First Bridge Kayaking
Kayaking is one of the most rapidly growing water sports.
Where are your tours conducted?
- Where are your tours conducted?
- Who conducts your nature tours?
- How stable are kayaks?
- How long are your tours?
- Will I need to learn the Eskimo Roll?
- Do you offer paddle lessons?
- How much do kayaks cost?
- Do I need reservations to go on a tour?
- What kayak is right for me?
- What will I expect to see and learn on a guided tour?
- Are kayaks similar to canoes?
- Can I bring my children?
- How long should my paddle be?
- What should I bring on a trip?
- What determines the potential speed of a kayak?
- What kind of kayaks do you rent?
- What differenciates paddles?
- Do you conduct kayak tours in the rain?
- How much weight will kayaks hold?
- Should I be conserned with my visibility on the water?
- Double(Tandem) vs. Single(Solo) kayaks.
- Do I need a spray skirt for my kayak?
- Sit-on-top vs. Sit-in-style kayaks
- What different uses can kayaks have?
- What is tracking?
- Do I need paddle lessons?
- Are there any restrictions or requirements for kayaking?
- How can I transport my kayak?
- What should I bring on my kayak trip?
- Your question is not here?
Please let us know
Our tours are conducted at the estuary within the Great Bay Wildlife Management Area between Little Egg Harbor and Great Bay's as well as the New Jersey Pine Barrens and other magnificent waterways throught our local watershed. Undisturbed wetlands and unparralled beauty, offer a bounty of exotic birds and other wildlife. We are also very rich with maritime and cultural, historic places which are often discussed on our tours. New "Kayak Tours" include,lunch and dinner cruises along the majestic Tuckerton Creek as well as tours departing from the Tuckerton Seaport.
Who conducts your nature tours?
Kayak tours at First bridge Marina & Kayaks are guided by experienced kayak enthusiast, naturalists and environmentalists. They have extensive back ground in field ecology and biology and have worked or are currently working for organizations and schools such as the American Littoral Society, Clean Ocean Action, Rutgers University Field Station, Stockton College.
How stable are kayaks?
Stability depends on a few factors, namely hull design and width. There are many different hull designs that feature more cambered or round surfaces as well as more flat designs, which include grooves or keels at the bottom. The "general rule of thumb", the wider the kayak the more stable, a narrower(tippy) kayak tends to be faster.
How long are your tours?
Our tours are designed to attract the interest of beginner and advanced paddlers. The basic tour is approximately an hour and a half to two hours and is recognized as the Atlantis/Hens Claw. These tours are conducted within the back sheltered creek areas and are very relaxing, taking time for periodic stops along the way for explanations of the intricasies of the salt marsh ecosystems. The abundance of birds, plants and other wildlife create the best outdoor classroom environment imaginable. We also offer longer, more challanging, customized trips, to include; Tuckerton Creek (3-4Hr), Pinelands Estuary (3-5Hr), Sunset (2.5-3Hr, and Camp-N-Tour (Overnight. These particular tours, because of the length and conditions, will require additional preperations and provisions. Paddlers will be subject to varying winds and tides, with exposure to open bay. People must know their limitations and we reserve the right to refuse anyone who is not physically fit to make the journey. If you are in doubt of your ability to complete any kayak trip, chances are you should not attempt to go. Start out small, perhaps with a simple kayak demo. Self-guided trips are also encouraged. Always bring a friend, preferably someone with experience and a proper understanding of the area you want to kayak. Remember, experience is not needed on shorter guided trips, as these are designed for the beginner. Kayaking is especially fun and enjoyable to those who take the time to learn before you go.
Will I need to learn the Eskimo Roll?
Eskimo Rolls are performed for the purpose of righting a boat in the event you should capsize due to wave action or instability. If you do not feel comfortable with the stability of a particular boat, chances are the boat is not right for you, at least, not for the time being. As you improve your kayaking skills and feel more comfortable with your boat, more advanced techniques can be performed, preferably with the advice of a professional or experienced kayaker.
