Frequently Asked Questions


Do I need any experience?  No experience is needed for Kayaking 101 – Essentials of Kayaking.  The other lessons build on that.

What is the size of the classes?  Classes have 10 students or less.  Our average instructor/student ratio is 1:4.

Who teaches the lessons?  An certified ACA kayak instructor.

How long is the lesson?  Most lessons and trips run 3-4 hours.  Rolling lessons run about 2 hours.

Can kids sign up?  Yes, so long as they’re at least age 10 years old and over 90 lbs.

Do I need to be a great swimmer to take a class?  No.  In any event, everyone on the water is required to wear a life jacket.

Signing Up

Can I register for a class any time?  We ask that you register at least 48 hours before a class begins.  Lessons fill up, so the earlier you register, the better.  If there’s a kayak lesson that you want to join on short notice, contact us before you sign up and we’ll try and fit you in.

Can I just show up for a class?  No.  We need to know you’re coming so we bring the right equipment for you.

Do I need to answer the questionnaire portion of the class registration form?Yes!  We need to know about you so we can provide suitable equipment for you.  The information about you also helps us provide the best teaching possible.

How do I fill out the ACA membership form and waiver?  Each person must fill out and sign an ACA Adult or Minor membership and waiver and bring it with them to the lesson.

You can join the ACA for as little as $5, though we recommend an introductory or annual membership, which will cover you for other lessons that you take with us this season.  Simply select your membership level at the top of the form and bring payment with you to the lesson(cash or check made payable to Potomac Kayaking Company is fine).

If you’ve been an ACA member before and not sure if you’re membership is current or if you don’t know your ACA member number, call the ACA at 540-907-4460.  The ACA is a non-profit that promotes paddling and safety.

I’m rusty, can I take the same class again?  Of course!  In fact, the more you practice, the better. You can repeat any class at 25% off of the normal price.  You can also sign up for as many kayaking skills trips as you want!


Cancellation / Rescheduling

I signed up for a class (or a package) but cannot take it this year, can I reschedule it?  Yes.  You have 2 kayaking seasons to take the classes(s).  For example, if you signed up for a 101 class one summer, you have through the following summer to take it.

How do I reschedule my classes? Contact us 48 hours or more before the class and let us know; also include an alternate date in your request.

I can’t make my class tomorrow, can I cancel it?  Sorry, we line up everything ahead of time so we cannot reschedule you if you do not give us at least 48 hours notice.  But we can give you 25% off the same class if you want to sign up again.

What if it rains?  Classes meet rain or shine.  We will cancel classes on the spot, if needed.  Many a great paddle started with bad weather only to improve.

Can I have a refund?  If you request a refund within 1 week of purchasing them, yes.  There are no partial refunds for lesson packages.


Kayak Rolling

Do I need any kayaking experience to take the Introduction to Kayak Rolling lessons?  Most students have kayaked before and know how to do a
“wet exit” (taught in our Kayaking 102 class).  Occasionally, we will
include the “wet exit” as part of the lesson plan.  Contact us for more details.

Can I use my own boat and gear for the lesson?  In general, yes.  For
pool classes, however, given the limited space, we prefer to use shorter
boats.  Contact us and let us know what you have and we’ll go from there.

Is kayak rolling for both sea and whitewater kayakers?  Absolutely!  Having a roll is a key tool for both.

I’ve never rolled a kayak before, how many lessons will it take for me to learn?  Most paddlers will be able to do a roll and feel comfortable with the basic technique after 3 lessons.


Also see What to Bring and Class Venues and Directions.

Have more questions?  Just contact us!