Risk and Responsibility

We encourage all guests to watch this brief safety orientation video in advance of the trip. Your guide will also give you a more in depth briefing and instruction on the day of your trip, before you hit the water. Below you will also find some answers to common questions about safety and risk.

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Which tour is the best fit for my skill level?

Our Channel Island kayaking tours have the following skill level recommendations:

TourDurationSkill Level
Discovery Sea Cave Kayak Tour 1-1.5 hours of paddlingAll levels, beginner to advanced
Adventure Sea Cave Kayak Tour2.5-3 hours of paddlingAll levels, beginner to advanced
Ultimate Sea Cave Kayak Tour 3-4 hours of paddlingIntermediate to advanced levels recommended


– Age 5 & older
– Ability to paddle up to 1.5 miles at roughly 1 mile per hour with rest breaks every 10-15 minutes
 Beginner tours are recommended for families with children, first-time kayakers, and school/youth groups.


– Ages 12 and older
– Ability to paddle up to 3 miles at roughly 1.5 miles per hours with rest breaks every 20-30 minutes
 Intermediate tours are recommended for those with an active lifestyle who have had previous kayak/canoe experience.


– Ages 16 and older
– Ability to paddle for 3-6 hours a day and to paddle up to 7.6 miles round trip at 2-2.5 miles per hour with rest breaks every 30 minutes
– Ability to paddle long stretches in open water with limited or no access to landing areas for more than 60 minutes
 Advanced tours are recommended for those who are active kayakers and have had ocean kayaking experience.

Will I fall out of my kayak?

The sit on top kayaks we provide are very stable. Most guests do not fall out of the kayak but it is possible. Capsizes can occur at any time but your guide will demonstrate exactly how to get back into your kayak and will be available to assist you should you need any help.

Do I have to go in the caves?

All of our activities are challenge by choice, meaning you can opt out at any time. Before each cave your guide will brief you on the best method of going in and out and will outline some of the risks. If you are not comfortable going into a cave, just let your guide know and they will give you instructions on how to go around it or where to wait outside.

Is there a weight limit?

The total weight capacity for a tandem (2-seat) kayak is 500 pounds. The total weight capacity for a single seat kayak is 350 pounds. Please let us know at the time of booking if anyone in your party is over 230 pounds.

What kind of safety equipment do you provide?

All guests are required to wear a Personal Flotation Device (PFD) and helmet during the kayak tour. Wet-suits and splash jackets are offered for your comfort and safety. Guides carry a first aid kit and marine radio at all times along with other safety and rescue items such as extra paddles, repair items, flares, position indicating beacons and lights, among other things.

What if I have a pre-exsiting injury?

We encourage all guests to get approval from their doctor if there are any concerns about pre-existing injuries. While our staff are not medical professionals and cannot provide recommendations on whether or not you should paddle they can offer advice on appropriate technique and provide reasonable accommodations when necessary. We ask all clients to to notify their guide of any pre-existing injuries before paddling.

Can kids paddle in a single kayak?

Children ages five to eleven years of age must always ride with a parent or responsible adult at least 18 or older in the kayak. Children 12 years and older can paddle together as long as they are able to paddle under their own power. There must be at least one adult supervisor to take responsibility for all children under the age of 18 in a party.

 What are the basic eligibility requirements for kayaking?

It is recommended that those wishing to kayak be comfortable in the water in the event you fall in. Channel Islands Adventure Company provides personal flotation devices (PFDs) and helmets which we require be worn while on the water.

For your safety, comfort, and enjoyment on the water, we have the following eligibility criteria, as adapted from the American Canoe Association (ACA). Channel Islands sea cave kayaking tours are open to all individuals who acknowledge the ability to perform the following essential eligibility criteria:

1) Breathe independently (i.e., not require medical devices to sustain breathing)

2) Independently maintain sealed airway passages while under water

3) Independently hold head upright without neck/head support

4) Manage personal care independently or with assistance of a companion

5) Manage personal mobility independently or with a reasonable amount of assistance

6) Follow verbal and/or visual instructions and effectively communicate independently or with assistance of a companion

7) Independently turn from face-down to face-up and remain floating face up while wearing a properly fitted life jacket

8) Get in/out or on/off of a kayak independently or with a reasonable amount of assistance

9) Must have the ability to withstand exposure to the outdoors for a period of 4 hours

10) Independently get out and from under a capsized kayak

11) Reenter or remount the kayak following capsize independently or with a reasonable amount of assistance

12) Maintain a safe body position while attempting skills or activities needed for ocean kayaking and sea cave exploration



As a company, we want to help support anyone who wants to explore Santa Cruz Island by kayak. Please call our office to inquire if we can offer adaptive kayaking to meet your specific needs.