Many recreational kayaks have cockpits large enough that should you start to roll, chances are you will just need to wet exit the kayak.
Do you offer paddle lessons?
As with all activities on the water, safety is our first concern. Prior to all trips, lessons on paddling and safety are given, unless your experience warrants otherwise as you may instruct. Beginners will most certainly be given lessons as will anyone willing to listen to some helpful hints.
How much do kayaks cost?
Kayaks range in price primarily do to the materials used in the manufacturing process. Fiberglass and other composite materials tend to be more expensive than boats made of polyethylene or plastic. Plastic, recreational kayaks tend to be less expensive and can perform basic kayak manuvuers. Performance kayaks tend to be more expensive and are usually made of light weight materials for speed and efficiency. Most plastic kayaks price well under $1000.00. Smaller kayaks under 10 feet in length for example may average $350.00 to $500.00. Twelve to forteen foot boats aproximately $500.00 to $700.00
Do I need reservations to go on a tour?
Absolutely. Reservations are essential, as we must make accomodations for different sized groups as well as to confirm guide availability. We have regularly scheduled trip days and times, however, reservations are still required.
What kayak is right for me?
Finding out what kayak is right for you, can be as simple as trying it out before you buy it. Most of us for example, prefer to drive a car before we buy it, kayaks are no different. Remember, however, you first learned to ride a bike before a car. Be patient and start out with a beginner level boat or borrow a friend's to see how you like it. Above all try not to make the process more complicated than it has to be. You may consider joining a kayak club. We are affiliated with a local club, "Great Bay Paddlers" were members get together and try different destinations. Also, consider demos and rentals as a means to try out kayaks.
What will I expect to see and learn on a guided tour?
Expect to see many beautiful birds, flora, funa and learn the intricacies of our unique wetlands ecosystem. Also, you will learn and experience our local culture and heritage. Here is were our expert guides will enlighten your senses and bring nature into perspective with respect to the importance of our stewardship to this wonderful earth. This is an excellent time to show your children and friends how much you care to share your own phylosophy about the environment. Sunsets overlooking the marina and surroundings are the most spectacular you may see in a life time. Cameras are always welcome provided you can keep them dry.
Are kayaks similar to canoes?
Kayaks and canoes are similar yet different. Canoes tend to offer tremendous weight and storage capacity for carrying lots of gear. Kayaks offer better performance. Although there are white water canoes, kayaks perform in a variety of water conditions. Your center of gravity is also lower in a kayak, creating the feeling of being litterally in the water; similar to the way a duck floats along.
Can I bring my children?
Obviously, you know your children better than we do. Our tours are educational and fun. You get the benefit of kayaking while learning about the environment at the same time. Children love to kayak. The added advantage of learning creates an excellent way to share your feelings about the environment to your children. The tours require sitting, listening, and participating, similar to that of a classroom. Most kids are used to that. You must have the ability to paddle your child back should they be to tired. The experience is always better shared. Some customized tours, however, are not appropiate for children. This is primarily do to the fact that they may be considerably longer time out on the water as well as different times during the day or evening. If you have any questions or concerns, please inquire in advance of your trip. Children must be twelve or over (at our descretion) and accompanied by a parent or guardian to participate on any guided trip with the exception of organized group trips such as with schools and troops.
How long should my paddle be?
The general rule of thumb, try not to be to technical. A paddle length may vary from 220cm to 240cm. Kids paddles can be smaller. It is perhaps more an issue of what boat you are paddlinng. Naturally, a wider boat may require more reach and therefore a slightly longer paddle may be needed. White water paddlers need to make quick turns and require the boat to react quickly to the paddle stoke. Touring paddlers enjoy the leverage a longer paddle can offer. Narrow blades and light weight paddles are great for endurance and less wind resistance.
What should I bring on a trip?
