Monday, April 29, 2024

North Carolina State Parks to Offer ‘Kayaking 101’ Classes with American Canoe Association, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary

Apr 29, 2024

To kick off National Safe Boating Week, 11 state parks and 3 other sites will each host beginners’ kayaking safety programs on Saturday, May 18, the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation announced. The “Kayaking 101” events are being offered as a collaboration with the division, the North Carolina chapter of the American Canoe Association (ACA), and the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.

This is the second year that these classes are being offered in North Carolina. Last year, a combined total of 279 students across North Carolina and Tennessee were trained by nationally certified ACA instructor volunteers in 24 locations. It was likely the single largest education day for kayak safety in North Carolina state parks history.

“We were eager to bring the event to North Carolina once again this year, with even more parks and locations, to maximize the impact of prioritizing water safety,” said Division Director Brian Strong. “We are committed to providing safe recreation for our visitors, and that starts with educating the public about the importance of wearing personal flotation devices and ensuring necessary preparations are undertaken by paddlers and boaters.”

As a result of the success in 2023, a total of seven states are participating this year with multiple simultaneous programs for May 18 in North Carolina, Tennessee, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Texas, and Missouri.

“Our instructor volunteers are so excited to share their love of the sport with newcomers and experienced paddlers alike,” said ACA Southeastern Chair Andrea White. “Just one day of training can make the difference between setting yourself up for a bad experience that ruins the sport for you versus setting yourself up for a whole lifetime of paddling fun.”

Classes offered by the ACA will cost $15 per person for the day, including a free kayak rental for anyone who needs it, for training that would typically cost $75-$150 at retail. All instructors are volunteers who are nationally certified to provide paddling and rescue training and who are donating their time especially for National Safe Boating Week. Each event will be limited to 15 participants. Participants can either bring their own kayak or indicate at registration that they would like to borrow a kayak, paddle, and life jacket at no additional cost.

The participating locations in North Carolina are:

    • Carolina Beach State Park
    • Falls Lake State Recreation Area (2 classes at Beaverdam Access)
    • Hammocks Beach State Park (kayak fishing class)
    • Hanging Rock State Park
    • Jockey’s Ridge State Park
    • Jones Lake State Park
    • Jordan Lake Farrington Point Boat Ramp
    • Lake James State Park
    • Lake Johnson Park in Raleigh
    • Lake Norman State Park
    • Morrow Mountain State Park
    • Oak Hollow Lake Park in High Point     
    • Pilot Mountain State Park
    • Salmon Creek State Natural Area

Equipment and financial support are donated by other sponsors. All partners and sponsors have helped to make this event possible with one goal in mind: to help educate paddlers statewide who enjoy North Carolina waterways and paddlesports.

Partners and sponsors include: North Carolina State Parks; the North Carolina chapter of ACA; the North Carolina flotillas of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary; North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission; Carolina Kayak Club; GetOutdoors Pedal and Paddle; Carolina Canoe Club; Paddle NC; Outdoor Women by Jo Proia; Catawba Riverkeeper; Cape Fear River Adventures; Kitty Hawk Kites; Frog Hollow Outdoors; Great Outdoor Provision Co.; Team River Runner’s Pineland Chapter; Lett’s Go Watersports; Liquidlogic Kayaks; Rock Outdoors; Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina; City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources; City of High Point Parks and Recreation; Twin Rivers Paddle Club; Paddling for Pennies; and Yadkin Riverkeeper.

Interested parties can register at A free online class is also available on the ACA website; however, in-person training with a certified instructor is strongly encouraged.

“North Carolina has so many beautiful places for kayakers to explore, from rivers and lakes to estuaries and along the Atlantic Coast,” said Strong. “With that range also comes a variety of unexpected situations that paddlers may encounter during their adventure. It is important to take the proper precautions and be able to practice these safety techniques so paddlers can feel confident in knowing what to do.”

The ACA is the national accrediting body for paddlesports education.

About North Carolina State Parks
North Carolina State Parks manages more than 262,000 acres of iconic landscape within North Carolina’s state parks, state recreation areas and state natural areas. It administers the N.C. Parks and Recreation Trust Fund, including its local grants program, as well as a state trails program, North Carolina Natural and Scenic Rivers and more, all with a mission dedicated to conservation, recreation and education. The state parks system welcomes more than 19 million visitors annually.

About the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources
The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (DNCR) manages, promotes, and enhances the things that people love about North Carolina – its diverse arts and culture, rich history, and spectacular natural areas. Through its programs, the department enhances education, stimulates economic development, improves public health, expands accessibility, and strengthens community resiliency.

The department manages over 100 locations across the state, including 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, five science museums, four aquariums, 35 state parks, four recreation areas, dozens of state trails and natural areas, the North Carolina Zoo, the State Library, the State Archives, the N.C. Arts Council, the African American Heritage Commission, the American Indian Heritage Commission, the State Historic Preservation Office, the Office of State Archaeology, the Highway Historical Markers program, the N.C. Land and Water Fund, and the Natural Heritage Program. For more information, please visit

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