Changing Tides PaddleCraft offers kayak, canoe and SUP (standup paddle board) instruction and training in Connecticut and New York. We are proud that our Instructors are trained and Certified by the American Canoe Association - the benchmark for paddling Instruction in North America. Together our staff span a broad range of paddling disciplines from flat to moving water in coastal and river environments. We bring depth of experience and love of the outdoors to the art of building your paddling skills. Our presentation of web links are designed to both supplement our classes and offer the novice an entry into the exciting sport of paddling.
American Canoe Association: The American Canoe Association is the premier paddlesports organization in the United States. They support paddlers in kayak, canoe, SUP and rafting with training and education, supporting paddlers rights, water access, and conservation advocacy at local, regional and national levels. We encourage all paddlers to support the ACA by taking advantage of membership benefits - Join the ACA.
The following ACA Website links will be most useful for candidates wishing to work with us to become Trip Leaders or Instructors. Students interested in locally available skills classes should visit our class pages or contact us directly for more information
Beginning 1/1/2010 all newly certified ACA Instructors, Instructor Trainers, and Instructor Trainer Educators must have and maintain an appropriate level of First Aid and age appropriate CPR.
Beginning 1/1/2011, all ACA Instructors, Instructor Trainers, and Instructor Trainer Educators certified prior to 1/1/2010 must have and maintain an appropriate level of First Aid and age appropriate CPR.
The term "appropriate level" means that the individual Instructor, Instructor Trainer, or Instructor Trainer Educator will have a level of First Aid and age appropriate CPR training that is prudent for the venue where they are teaching. For example:
American Red Cross: The first office of the American Red Cross in Connecticut was established in 1898. The Red Cross has been helping CT neighbors for over 110 years. The Red Cross entered into preparedness training in the 1920s, adding first aid, water safety and Junior Red Cross programs. Over the decades, classes expanded as medical technology developed to include CPR and Automated External Defibrillator (AED) training.
Use the link below to access ARC First Aid and CPR taining. Red Cross CPR training requires certification annually.
Stonehearth Open Learning Opportunities: One of the oldest continuously operating outdoor learning centers. In 1975 SOLO started the first wilderness first aid classes. Today their campus in Conway, New Hampshire is the central location from which Instructors are dispatched to host organizations across the country. They teach wilderness first aid and wildnerness medicine with the goal of preparing clients to meet the challenge of the "golden hour" between accident and rescue.
SOLO Wilderness First Aid certification is good for two years prior to retraining. SOLO also certifies CPR under American Heart Association curriculum which also requires recertification every two years.
Connecticut Life Jacket and Personal Flotation Device (PFD) Regulations were developed because analysis showed that more than 90 percent of boating fatalities could have been avoided by wearing a lifejacket. Regulations require that flotation devices be in good condition, properly fitted and accessible at all times when on the water. If inflatable PFDs are used they must be worn to be accessible. During colder months manual power boaters (kayaks, canoes, etc.) must actually wear their PFD. CT regulations are similar to NY State Regulations which preceed them. One key difference to be aware of is the the winter "Wear It" period.
Sec. 15-121-A17. Personal flotation devices for manually propelled vessels.
During the period from October first through May thirty-first all persons aboard a manually propelled vessel shall wear a Type I, II, III, V or V Hybrid United States Coast Guard approved personal flotation device of appropriate size and in serviceable condition. Except as provided in subsection (b) of section 15-121-A13 of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies, no operator, owner or user of said manually propelled vessel shall allow any person to be aboard who is not wearing such a device.
Additionally CT Boating Safety Law requires that PFD's be in good condition, properly fitted and accessible at all times. For the full content of all boating safety regulations click here or click on the CT.Gov logo to navigate to the boating safety website.
We at CTPC go further. By our own trials, it is essentially impossible for the average, unpracticed, person to don a PFD when floating in the water. Furthermore, in rough conditions that are a likely reason for a capsize, it is easy to lose control of items like PFDs. Like all professional paddlers we follow ACA guidance and we always wear our PFD. Having made this commitment, our PFDs are used as on-water toolboxes where we stage personal and group safety items that we want readily accessible on the water. We can show you how to choose, size and organize your PFD so that you will feel uncomfortable with it on, and even naked without it.
New York State Life Jacket and Personal Flotation Device (PFD) Regulations predate CT laws and have similar intent and requirements. One key difference to be aware of is the Wear It dates. Another is the stricter interpretation of proper PFD "fit".
