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New Boater Info

Do you want to try flatwater, ocean, or whitewater paddling, but don't know how to start? Or have you had a taste and are now thirsty for more? Read on.


Paddling is an inherently dangerous sport. Even easy trips on popular waters can be deadly if you are not educated or properly trained, or if you don't remain alert for safety hazards.



  • Begin or continue a personal fitness program: paddling is a full-body workout, with emphasis on core and shoulders
  • Learn how to properly swim in cold current with hazards such as rocks and trees
  • Join the WKCC and ask about beginner outings on the mailing lists
  • Sign up for Safety Weekend training held every year in July
  • Enroll in a first-aid/CPR course such as those offered by the Red Cross
  • Some of the retailers on the Other Links page also offer training
  • Attend Kayak Roll Sessions at local pools

Day Trip Checklist

  • Properly fitted PFD
  • Whistle, required by Oregon law
  • Helmet (class 1 and above)
  • Proper clothing. Insulation + drysuit/splashwear, or wetsuit, for the current water and air temps (NO COTTON CLOTHING). If in doubt check with the trip organizer. Dress for immersion.
  • Lunch and water
  • Sun protection
  • ID, insurance card, emergency contact info, etc. in waterproof container, ideally in PFD pocket
  • Car key somewhere secure, preferably on your person
  • Cell phone in waterproof container, preferably on your person
  • First aid kit
  • Throw rope
  • Invasive Species Permit required on boats 10 ft or longer. More info here.
  • Inflatable boats: repair kit and pump

Equipment Rentals


Many WKCC members have extra boats & gear. If you'd like to join a trip but are missing some equipment, or would like to try a different boat, join the club and ask your new friends via the mailing lists. Please note, per the waiver, you assume all risk for using any equipment whether purchased, rented, or borrowed.

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