Sea kayaking is historically one of the earliest forms of paddling, with archaeological evidence suggesting highly developed craft and skilled hunter-fishermen as far back as 5000 BC.
Nowadays sea kayakers are not normally in the position of fishing for the family fare, but the craft are remarkably similar in lines to their museum antecedents.
If you are interested in trying out the sport, there are opportunities to join BCU organised trips and meets with experienced sea paddlers.
Sea kayaking is environmentally friendly and appeals to everyone who enjoys open spaces, salt air and the feeling of being at one with nature.
The sea is not, however, a big lake and the ocean has a temperament and character, which need to be understood. Weather, tides and charts should be considered and journeys planned. Not all sea paddling is on calm water and for some the essence of the sport is in meeting challenging conditions, undertaking long open crossings, or playing in overfalls and tide races.
A new development in recent years has been the introduction of sea racing.
Standard expedition sea kayaks are raced over distances up to 12 miles. All the races are friendly and informal and have touring classes.
Sea kayaking for many, however, is a quiet, individual experience to be enjoyed quietly, away from the crowds.
Canoeing is an activity that appeals to paddlers of every age and level of fitness.
The adventurous can attempt steep mountain streams, looking for the excitement of speed and action; others travel on the slower flowing rivers, lakes and is finding enjoyment in the scenery and countryside.
Recreational canoeing can be started at an early age, enjoyed by all members of the family continued on into retirement.
Recreation includes White Water Rafting and all other non- competitive activities. Even for the easiest waters all canoeists should be to swim at least 50 metres in canoeing clothing.
It is not sound practice to set out on a canoeing expedition alone, or without practice or experience.
On fast rivers and the sea, there should be at least three boats in a group, so that they can help each other if the need arises.
Start easy rivers or canals and work up gradually to waters. Do not attempt Sea or estuary canoeing until you have had more experience, can well and have learned about winds, tides and currents and buoyage.