01690 720214

Introduction to Sea Kayaking

Course Overview

A five day course for paddlers who want to specialise in sea kayaking. It'll give you a basic knowledge of the sea and the kayak handling techniques specific to salt water, whilst also taking you through planning a coastal journey, tides, weather forecasting and sea safety. The North Wales coastline provides ideal venues for exciting and inspirational exploratory journeys.

Experience Required

Confident flat water paddler

Scheduled Dates

Detailed Course Notes

You should be 18 years old to attend this course.

Who is it for?
This course is for any flat water paddler who would like to explore the interesting and diverse environment of the sea.  You should already be able to paddle a general purpose kayak in a consistent straight line, and paddle a course with controlled turns to the left and right.  You should also be reasonably fit.

If you have no experience of the sea but have good paddling skills you could benefit from this course as it is knowledge and seamanship that turns you into a sea kayaker.

Course Content 
We will begin by getting comfortable with specialist sea kayaks.  These are designed to cover distance in a straight line, and to hold expedition equipment, and require specific techniques.  Once you have mastered the basics, we will go on a variety of journeys, exploring the beautiful North Wales coastline and developing your skills.  We intend to look at:

  • Turning a sea kayak

  • Coping with a following sea

  • Coping with a beam sea

  • Launching and landing

  • Efficient forward paddling

  • Towing

  • Rescues

  • Understanding tides

  • The Coastguard Service

  • Planning a coastal journey

  • Safety at sea

  • Equipment for sea kayaking

Useful Books

The following books may be of interest to you before or after you come on the course.

  • Canoe and Kayak Handbook BCU Publication
  • Sea Kayaking by John Dowd
  • Sea Kayak Navigation by Franco Ferrero
  • Sea Kayaking by Nigel Foster

What's Included In The Price?

Whether you choose to stay with us or you have alternative accommodation nearby, the following items are included in the total cost.

    Free tea, coffee or selected hot drinks for the duration of your visit
    Afternoon tea & homemade cakes
    Kayak or canoe hire
    Secure boat storage (if you choose to bring your own boat)
    Equipment hire
    Free (low-speed) wifi access in the bar & dining room
    In course transport
    Railway station pick up & drop off (please call to arrange)
    Parking with CCTV surveillance
    Free use of climbing wall, gym, MTB skills course & rolling pool

    If you choose to stay with us, these items are also included in the total cost:

    Accommodation the night before your course
    Accommodation during your course
    Breakfast & evening meal
    Bar Lunch/packed lunch

Accommodation For This Course

Plas y Brenin Main House

Your course is based at Plas y Brenin, The National Mountain Sports Centre in Capel Curig, North Wales, LL24 0ET.

If you are staying with us,

If you have chosen to add accommodation onto this course or holiday it is usually in the main house in a comfy en-suite room (normally shared with another guest). Each room has tea and coffee making facilities and all bed linen and towels are provided.

This includes accommodation the night before your first day. Your room will be available from 6pm. On your last day you will need to vacate your room by 10am. It is sometimes possible to arrange to stay an extra night please phone 01690 720214 for availability and cost.

Secure storage facilities, showers and toilets are available for you to use on your departure day once you have checked out of your room should you need them, please ask at reception.

Also included, if you chosen to add accommodation, are all your meals - breakfast, packed lunch, afternoon tea and freshly baked cakes and a three course evening meal. Please bear in mind an evening meal is not provided on the night before your course or on the last day of your course but our bar will be serving meals from 7.00pm until 8.45pm.

If you are are not staying with us but coming in each day,

If you choose to come in daily for your course or holiday you will need to arrive ready for a 9am welcome talk on the first day. For the rest of your course or holiday you will need to be here for 9.15am. We return from a full day of activity, usually in time for tea and cakes at 5pm (included).

There are more activities from 5.30 - 6.30 on some days of your course or holiday, please check on the first day.

For most of our awards and qualification courses there will be further evening sessions on some days which you need to attend, please check on the first day.

There is an 8pm adventure talk by one of our coaches on Saturday, Monday and Wednesday evenings which you are welcome to come to. Find out more about the upcoming talks here.

On the final day you will be finished by 5pm.

For courses based on-site our bar will be serving lunches from 12pm until 2pm or you are welcome to bring a packed lunch.

If your course is based away from the centre then you will need to bring a packed lunch with you. Each evening our bar serves evening meals from 7pm until 8.45pm if you wish to eat here.

You can arrange to have any of the following meals - breakfast, packed lunch and a three course centre dinner, by contacting our customer services team on 01690 720214 or

follow this link for more details

What Equipment Do You Need To Bring?

