Sea Kayak Courses

Sea kayaking is a multi-faceted sport, which covers everything from gentle exploration on sheltered water, to adrenaline-fueled play in tidal races, and everything in between. Whatever your personal goal, our courses will give you the skills you need to achieve it. Our instructors are experienced, qualified, knowledgeable, patient, and above all focused on helping you progress at a pace that works for you, in conditions that will build your confidence.
 
All our courses cover safety training at an appropriate level, including seamanship skills and knowledge to allow you to better understand your environment. Technical and tactical sessions are mixed with journeys, so that newly-acquired skills can be consolidated and put into context. We keep to a maximum ratio of 1:6, to ensure each individual receives the attention they need.
 
All our prices include paddling equipment and clothing, but you will need to bring a packed lunch. Courses are open to those aged 14 and upwards.
 
If you’re just wanting to head out for a short time, or to give sea kayaking a go, come and join us for a Sea Kayak Experience Day, suitable for ages 8 and upwards.
 
If you have any questions or you’re not sure what course is right for you, please email Laura on adventures@seakayakoban.com or call 01631 565 310 during the opening hours listed at the top of the page.
Kayaker on calm sea

Introduction to Sea Kayaking

Course length: 2 days

Cost: £230

Level: Beginner

Aimed at those who have never kayaked, or who have prehaps tried it on holiday or at school and want to learn more. The course focuses on learning fundamental skills in calm waters, while enjoying journeys through stunning scenery.

We will start by introducing you to the equipment, and fitting you in your kayak. On day 1 you will usually launch from our base in central Oban, while on subsequent days you may drive a short distance to explore a different stretch of coastline. Throughout the course, your instructor will teach you the skills needed to paddle efficiently, interweaving the teaching with journeys so that you can see how those skills come together in practice.

For those wanting a longer course, the dates of 1/2 June, 20/21 July and 31 August / 1 September can be combined with a 2-day Confidence Builder to form a 4-day course.

You may be able to obtain the British Canoeing Start or Discover Award as part of this course, for a small additional fee. Details of the awards can be found on the British Canoeing Awarding website.

All equipment and clothing is provided, but you will need a packed lunch.

The course starts at 09.30 and finishes around 16.30 each day.

2023 Dates :

1/2 April, 26/27 April, 13/14 May, 18/19 May, 1/2 June, 10/11 June, 28/29 June, 6/7 July, 19/20 July, 26/27 July, 2/3 August, 19/20 August, 24/25 August, 31 August / 1 September, 16/17 September

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Female kayaker paddling around rock

Sea Kayak Confidence Builder

Course length: 2 days

Cost: £230

Level: Improver

For paddlers who have spent a few days on the water, and now want to improve their skills. We will start to head out into slightly more exposed waters, learning to deal with wind and waves. This course is also suitable for whitewater paddlers wishing to try sea kayaking.

Working with each paddler’s individual needs, the instructor will focus on improving efficiency and confidence, building up the conditions according to the level of the group. Forward paddling and maneuvering will be key, allowing you to head out on longer, more adventurous trips. Skills will be placed in context, so (weather permitting) you will be journeying on all days. There will also be opportunities to explore what happens when it goes wrong, with a focus on how to be proactive in dealing with capsizes and rescues.

You may be able to obtain the British Canoeing Discover or Explore Award as part of this course, for a small additional fee. Details of the award can be found on the British Canoeing Awarding website.

For those wanting a longer challenge, the course on 22/23 June can be combined with a 2-day Explorer Expedition on 24/25 June.

All equipment and clothing is provided, but you will need a packed lunch.

The course starts at 09.30 and finishes around 16.30 each day.

You will usually meet at our base in central Oban, there may be a short drive from there to enable us to find the most appropriate sea conditions.

2023 Dates : 

25/26 March, 5/6 April, 15/16 April, 4/5 May, 20/21 May, 3/4 June, 22/23 June, 1/2 July, 22/23 July, 5/6 August, 9/10 August, 2/3 September, 21/22 September

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Practical Sea Kayak Navigation

Course length: 2 days

Cost: £245 (including certificate)

Level: Improver and above

This 2-day course covers the fundamentals of navigation, tidal planning and weather awareness. Although there is some classroom / online content (depending on Covid restrictions), the bulk of the course is spent outdoors, putting the knowledge into practice. Course attendance entitles participants to the British Canoeing Coastal Navigation and Tidal Planning certificate (pre-requisite for BC Sea Kayak Leader Assessment).

As the course will be primarily practical in nature, participants should be able to paddle for up to 15km per day, in winds of up to Beaufort Force 3 and waves of up to 0.5m.

For full details of the BC Coastal Navigation and Tidal Planning syllabus, see the British Canoeing Awarding website.

All equipment and clothing is provided, but you will need a packed lunch.

The course starts at 09.30 and finishes around 16.30 on both days.

2023 Dates : 8/9 March, 17/18 May, 14/5 June, 4/5 October

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Kayaker paddling around a rock in waves

Introduction to Rough Water Sea Kayaking

Course length: 2 days

Cost: £230

Level: Improver / Intermediate

Aimed at paddlers wanting to move into more challenging conditions, and improve their boat handling. The focus will be on using skills in context while journeying, including navigation and tidal planning aspects. Exact conditions will depend on the weather, but we will aim to work in winds of around F3 and waves of around 0.75-1m, with scope to move beyond that if it is appropriate for the group.

