Ocean School
Paddlers, Visitors, Friends,

These Maine Island Kayak Co written materials, articles and outlines are part of MIKCo’s Ocean School curriculum. We have developed them to support our ‘on-water’ instructional programs. We find that paddlers’ retention and access to the skill sets covered in the on-water sessions is enhanced by their review of written class notes.

You are welcome to peruse and review as you see fit, but these are not designed to substitute for real world training. We meet many paddlers who have an idea about self rescues, for example, but lack a functional, effective real world performance of this critical skill. So please don’t be fooled by memorizing and regurgitating an outline; it’s not enough. Go practice, go train, go to sea in a small boat.

If any of you have suggestions, improvements, or critiques about our materials, we would appreciate receiving them. Also, please send us any reworked examples that you develop out of them. If you are already an instructor who wants to use this information, go ahead, but give us some credit and let us know how you improve upon it! That’s why these materials are offered to you: to improve our understanding of the wonders of the sea. So we hope you’ll share back with us here at MIKCo.

Until we get a paddle wet,
Tom Bergh



Before You Go

On Being a Wilderness Guide

The Guide as Conductor


Wilderness Survival

On Outdoor Leadership

Group Control & On-Water Patterns



Fundamentals I: The Foundation

Fundamentals II: Beginning Seamanship

Fundamentals III: Stroke Development

Fundamentals IV: Navigation and Route Selection


Rock Gardens, Surfing & Rough Water Rescues

Bates College: Geology of the Coast of Maine by Sea Kayak



Gear List

Rules of the Nautical Road

Rescues & Safety

Search & Rescue

Charts & Maps

Crossing Currents

Plotting a Course

Hypothermia & Cold Water Paddling

Wind, Waves & Landforms


Environmental Skills: a checklist

Personal Skills: a checklist


Weather & Sea State Analysis

Weather Forecasting & Analysis


Leave No Trace