  • Thin fleeces/thermals/rash vest for going under a wetsuit

  • Swimming costume/trunks

  • Wetsuit boots (or training shoes you're happy to get wet)

  • Wetsuit socks to wear with wetsuit boots/training shoes if cold

  • Warm clothes for when you get off the water

  • Warm hat, gloves, neck gaiter/buff, sun hat

  • Towel

  • Waterproof jacket and trousers

  • Drinks bottle

  • Flask

  • Lunch bag/box

  • Personal first aid kit

  • High factor sun screen

  • Midge repellant

  • Notebook and pen

The following items are available for you to borrow from our equipment stores free of charge so you don't need to rush out and buy them.

  • Wetsuit

  • Paddling cag

  • Buoyancy aid

  • Helmet

  • Dry bag

  • Large kit bag (for wet paddling kit)

  • Boat

  • Paddle

  • Spraydeck (if kayaking)

Our equipment stores stock wetsuits socks which you can purchase if you find you need them during your course

Customer Reviews For This Course

You couldn't have booked the weather but...

Gary Bennett

it was glorious.
Everything PyB could control was up to the same level as the weather. Instructors and assistants were real characters who knew their subject backwards. All the kit was high quality. Food and accommodation was great.
Of course, we knew this would be the case because we had been on the family introduction to paddling a few years ago. We came back to specialise in sea kayaks.
The end result was the same: a really memorable, fun week in the company of a great group of people.

Great Course, great venue, great food and an utterly brilliant week!

Paul Bibby

I was a regular Kayaker 20 years ago but after a lengthy gap a friend suggested a Sea Kayaking course. Staying on site made a big difference and the rooms were good and included an en-suite bathroom. The first day we met our instructor Adam and our fellow "students". We spent no time getting kitted out and managed to spend a couple of hours at sea on the coast of Anglesey on a gloriously hot day. Granted the weather is not often that great but the weather was kind all week and we were able to spend as much time on the water as possible each day. Adam gave everyone the benefit of his experience and we all learned a great deal about Sea Kayaking, not least how to stay safe and plan a day out on the water. We all came away with the confidence to plan a route based on the tides, wind and sea conditions. All the required kit was supplied and the drying room was welcome additional. The list of suggested kit prior to arrival was helpful but footwear was not included so a pair of neoprene boots is an advantage. The week was top class, busy days followed by tea and cakes on return and a three course evening meal. Breakfast and a large packed lunch were also included. We were certainly well fed! The bar was busy every night and we enjoyed the guest speakers in the evening. I was a bit gutted to go home but I look forward to visiting Plas y Brenin again in the near future.

A wonderful experience

Tessa Smith-Winnard

My daughter and really enjoyed our weekend of sea kayaking. The instructors were great the other people friendly and it made for a lovely weekend.
We did however think it might be helpful to raise a few niggles which you might find helpful. Firstly the accomodation was great apart from the smoke alarm in the centre of the ceiling which emitted a green glow after putting out the lights. Also the mattress springs were distinctly pinging and not supportive.
These problems did not detract from what was a wonderful experience for us but we thought it worth mentioning.

Kind regards

A great week.

John Fox

More of a canoeist, I had always fancied the idea of sea kayaking, but was intimidated by the thought of being offshore out of range of dry land! Previous experience of courses in PYB gave me the confidence to have a go and, through Sid's calm and confident instruction I had one of my most interesting and enjoyable weeks on (or off) the water. His approach to doing as much as possible actually on the water really worked for me, and skills and confidence grew quickly during the week. In fact I left with motivation to do more - another boat in the garage! I can't speak too highly of the instructors at PYB and, supported by helpful admin and excellent accommodation, the off-water relaxation was great. I should also add that the fellow group members also contributed with a great approach and lots of banter. A great week.

Sid's Fantastic Voyage

Duncan Wood-Allum

5 days Sea Kayaking with Sid was spot on.

He combined a chilled out style with razor sharp knowledge and surf savvy to ensure we were safe on the water.

His ability to read the needs of the group members was brilliant - we all had a great time and learned a lot about the joys (and risks!) of paddling in the sea.

Sea Caves, diving terns, great birdlife and lots of seals made this an epic week.

Sid's evening lecture despite being disrupted twice through a fire alarm was brilliant - this guy can paddle and tell a good tale to boot.

Plas has delivered yet again and should be proud of what Sid is doing to encourage more people onto the water.

Well done and looking forward to the next trip!


Andy Smyth

With some trepidation I signed up for the 5 day Introduction to Sea Kayaking course during early April 2011. I hadn't been in a Kayak for some years and memories came flooding back of capsizing all too frequently.

PYB provided all the necessary equipment and in a Force 5 gale the first class took place on the river at the back of the centre... the capsize was an inevitability!

