Are YOU a Caring Kayaker?

As strong coastal winds whipped under a blanket of summer sunshine, our volunteer Jessie and I began our set-up at Jericho Beach for Mountain Equipment Co-op’s Vancouver Paddlefest last Saturday. While we did have our fair share of weather and equipment challenges, we were SO pleased to see so much responsible recreational activity taking place in English Bay. Jericho was teeming with new and experienced kayakers, paddleboarders, and canoers, and we are happy to say that many of them paused in their paddling to come greet us at the Georgia Strait Alliance display, taking our Caring Kayaker Pledge!

A sea of kayaks paddleboards and canoes! (Photo by R. Spencer)
We started our day with a few set-backs, but nothing the clipboard crew of MEC organizers couldn’t handle. Unable to enter our downtown Vancouver office to grab our tent, table, and chairs, Jessie called me calmly that morning to say “So…we might have a slight problem.” Not letting it throw off our game, we decided it was best for her just to come to Jericho, and we would find a way to get replacement equipment! After an hour of calling, asking, and politely standing next to MEC’s pile of extra tables and tents, one of the clipboard crew granted us with some equipment. Let the pledging and paddling begin!

A steady stream of folks decked out in wet suits, life jackets and beach attire stopped by our display on the sand to see what Georgia Strait Alliance was all about. We took the opportunity to promote our eight Stewards of the Strait Pledges -simple but effective ways you can ensure your recreational and living activities are more respectful of the marine environment. As this was a day of water sports, Jessie and I greeted passers-by with our Caring Kayaker Pledge.

Did you know that Caring Kayakers keep 100m from marine mammals and bird colonies?

Or that they keep their garbage contained, respect other paddlers, and report environmental problems to the proper authorities?

Jessie shows off the Stewards of the Strait Pledge Card
(Photo by M. Spencer)
As we tackled our windswept tent and packed up after another successful MEC Paddlefest, we reflected on our conversations with kayakers, boaters, and outdoor enthusiasts. Ultimately, many of them had the same interests as Georgia Strait Alliance -to promote the sustainability of Georgia Strait, its adjoining waters and communities. As recreational users of this exquisite water body, we agreed it is our responsibility as Stewards of the Strait to give back what we take from our marine experiences. Whether this is participating in a shoreline clean-up, or being a respectful kayaker, there are endless ways to show our adoration of the ocean and preserve it for future generations. Want to share why you love the Georgia Strait? Submit a comment or video clip to our Communities Atlas, or perhaps find us on Facebook and Twitter, we would love to hear from you!

Keep on kayaking 🙂

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