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The following are Frequently Asked Questions.  If you have questions which are not answered here, contact us by Clicking Here.


Frequently Asked Questions

The following frequently asked questions are covered in this section:

1. How does this site ensure privacy?
2. What is the official postal address of TBSK?
3. Do you have the phone numbers of Tampa Bay area kayak shops/ outfitters?
4. Do many TBSK Club members have sit-on-top kayaks?
5. As a beginner, how do I select the best kayak for myself?

1. How does this site ensure privacy?

Privacy is a big concern for all of us. We try to keep your identity private by not requiring a verifiable name or email address, but starting August 7, 2002 we now record your client TCP/IP address when posting messages to this board. Your IP address will be added to a ban list should you post obscene or inappropriate messages.  If you feel you have been put on the ban list without cause, contact

2. What is the official postal address of TBSK?

Tampa Bay Sea Kayakers
P.O. Box 8682
Seminole, FL 33775-8682

3. Do you have phone numbers for Tampa Bay area kayak shops/ outfitters?

Outfitter Name City Phone No.
Adventure Kayak Center New Port Richey 727-784-6357
Alafia River Canoe Rentals Valrico 813-689-8645
Anclote Kayaks Tarpon Springs 727-937-9840
Bill Jacksons Pinellas Park 727-576-4169
Canoe Country St. Pete 727-545-4554
Canoe Escape Tampa 813-986-2067
Canoe Outpost-L.Manatee Wimauma 813-634-2228
Canoe Outpost-Peace Arcadia 800-268-0083
Economy Tackle/ Dive Sarasota 941-922-9671
Grande Tours Placida 941-697-8825
Mad Paddlers Tampa & New Port Richey 813-243-5737
Myakka River Outpost Sarasota 941-923-1120
Osprey Bay Kayaks Clearwater 727-524-9670
Ray's Canoe Hideaway Bradenton 941-747-3909
Sweetwater Kayaks St. Pete 727-570-4844

4. Do many TBSK Club members have sit-on-top kayaks?

Our members have a wide variety of boats which range from sit-in kayaks, sit-on-top kayaks, outrigger to home made wooden boats.  While most of our members do have sit-in kayaks, many members have more than one boat. They often use the boat which best fits the paddle.  For example, a sit-on-top is best suited for a paddle on small winding river while a sit-in kayak is best suited for a trip in the open ocean.

5. As a beginner, how do I select the best kayak for myself?

Overall Advice

Kayaking is a fun sport to be enjoyed by people of all ages and skill levels. Before buying a boat, you should read this article completely. However, the bottom line is that you want to get a boat which will get you out on the water frequently to have fun. Once you feel safe, are having fun and your skills have improved, you may decide to "move up" to a more challenging boat. However, we suggest that you start with a boat which you feel comfortable with and can control in different water conditions.

We suggest the following strategies for selecting a boat:

* Join a Kayak Club - The major advantages of joining a kayak club before you purchase a boat are that you can get expert advice on which boat to buy, many members will let you try their boats and the club members often have good used boats for sale.

* Boat Fit - Kayaks are small boats. You almost put them on like clothes.  Therefore, your size and fit within the boat will definitely affect how comfortable you feel and the boat which you should choose. A kayak shop can help you decide the size and type of boat which you will "fit in".

* Take a Skills Class - Taking a class from a kayak shop before you buy has the advantage of both improving your skills and giving you an idea of what you want in a boat.

* Rent a Boat - Find kayak shops which rent boats and then rent them for trips until you find a type of boat you want to buy.

* Try Before You Buy - Try different boats until you find one which "feels" right. Tell the kayak shop your budget range and how you want to use the kayak. Most kayak shops will suggest several boats and then allow you to try them before you decide what you want to buy.

* Check the Internet - Most major kayak manufacturers have a web site which describes their boats and will give you an idea of the types of boats which are made. Kayak club members and shops can give you the manufacturer's names. There are also classified ads on many kayak club web sites.

Types of Sea Kayaks

Generally, there are two types of sea kayaks: recreational and touring.

* Recreational Boats - The most ubiquitous and often the first choice for beginners are the recreational boats. These boats are normally 10 to 15 feet long, 24 to 30 inches wide and have flat bottoms. This make the boats very stable, but a little slow. They often have very large cockpits and the sit-on-tops models have no cockpit at all (but not all sit-on-tops are recreational kayaks). The most affordable of kayaks, they are meant for calm, flat water trips.

* Touring Boats - As kayaks get longer (14 to 20 feet) and narrower (20 to 25 inches) they get faster. However, these boat require more skill to keep upright (they are less stable). Sometimes the lines between recreational and touring boats blurs - such that some boats are called "hybrids" or "light touring" boats. Touring kayaks, when spray skirts are used, can be use in rough water.

General Design Considerations

Kayaks have different shapes for a reason. No one boat can do it all. Form follows function and the exact boat for you is the one which meets your intended purpose (how you will use the boat), your size and your skill level.

* Length - Generally, the longer the boat, the faster it will travel through the water. However, the longer the boat, the less maneuverable it will be. Also, a very long boat (over 18 feet) is more difficult to control in high waves.

* Width - The wider the boat, the more stable (less tippy) it will be. However, the wider the boat the slower it will be.

* Floatation - A safe boat floats even when fully swamped with water. Floatation systems are built into most kayaks in the form of water tight bulk heads, solid bulkheads or foam filled tanks.  Inflatable inserts can be added after manufacture to some models. Good boat floatation is necessary to make rescues possible when you capsize.

* Hull Rocker - This is the amount of "smile" that you can see if you view the bottom of the boat from the side (sitting on dry land). It curves like the rail of a rocking chair. The more rocker (more upturned ends) means better turning ability. However, the more rocker the boat has, the less tracking ability - boat stays on a straight line.

* Chin or Bottom Shape - Bottom shape contributes to boat performance in different conditions. Flat bottom hulls are more stable in flat water. However, they are less stable in wind and waves.

Materials Used in Kayak Construction

* Plastics - Boats made of polyethylene plastic are abundant, least expensive, most durable and most impact resistant of kayak construction materials.

* Composites - This includes fiberglass, carbon fiber and Kevlar boats. These materials make the boats stiffer, lighter and cost considerably more than plastic boats. These materials are used for higher end touring boats.

* Other - Less common materials include wood and skin/ plastic stretched over a wood or aluminum frame. Inflatable boats, which do not have very good performance features, are also available.