The course will normally start at our base in Oban, where you will look at weather forecasts and tides, gaining an understanding of how to use them to choose a paddling location. On the water the emphasis will be on technical and tactical knowledge, making sure you are efficient, accurate and confident in your paddling. Weather permitting, conditions will be built up over the course, increasing the challenges as we go. In lighter conditions, we will focus on consolidating technical skills. We may also head to tidal waters.

You may be able to obtain the British Canoeing Sea Kayak Award as part of this course, for a small additional fee. Details of the award can be found on the British Canoeing Awarding website.

All equipment and clothing is provided, but you will need a packed lunch.

The course starts at 09.30 and finishes around 16.30 each day.

You will usually meet at our base in central Oban, there may then be a short drive to enable us to find the most appropriate sea conditions.

2023 Dates:  8/9 April, 8/9 July, 17/18 August

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Kayakers practising a scoop rescue

Rescues and Incident Management

Course length: 2 days

Cost: £230

Level: Improver / Intermediate

This course focuses on rescue techniques and dealing with incidents. It is aimed at improver and intermediate paddlers who are looking to paddle more independently, to be more confident in rescue situations, and at those who are working towards leadership qualifications. Paddlers should be able to comfortably control their kayak in winds of Beaufort F3 or higher, and waves of 0.5-0.75m.

During the course, we will look at specific rescue techniques, including ways of handling boats safely. We will then put those techniques into context with work on scenarios, thinking about how to keep everyone as safe as possible, and what to think about when things go wrong. There will be ample opportunity to ask questions, try things out, and test ideas, in a safe and supportive environment.

All equipment (including drysuits) can be provided, though paddlers who have their own equipment are encouraged to bring it, as testing your setup in a range of situations is in itself a valuable process. You will need a packed lunch.

The course starts at 09.30 and finishes around 16.30 each day.

You will usually meet at our base in central Oban, there may then be a short drive to enable us to find the most appropriate sea conditions.

2023 Dates : 8/9 June, 6/7 September

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Kayaker in tidal waters

Introduction to Tidal Paddling

Course length: 2 days

Cost: £230

Level: Intermediate

Aimed at those who want to learn how to handle their boat in tidal waters. The course will cover fundamental skills such as recognising eddylines, breaking in and breaking out, with a focus not just on getting through tidal water but on playing and having fun. We will also look at aspects of planning that allow us to make best use of tidal conditions. This course is suiable for those who are already confident handling a sea kayak in some wind and waves (around Beaufort Force 3 with waves up to 0.75m), but would also suit those with some experience of easy rivers.

All equipment and clothing is provided, but you will need a packed lunch.

The course starts at 09.30 and finishes around 16.30 on both days.

You will initially meet at our base in central Oban, there will be a short drive on both days to enable us to find the most appropriate sea conditions.

2023 Dates: 22/23 April, 30 Sept / 1 Oct

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Sea kayaker in rough water

Rough Water Skills Development

Course length: 2 days

Cost: £230

Level: Experienced

Aimed at those who are already comfortable in small waves (0.5-0.75m) and light to moderate winds (up to Beaufort Force 3-4), this course will take your paddling skills to the next level. Depending on the group and the conditions, we will be working in winds up to Beaufort Force 4, waves around 1m, and tides of around 2kn, or combinations of those conditions.

Working with each paddler’s individual needs, the instructor will focus on improving efficiency and confidence, building up the conditions according to the level of the group. This could include rockhopping, downwind paddling, and dealing with awkward landing and launching. Skills will be placed in context, so (weather permitting) you will be journeying on both days. There will also be opportunities to explore what happens when it goes wrong, with a focus on dealing with complex scenarios.

You may be able to obtain the British Canoeing Coastal Sea Kayak Award as part of this course, for a small additional fee. Details of the award can be found on the British Canoeing Awarding website.

All equipment and clothing is provided, but you will need a packed lunch.

The course starts at 09.30 and finishes around 16.30 on both days.

You will initially meet at our base in central Oban, there may be a short drive on one or both days to enable us to find the most appropriate sea conditions.

2023 Dates: 19/20 April, 30 Sept / 1 Oct

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Sea kayaker in tidal flow

Falls of Lora / Tidal Sea Kayaking

Course length: 2 days

Cost: £245

Level: Advanced

Using the fantastic range of tidal locations right on our doorstep, this course allows paddlers to push their skills in challenging waters, with an emphasis on playing in and enjoying the conditions. Paddlers should have previous experience on moving water (white water or sea) with an understanding of eddylines, and be comfortable in waves of at least 1m. Numbers for this course are capped at 4.

The waters around Oban include strong tides and exposed coastlines. This course will look at how to plan journeys in these areas, and how to handle strong tidal flows. Depending on the weather, we will head to classic destinations such as the Falls of Lora, Cuan Sound or the Grey Dogs, making full use of the tides to help us on our way. The course will cover the skills needed to make the best of paddling in tidal waters, including the safety considerations of heading there as part of a group.

All equipment and clothing is provided, but you will need a packed lunch.

The course starts at 09.00 and finishes around 16.30-17.00 each day.

You will initially meet at our base in central Oban, there will be a short drive on both days to enable us to find the most appropriate sea conditions.

2023 Dates: 5/6 July, 27/28 September

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