5 days later I was confident on the water, had developed a basic knowledge of rescue techniques and will never again look out to sea without taking in the conditions, the shape of the waves, the direction of the wind.

Dave Simpson did an excellent job of patiently policing my enthusiasm on the Menai Straights and provided the entire group with a thorough overview of the safety issues that must be given consideration when venturing out onto open water.

By the end of the week I was sufficiently 'Hooked' enough to purchase the Kayak belonging to the Course Director Pete Catterall and have now completed 2 circumnavigations of the Gt. Orme in Llandudno, albeit on nice sunny days with calm seas, gentle breezes and good visibility.

My thanks must go to Dave, Pete and the team for what was a very informative and practical introduction which has provided me with the confidence to get out there paddling! Thanks guys.

Great instructors and a very enjoyable 5 day course

Mark Conlen

I was very impressed by the quality of tuition and Sid, our instructor was first rate (as were Dave and Dino who also helped during the week). The pace of instruction was just right for an introductory course and the relevant techniques were demonstrated and taught very well. The equipment provided was of a high standard and it was possible to choose from a wide range of kayaks. Each day was different and whilst rough seas prevented a couple of planned trips, the alternatives that Sid organised were great fun and entirely appropriate. I particularly appreciated the fact that he explained the reasons for the decisions made. He was highly experienced and inspired great confidence in what, for me, was a new and challenging environment. I'm a secondary school teacher myself and his instructional skills were excellent and he had a natural gift for communicating to complete novices like myself. He was also very good company and had a genuine and friendly manner.

The facilities at Plas y Brenin were even better that my last visit, which was a few years ago and the food once again was excellent with plenty of choice, large servings and friendly catering staff. The bar was a useful place to meet with fellow students in the evenings and I find the the whole Play y Brenin package works very well and is good value for money. I will be returning next year for another course.

Glenn Cooper

Just attended Intro to Sea Kayak April 2010. Very enjoyable course. I'd paddled before which helped me but it wouldn't have mattered. Excellent instruction from Dave. Pushed the comfort zone envelope a little but that's why you go isn't it?
Took some extra food for lunch but didn't eat it. Lunch provided was enough. Did take isotonic drinks which were good.
PYB provide wet suit and cag but take some other clothing with you that will keep you warm when wet if you can, maybe one of those neoprene snood things and a waterproof camera too.
If you are unsure whether to commit 'cos you're on your own just do it. Everyone very friendly on all other courses as well , you will meet some decent people.
Now just gotta sneak a Capella 160 into the garage when the wife isn't looking...........



I had an absolutely brilliant week on this course. The original plan, posted on the notice board on Sunday, was changed to fit around the weather. This meant we had four great days paddling around the Anglesey coastline - everywhere from Bull Bay and near Holyhead to the Menai Straits. We had one really bad weather day, which we spent practising rescues on the lake in the morning and developing water confidence, rescue & rolling skills in the afternoon.

Roger was a great instructor. Everyone on the course was really friendly, and we had plenty of laughs (including putting a sea kayak through the back window of the minibus ... best avoided :p). Really good food, and really good accommodation with helpful staff.

Excellent course


I booked this in some trepidation, having been nowhere near any kind of kayak for many years. However I really didn't need to worry. We had a good practice session on the lake on day 1 while I demonstrated my extremely poor steering ability. The next 4 days were spent off the Anglesey coast, each trip chosen to give us conditions that we could generally cope with, that also extended our skills a little each day.
Instructor Nick was brilliant, his relaxed approach enabled us to enjoy ourselves, while all the time keeping a careful eye on our safety. He inspired confidence. And even if the weather was a little wet, the wildlife very obligingly came out to play. Being followed by seals was a real experience!
Plas y Brenin accommodation and food provided the perfect base for the week. If this course tempts you, don't hesitate to give it a try.

Top Course

Philip Penn

I went on the course with only BCU 1 * Kayak completed in the distant past, mainly an open canoe man, harder to fall out of!

The course was great ,excellent equipment, excellent accomodation and food. Above all very excellent coaches, Syd being the top man.

Leant many new skills and will be coming back for the Intromediate next year.

Not found what you were looking for?

You can hire one of our coaches instructors or guides from only £250 per day. They'll tailor the day to suit your aims and aspirations perfectly.
You can enjoy one to one coaching for that cost or if you get together as a group, depending on the activity, you can split that cost between up to 6 of you. If you are a group we can run any of our courses on a date that suits you and your friends. Or you could just write your own agenda for a week or weekend and we'll price it up for you - with or without accommodation. What's more, just like out normal course fees, our private instructor hire charge covers all your equipment too. Click on the link below to fill in a request form and one of our coaches will call you back (or e-mail if you'd prefer) to discuss things in detail with you.

Fill in a Callback Form

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