Navigation & Planning


Learning about the sources of weather and tidal forecasts and how to interpret them is vital to enjoyable and safe sea kayaking. The club offers a course every year to a standard equivalent to BCU 5 Star Sea.

Look at the forecast, chart, tidal atlas and tide table before joining a trip. If you have done this you will be an active participant rather than be following 'sheep like'. Trip leaders always welcome(?!) queries on their chart work, especially if possible errors are raised in a tactful fashion.

However, there is no substitute for the ‘Mk 1 Eyeball’ attached to an enquiring mind.

  • You should always be monitoring;

  • the sky for 5 miles around for squalls or weather changes

  • the water for a mile ahead for tidal flows, breaking waves, and easy passages through them

  • your position relative to the start and end point of your trip

  • the feel of the sea which tells you depth and any currents or tidal movement

  • your actual rate of progress over the ground

A GPS should not be a substitute, but rather an extra tool to help make better use of charts, maps and tidal data.


A good starter for navigation is Franco Ferrero's excellent 'Sea Kayak Navigation' book.

Knowing and being aware of the Col Regs 'Collision Regulations, 'the rules of the road' that governs all seas we paddle on.


The Trip Leaders page contains 2 useful documents for anyone contemplating a trip.

Trip Leaders notes

Trip Planning guide