ACA Kayaking 101 offered at Aiken and Chester State Parks on May 18 to kick off National Safe Boating Week

April 29, 2024

Columbia, S.C. – South Carolina State Parks, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, and the US Coast Guard Auxiliary are partnering with the South Carolina chapter of the American Canoe Association (ACA) to offer kayaking instruction at Aiken State Park and Chester State Park. The event is on Saturday, May 18, in celebration of National Safe Boating Week, which begins the same day.

Nationally-certified ACA kayak instructors will lead the Kayaking 101 class at both parks from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. The class costs $15 per person, including a kayak and lifejacket rental. Space is limited, and pre-registration on the South Carolina State Parks website is required.

Seven states are participating in the educational celebration, with 45 simultaneous Kayaking 101 classes planned in Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Texas, Missouri, and Florida.

“Our instructor volunteers are so excited to share their love of the sport with newcomers and experienced paddlers alike,” said ACA Southeastern Chair, Andrea White. “Just one day of training can make the difference between setting yourself up for a bad experience that ruins the sport for you versus setting yourself up for a whole lifetime of paddling fun.”

“Empowering visitors with the skills and knowledge they need to safely enjoy the activities we offer is an important part of expanding access in our state parks,” said South Carolina State Parks Director, Paul McCormack. “We’re thrilled to have two parks participating in this event, and we’re grateful to all the volunteers willing to share their passion for paddling.”

All instructors are South Carolina volunteers who are nationally certified to give paddling and rescue training and are supported by experienced safety teams. Many local kayaking organizations coming together to help make this event possible, including: Lowcountry Paddlers, Augusta Canoe and Kayak Club, America’s Boating Club - Charleston, and Edisto River Canoe and Kayak Commission.

A free online class is also available; however, in-person training with a certified instructor is strongly encouraged.

The ACA is the national accrediting body for paddlesports education.

This educational event began in Tennessee in 2022. In 2023, this event trained 279 students across North Carolina and Tennessee in 24 simultaneous Kayaking 101 classes. In April 2024, the National Safe Boating Council recognized this effort with the 2024 IBWSS Communications Community Impact Award.

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View and download images of kayaking in SC State Parks here. Credit: SC State Parks


Need more information?   Sam Queen
Director of Corporate Communications
SC Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism
1205 Pendleton Street, Columbia, SC 29201
| 803-734-1779
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