We appreciate how much interest we get from families regarding our kayaking tours. Getting kids outside and active is SO important these days, but it's not right for all ages. Due to the unique safety issues involved with paddling on Lake Superior we want to explain our thoughts and policies around having kids on our tours.
We often hear; "My kids are good swimmers." and "My kids kayak all the time." Unfortunately 99% of the time neither of these caveats pertain to what we do. Let me explain.
First, our participants do not need to know how to swim. Everyone wears a PFD (Life-jacket) while on the water. With Lake Superior paddling, cold water is the issue. Wearing a PFD is the #1 precaution everyone should take while paddling, and is the law for kids under 12 years old.
Second, our guided trips are done in sea kayaks. Most adults have never paddled a sea kayak, let alone have their children. Most people who have kayaked before have never paddled 4 miles at a stretch, which is the SHORTEST distance we paddle for our half-day trips. Sea kayaks are long, efficient boats, and the best choice for paddling the distances and the sea-like conditions that we have during our trips. On the flip side (A pun!) smaller/younger folks don't usually have the strength, height, or stamina to paddle long distances, even in sea kayaks, especially if wind or waves come up. In addition, most of our day trips are run in tandem kayaks, so we need two adult sized paddlers in each boat to insure not only the safety of the people paddling the kayak, but for the safety of the rest of the group. (Remember them?:) The group MUST stick together, so it is important that all members can "pull their weight" while on the water.
Our minimum age for children paddlers is 14, with minimum weight of 115lbs. This is a guideline that we can sometimes alter for families and kids with experience paddling in wind. Please contact us to inquire.
For younger/smaller kids we have triple kayaks available. For these you still need two adult sized paddlers per child who would be a "rider" in the middle seat.
I hope this information helps you decide on the best, safest option for your family.
Greg Weiss, Owner