get wet daily.
- 1 pair of light runners/rubber boots for at camp
- Personals - toothbrush, toothpaste, brush/comb, face cloth, hand towel, medication (please refer to medical form), feminine hygiene products, etc.
- Flashlight / headlamp with extra batteries
- Bug spray (non toxic)
- (reef-friendly) Sunscreen/Zinc stick
- Sleeping bag - synthetic only - no down filled or cotton/flannel lined bags. Pack in a waterproof stuff sac or dry bag. (We have rental bags -- $25 + GST)
- Thermarests/sleeping pads
- Tent with full fly –we can rent if necessary
- Wetsuit or Drysuit—we can rent wetsuits.
- 2 stuff sacs (mid size) and 2 drybags (10-15 L max.; 10 litre dry bags pack best.)
- Line stuff sacks with heavy garbage bags and press all air out and twist closed.
- Water Bottle – 1-2 litres is ideal
- Cameras- if brought should be water proof type or have waterproof casing; we will not be responsible for any damages to this equipment. Most conventional cameras break down in the moist salt water air conditions. We bring a camera and will share photos on Dropbox.
*** Do not bring electronic gear including: iPods, iphones, Tablets, etc unless you have the proper waterproof casing for them. They are damaged very easily by salt water and salt winds. ***
- Cotton gear gets wet quickly, dries slowly and makes you cold. Wool or synthetic gear acts like a wick and if your clothing is wet, the moisture is drawn to the outer layers.
- Wearing layers is ideal for our climate. We do carry a spare clothing bag in case of emergency.
- Please let us know ahead of time if you need to rent equipment from us. If you have any questions or concerns please call 1 250 537-2571.