You’ve decided you want to try sea kayaking in Maine.
You’ve been paddling a while but want stronger skills.
You’re fine with your skill level but want someone to shepherd you on an island camping trip.

In all of these cases, members of the Maine Association of Sea Kayak Guides and Instructors can help.

First a few definitions:

Registered Maine Guide
The state of Maine’s Department of Insland Fisheries and Wildlife has been licensing guides for over 100 years now, for everything from hiking to moose hunting. The Sea Kayak Guide became part of the system in 1996 (?) and has been getting stronger every year. To be licensed as a Maine Guide, an applicant must prove they are proficient at the activity, along with navigation, map and compass, first aid, and group management.

ACA/BCU Instructor
The American Canoe Association (ACA) and the British Canoe Union are two organizations that certify instructors in coastal kayaking. This certification is the best guage of ability to teach the skills needed for sea kayaking.

Sea Kayaking
Sea kayaks differ widely from their whitewater counterparts. The most obvious difference is length: whitewater boats are short to allow for quick turning while sea kayaks are long and narrow for speed and ease in a straight line. Sea kayaks usually have considerable stowage space for gear (tents, sleeping bags, lobsters, etc.) so are ideal for island-hopping camping trips.

And now, some questions you need to ask yourself:

What is my skill level?
Never kayaked, kayaked a bit, expert

What am I looking for?
Safe and leisurely guided trip, intensive instruction,

How many days do I want to spend?

The State of Maine has provided the following questions you may want to ask a Guide service.

What To Ask A Maine Guide


  1. A. How long have you been in business?
  2. B. How experienced are the guides?
  3. C. What is the entire cost of the trip?
  4. D. What type of deposit do you require to reserve a space?
  5. E. What is your cancellation policy? Up to what point can the trip be canceled and the money refunded?
  6. F. Do you take a check or credit card?
  7. G. What other costs are involved?
  8. H. What happens in the event of an emergency?
  9. I. Where is the nearest hospital. Where is the nearest rescue department?


  1. A. What type? (tent, lodge, camp, etc.)
  2. B. What is supplied? (sleeping bag, food, linens, running water, electricity, etc.)
  3. C. Are meals provided? Who cooks? Can the menu be changed for dietary restrictions?
  4. D. How many guests to a room or tent?
  5. E. Is alcohol allowed?


  1. A. Do you furnish transportation or do I? Year and make of vehicle(s)?
  2. B. Will an airplane be used?


  1. A. What clothes and gear must I bring?
  2. B. How many clients to a guide?
  3. C. Will the guide be with me throughout the trip?
  4. D. What physical condition must I be in?
  5. E. Is there a limit on the amount of gear brought?
  6. F. Who purchases license (if any)?


  1. A. Get all information on paper and signed by the guide or company.
  2. B. Take a camera and get pictures of what was furnished, if not what promised.
  3. C. Get references from past clients.
  4. D. Ask if any emergencies or accidents have occurred during a trip?