Sec. 40 Subdivision 1. Navigation Law
Beginning November 1, 2009 the Navigation Law shall be amended by adding new paragraph (e), which reads as follows: No owner or operator of a pleasure vessel less than twenty-one feet, including rowboats, canoes, and kayaks shall permit its operation, between November first and May first, unless each person on board such vessel is wearing a securely fastened United States Coast Guard approved wearable personal flotation device of an appropriate size when such vessel is underway.
Hull Idenditification Number or HIN is a unique 12-digit identification number similar to the VIN number of a car that is required to appear on the hull of every marine vessel or craft. The HIN is comprised of a 3 letter Manufacturer's Identification Code (MIC) followed by a 5 digit serial number and concluded with a 4 digit alphanumeric manufacturing date code. The HIN is required to appear in two locations on each vessel: permanently fixed or molded into the starboard side of the stern, and in an "unexposed location" within the interior of the boat. The US Coast Guard maintains a list of registered HIN data where you can locate any commercial canoe or kayak and determine its manufacturer and build date. Click on the USCG Logo to navigate to their searchable database.
The HIN is required to aid in identification of a lost, stolen or damaged boat. It is a good idea to record your HIN and keep it in a safe place along with boat paperwork and photos of your craft. Clubs often make HIN registration lists for their members. State boating safety bureaus and Coast Guard Auxilliaries are starting to offer specialized vessel safety checks for kayaks and canoes the records of which usually include your HIN.
CT Backyard boat builders, should they desire a HIN, can request and obtain a HIN from their State boating agency. These numbers use the 2 letter state abbreviation, followed by the letter 'Z' to designate a non-commercial builder, and a serial number and date code assigned by the State to avoid any chance of duplication. The HIN must be marked in characters at least one-quarter inch high, and be located within one foot of the stern, on the starboard side, and within 2 inches of the gunwales. Because of the requirement that the HIN be permanently affixed to the boat, and because the DNR won't assign a HIN before a boat is registered, it may be necessary to register a boat before it is completed.
CT Motorized Vessel Registration: Registration of marine vessels is managed through the CT Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). For more information on registering a motorized kayak or canoe visit the CT DMV - Marine Vessel section . Connecticut law requires that all boats with motors, regardless of size, and sailboats powered by sail alone, 19 1/2 feet or longer in length, be registered and numbered before launching.
CT Paddle Powered Craft: as of this writing the Sate of Connecticut does not require registration of non-motorized craft less than 19 1/2 feet in length.
NY Boat Registration: as of this writing, kayaks and Canoes fall under NYS registration requirements only if a motor (such as a battery powered trolling motor) is added. This is a common situation that kayak and canoe fishermen might encounter.
NYS law requires you to register any boat that is motor-driven and is operated on public waterways in NYS. The boat requires a registration even if the motor is not the primary source of propulsion. If you operate the boat in NYS, you must register the boat with the NY DMV. After you register your boat, you receive a registration certificate that indicates the registration number assigned to your boat and a set of registration stickers.
For more information visit NY DMV Recreational Transportation to review their information on boat registration.
Outfitters: Here we have assembled what we hope is a useful list of paddling contacts. Local boat and gear shops allow us to see, touch and try out equipment that is not possible through on-line sources. Furthermore, these businesses are resources for general paddling gear advice as well as having local knowledge of paddling areas not easily available through other sources. We invite you to investigate and support these concerns. We hope you find them worthwhile.
Black Hall Outfitters: Specializing in Canoe, Kayak and SUP sales, rentals, and tours, located in Old Lyme, CT. Visit their Website for more information.
Clark Outdoors: Located on route 7 in West Cornwall, CT on the Housetonic River, Clark Outdoors is an outfitter specializing in canoe, kayak and gear sales. They also offer boat rentals for river tours. Visit the website for more details
Collinsville Canoe and Kayak: Located in Collinsville, CT on the Farmington River since 1990. Offering a wide range of boats gear and clothing along with lessons and tours. Visit the website for more details.
Connecticut Outdoors LLC: Located in Oakville, CT on Steel Brook near the Naugatuck River, Connecticut Outdoor offers a full line of canoes, kayaks and accessories for all disciplines of paddling from coastal to lakes and rivers. They also sponsor on-water "Adventures". Visit their website for more information.
Main Stream Canoes and Kayaks: Located in New Hartford, CT on the Farmington River, specializing in canoe and kayak rentals and guided tours. They also sell used equipment. Visit the website for more information.
Outdoor Sports Center: Located in Wilton, CT they specialize in a full line of outdoor equipment for all seasons which includes summertime kayak and canoe. Visit their website at website for full details.
Water Works Canoe Company: Specializing in Canoe and Kayak covers, located in Mansfield Center, CT. They also host the website for Columbia Canoe Club. Visit their website for more information.