The elements can sometimes be harsh. The essentials include; water, snacks, sunscreen, bug spray(depending on the time of year), footwear. Some non-essentials may include; change of clothes, hat, towel, binoculars, waterproof camera and field guide. All of which are available at the store at reasonable prices.
What determines the potential speed of a kayak?
The dimensions and weight determine the speed of a kayak, of coarse the person paddling will ultimately make the difference. If you take two paddlers of equal ability and strength, the design,weight of the boat and water conditions may determine who would win a race. Long, narrow, light weight boats are great for touring. They tend to have less resistance to the wind and water. Similarly, you have the same effect with paddles. Resistance becomes a crucial factor in performance.
What kind of kayaks do you rent?
Our kayaks are recreational sit-on-top as well as sit-in style singles and double or tandem. We reserve the right to decide which kayaks are most appropriate for the tours. We try to utilize double kayaks first. This helps to make the group size smaller and more intimate for the guide as well as our clients. With advance notice, you can reserve a preferable kayak with any regular kayak rental or customized tour.
What differenciates paddles?
Paddles are made of varying materials such as fiberglass, plastic, aluminum and wood as well as other composite materials. It is both a matter of affordability as well as function. Touring paddles tend to have narrower blades so as to make them more aerodynamic; white water blades are generally wider in order to puch volumes of water faster for quick turning capacity. People enjoy wood paddles for their texture, look and light weight. Other paddles made of materials such as fiberglass and kevlar are more performance oriented with light weight construction. Paddles with aluminum shafts and plastic blades are very durable and perhaps the most commonly used by outfitters and recreational paddlers.
Do you conduct kayak tours in the rain?
Weather is always a concern. We have conducted tours in light rain. Safety of our clients is our first priority. Sometimes kayaking in the rain can be a very enjoyable experience. Depending on the forecast and intuition, tours may or may not be cancelled. If the weather is inclement, perhaps the tour will be rescheduled. Keep in mind, the weather at First Bridge location may be fine, while fifteen miles or a half hour away may be raining cats and dogs. Do not assume a tour is cancelled without first confirring with our staff.
How much weight will kayaks hold?
Most weight capacities are clearly stated within the manufacturers specifications, which can be found in your owners manual or brochure from your local dealer. Naturally, you do not want to pack ten pounds of mud in five pound sack. Use discretion when planning your next kayak trip. Most recreational kayaks are designed to carry you and some light gear. Play it safe and carry only the essentials.
Should I be conserned with my visibility on the water?
Visibility is especially important where boat traffic is prevelant. Some people prefer to be a little less visible for the purpose of blending in with the environment to observe nature and wildlife. Since you are low in the water, you become less visible to others while in a kayak.
It is of coarse your choice. Be aware of others as they may not notice you right away. Wear brightly colored clothing and life vests for added visibility. You may also choose kayak colors such as lime, yellow, or red for extra visibility. Blues and greens may tend to blend in with the water. If you are making a decision for your children in terms of kayak color, make it bright and highly visible.
Double(Tandem) vs. Single(Solo) kayaks.
Double kayaks offer versatility and tremendous weight capacity. Some double kayaks can be converted into a single with a few adjustments. Tandem kayaks are great for those preferring company on their kayak trips and having the ability to pack more gear. Single kayaks are great for those looking to blaze their own way through the waterways. The actual weight of a single kayak is generally much lighter. Double kayaks range from 60-80lbs. while singles are approximately 30-60lbs.
Do I need a spray skirt for my kayak?
Spray skirts are used on decked boats for the purpose of shedding water away from the inside of the cockpit or opening. Whether or not you wear a spray skirt, may depend on several factors, such as water conditions and or the time of year you are paddling. You may think of it in terms of driving a convertible car. Cover when appropriate. In colder weather, skirts also help to retain the heat. You have to measure your own comfort zone. If you are going to attempt wearing gear to thwart cold weather, always go prepared and know your limitations. Practice in warm weather and build your confidence level with an experienced paddler.
