Sea kayak guides and instructors engage in a variety of activities. The equipment guides carry is dependent on the nature of the activity. Some of the factors considered by guides are the purpose of the activity or trip, the duration of the activity or trip, the area in which the group will be operating, and the existing conditions. Always be aware that not all kayaks are designed for kayaking in sea conditions. Sea kayaks are longer than recreational type kayaks used for rivers and lakes. You might want to look at REI’s website and use their sorting options. If you are going fishing, you’ll want a specially designed fishing kayak. This article about the best fishing kayaks has a good list of options for fishers.

MASKGI guides will be able to explain to you the need for each item of equipment, and give you an adequate explanation as to why a particular item is included in or excluded from that which is being carried for a given trip or activity.

The Maine Association of Sea Kayak Guides and Instructors has recommended that its members carry the following :


Paddling Related Equipment

  • Kayak with adequate flotation
  • Spray skirt
  • Personal flotation device (life jacket)
  • Two paddles (one for personal use plus one spare )

Clothing and Accessories

  • Proper attire for the conditions
  • Spare warm clothing in a large or extra-large size stored in a waterproof container
  • Protection against the sun including sunscreen, lip protection, and sunglasses as needed


  • Plenty of water
  • Snacks

Communication Equipment

  • Sound device – whistle and/or fog horn
  • Signaling devices which may include flares, a mirror, a flag, a strobe light
  • VHF marine radio able to receive weather reports and a UHF radio or cell phone

Navigation Equipment

  • United States Coast Guard Approved chart(s) in a waterproof chart case
  • Tide chart or tide information
  • Two compasses (A deck-mount compass and a spare card compass)

Emergency Equipment

  • Emergency phone numbers
  • First aid kit in a waterproof container
  • Kayak repair kit containing supplies as required (Kit may include duct tape, a screwdriver, locking pliers, cables, fasteners, waterproof matches, plastic to melt, a lighter, spare nuts and bolts, spare batteries, etc.)
  • Knife, which is readily accessible
  • Paddle float
  • Portable bilge pump or bailer and possibly a sponge
  • Radar reflector
  • Space blanket or hypothermia bag
  • Safety stirrup, rescue sling, or loop
  • Thermos with hot drink or a means of making a hot drink when seen as necessary
  • Tow belt or tow line


  • Guide’s license
  • Permits if needed
  • Waste management system when necessary
  • Watch
  • Waterproof flashlight
  • Waterproof matches
  • Writing supplies such as paper, a notebook, pen, pencil, grease pencil

Note: This list is subject to change.