Organizations:The ACA says: "Never paddle alone" and for safe paddling "Less than three should never be". But we do the math and note that if someone in your party is hurt and needs assistance, that leaves a lone paddler going for help. So to be safe for sure, better launch with four or more. It is hard to find four paddlers with the same schedule these days, so being part of a paddling group makes good sense. Here are some Connecticut paddling organizations to help you socialize and grow as a paddler.
Connecticut Sea Kayakers Association - Conn Yak: A club for Connecticut paddlers organized to provide training, paddling opportunities and fellowship. For more information, visit their website.
Applachian Mountain Club (AMC) CT Chapter: An Eastern US outdoor activities club founded in 1876, it has 12 currently active local Chapters. Our CT Chapter has been in existance since 1921, offering local paddling trips as one of their many activities. For more information on trips, visit their website.
Columbia Canoe Club: Is a not for profit canoe and kayak club located at Mansfield Hollow State Park, Mansfield Center, CT. Founded as a racing club, they are no longer active as racers. If you are interested in joining you must be sponsored by a current member. For more information, visit the website.
North Atlantic Canoe and Kayak Club (NACK): Is a not for profit, ACA Affiliated, canoe and kayak club located in central Long Island. NACK stresses training, practice and skill assessment for all its members. NACK sponsors member trips throughout the Northeast. For more information, visit the website.
Sea Kayaking Skills and Adventures, Ltd. (SKSA): Our sister company on Long Island has been offering kayaking lessons and tours since 2000. For more information visit our SKSA website . It has lots of information about paddling on Long Island, including one of the best lists of put-in sites for western Long Island. Happy paddling!
ACA Instructors Manual: This manual addressess ACA Instructor procedures, forms, insurance, course reporting, certification maintainence and update requirements. ACA requires that all Instructor Candidates own a copy of the current Instructor's manual in CD or book version. Visit the ACA E-Store for more details.
Kayaking: Developed by the American Canoe Association this book serves as a text for Introductory Kayaking courses tought at the University level. Comes with DVD. Visit the Human Kinetics for more information.
Canoeing: Developed by the American Canoe Association this book serves as a text for Introductory Canoeing courses tought at the University level. Comes with DVD. Visit the Human Kinetcs for more information.
Sea Kayaker Deep Trouble:by Matt Broz and George Gronseth, this collection of 20 true stories from the pages of Sea Kayaker Magazine along with analysis of the chain of events that led to the problem. For those that believe we learn from our mistakes - here is a chance to learn from the mistakes of others. Available on Amazon.com
USK Capsize Recoveries and Rescue Procedures: University of Sea Kayaking (USK) is famous for "In Depth" instructional DVDs. This one combines two videos into one DVD. It is a resource we highly recommend for your use in conjunction with our classes. Available from the USK Store: DVDE-101.
USK Bracing Clinic: Bracing is a key component to safe paddling and a serious part of our instruction. This University of Sea Kayaking (USK) dvd is the most comprehensive reference we could find. Available from the USK Store: DVDE-105.
USK Essential Strokes: Not previewed because University of Sea Kayaking (USK) just released this DVD, but we expect it to meet the standards. We concentrate on stroke details in our own classes and this should make a excellent home reference. Available from the USK Store: DVDE-106.
USK ABC's of the Surf Zone: For the advanced paddler this is a great University of Sea Kayaking (USK) DVD to perpare you to experience our classes and is also a great reference. Available from the USK Store: DVDE-104.
Grace Under Pressure - Learning the Kayak Roll: Available only as a VHS video this still stands out as perhaps the best video to learn the dynamics of rolling a kayak. Made in 1992 the old-style creek boats and campy style date this production, but the technical detail and breakdown of body dynamics has yet to be surpassed. It is the only video we know of to show hand-rolling techniques. You can find it through Amazon.
Kayaker's Toolbox:From the makers of "Grace Under Pressure" and "Kayak 101" and produced by Joe Holt, this river kayaking video is actually five videos in one, covering boat handling, water reading, river running, rolling and safety & rescue. Over 2.5 hours of great content which won the award for Best Instruction Video of 2006. Available from the Amazon
Canoeing: by Andrew Westwood, Canadian canoeist, athlete and racer, this DVD covers solo and tandem canoe strokes, technique and equipment. Available from the Amazon
This is Canoeing:By Justine Curgenven with featured paddlers Becky and Paul Mason, Karen Knight, Bob Foote, Mark Schriver Kevin Callahan and others, this is a great introduction to the lure of canoeing. Winner of Best Canoeing Film at the Reel Paddling Film Festival and the Waterwalker Film Festival in 2010. Available from the Amazon