Sit-on-top vs. Sit-in-style kayaks
Sit-on-top and sit-in style kayaks can provide a variety of applications unique to the boat. For example, some boats provide excellent surfing abilities while others are better touring boats. Whether your in a sit-on-top or a decked kayak, each can provide mobility on the water and the option to perform in various situations. Sit-on-top kayaks tend to be more forgiving in the summer months, where a welcome breeze can cool you off. They also drain water quickly out of the scupper holes, giving them a self-bailing mechanism. A decked boat, on the other hand, can provide better protection in the cooler months. Many avid kayakers have more than one style kayak in the garage to cover different water conditions.
A good analogy would be like having a mountain bike and a touring bike for two different rides.
What different uses can kayaks have?
Uses are definitly not limited. Lakes, rivers, streams, bays and oceans are all great places for kayaking. You can also enjoy photography, fishing, exercise, racing, touring, diving as well as nature observation to name a few. Municipalities are also using kayaks in First Aid and Fire Departments for rescue and life saving on beaches and other waterways.
What is tracking?
Tracking is a term used in kayaking to discribe the ability of a kayak to stay in a stright line while paddling. Some kayaks have special hulls with grooves or keels, while others may lack these features for the purpose of maneuverability as with white water situations. Outfitted with a rudder, boats can navigate against crosswinds much easier. Longer boats tend to track better than shorter ones and are generally better for touring longer distances.
Do I need paddle lessons?
Paddle lessons are highly recommended. Even some basic paddle strokes can help compensate for boats that are longer and harder to steer. It is not rocket science, however, your safety is always important. Learn before you go. Ask questions, read a book, talk to other paddlers, or visit your local outfitter and save yourself possible aggrevation down the road.
Are there any restrictions or requirements for kayaking?
There is a fine line between what is required by law and plain common sense. You have heard of the old adage, "better to be safe than sorry". Always wear a life vest. It not only provides floatation, should you fall over board, it gives you additional padding for your back as well as thermal insulation against the cold. The laws do reqiure in certain states, persons under the age of twelve need to wear a floatation devise while a vessel is underway. Most livery operations require the use of a floatation devise. Remember, it can't help you if you're not wearing it. Some states also require you to register you kayak or boat, depending on if it has motorized power and the length. Check your state laws to be sure by contacting the State Police and or US Coast Guard. Another consideration, is public access. Many rivers and stream banks are located on private lands. Know your limitations and do not assume all property is public. It shows respect to know before you go.
How can I transport my kayak?
Transporting your kayak can be achieved in many ways. Roof racks for example, come in all shapes and sizes to fit almost every vehicle. There are craddle and J-rack designs as well as simple tie downs. Many can be adapted to fit an existing rack. Others can be retrofitted with special hooks or attachments. Talk to your local outfitter who can help properly fit you vehicle with a rack system. Skates or dollies are also used to transport kayaks and can be used on a variety of terrain. They consist of large wheels which attach to the kayak in order to move with great ease. We at First Bridge Marina always put the customer needs first, and best suit any application to the individual.
What should I bring on my kayak trip?
A big concern while on any kayaking trip is the potential for hypothermia, especially while on lakes. Lakes tend to be cold the majority of the year and you should use caution. Once again, common sense should prevail. Know your limitations. While exercising at the gym, you drink lots of water to avoid dehydration. Kayaking is no different. Even though your kayaking on the water, most water you can not drink. Bring bottled water and always have a spare set of clothes. Sunscreen is another necessity. You can really fry while out on the water. There tends to be a tremendous amount of light reflecting off the water. Snacks for energy. A lot of times you may need a sudden burst of energy while making your way back from a trip. A waterproof bag for your essentials will also come in handy. Always remember to attach a leash to things that could potentially float away such as your paddle and other important items.
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