Sea Kayak Lessons for Every Skill Level

Sea kayak lessons for beginning to advanced paddlers. Classes are at a relaxed pace. Multi-day courses include camping in the San Juan Islands, WA. The best sea kayak lessons and instructional classes in the San Juan Islands can be found in Anacortes, Washington. Join our professional, certified kayak coaches for an adventure in learning. Call now for help planning your trip!

Join our professional, certified kayak coaches for an adventure in learning. Classes are at a relaxed pace but intended to help build and strengthen your skills so a challenge is part of the fun. We have classes for beginners or those new to sea kayaking up to advanced. We even offer a Master Course to prepare you for planning a sea kayaking adventure of your own.

The Blue Otter coaching staff have invested years of apprenticeship under some of the top kayak instructors in North America, and Europe. Their certifications are recognized globally. We use contemporary instructional techniques to help you train your mind and body for the fastest possible acquisition of kayaking skills. Most importantly, we focus on maximizing the fun while learning!

Our primary mission is to expand involvement in paddlesports in the Pacific Northwest. We want to inspire you to pursue paddling for whatever purposes enhance your life. Paddling is good for the body and soul, it provides community, personal challenges, and achievable goals.

We love to help people of all ages and abilities. Young professionals who are looking for an outlet will appreciate the opportunity for fast progression of skills, and the fun days spent in the beautiful coastal environment of the San Juan Islands National Monument. It won’t take long before you will feel comfortable heading out on your own trips into the San Juan Islands.

Level One


Get Started

Beginning Skills
Strong foundation skills
Strong foundational skills is the fastest way to becoming a safe and competent paddler. Learn body awareness, basic strokes, self-rescue, and assisted rescue techniques in these beginner kayak classes. Become familiar with your equipment and how to utilize it for the most benefit. This is a great place to start learning how to roll too!
Level One

Level Two


Strong Skills

Intermediate Skills
Dynamic environments
Use your flat water kayaking skills and learn to apply them to a dynamic tidal environment. Gain the competence to plan a safer kayaking trip in places like the San Juan Islands and British Columbia. Learn advanced rescue techniques, kayak rolling, incident management, and effective paddling skills, all on moving water.
Level Two

Level Three


Pro Level Skills

Advanced Skills
These courses explore the most exciting tidal conditions we can find in Deception Pass and the San Juan Islands. Our expert coaches will expand your knowledge of sea kayaking. Learn dynamic risk assessment, rough water rescues, playing in tidal races, and group leadership. Become the bombproof paddler that you want to be.
Level Three

Blue Otter Kayak Coaches

Coach Alex LaLonde, 4-Star Leader Award

Alex LaLonde

Alex has worked internationally as a trip leader in the UK and has also led many trips on the coast of Maine. When he isn’t on the water he enjoys rock climbing, which he also teaches as a certified AMGA instructor. Leadership and coaching are in his blood and it shows!

Qualifications: Alex LaLonde holds a 4-star Leader Award and is a certified coach with British Canoeing. He also holds his Level 4 ACA Whitewater Instructor certification. Additionally he is an AMGA Single Pitch Instructor and a Wilderness First Responder.

Ted Tetrault, Kayaking Coach with  4-Star Leader Award

Ted Tetrault

Ted served our country in the United States Marine Corps before enrolling in the university and he brings his attention to detail into his current life as a trip leader and instructor. He has worked in Mexico, led trips in the UK, and is currently working through the winter months as a trip leader in Chile. In his limited spare time he writes about paddlesports and is a photographer whose work has been published in Ocean Paddler magazine.

Qualifications: Ted Tetrault holds a 4-star Leader Award for Sea Kayaking, a 4-star Leader Award for Whitewater and is a certified coach with British Canoeing. He also holds climbing instruction certifications, and is a Wilderness First Responder.





When we first met Alex and Ted we knew that they were something special. They display the perfect blend of professionalism, kindness, curiosity, and high-spirited energy that are the hallmarks of every great kayak instructor that we have known. On the water they demonstrate incredible competency with a modesty that makes everyone feel at ease. You won’t detect any swagger about them despite their many accomplishments. As coaches both men have a surprisingly sensitive eye for detecting what their students are doing and how they might improve for better success. Almost immediately we understood what they could contribute to our local paddling community, and to people looking to enter the sport. 

Both Alex and Ted graduated with degrees in Expeditionary Studies from SUNY Plattsburgh with an emphasis on Paddlesports. Studying under Steve Maynard, one of the most pedigreed coaches in North America, they developed a strong philosophy about coaching, leadership, and expeditionary planning.

At the university they quickly became close friends and embarked on several international adventures. Traveling to Europe allowed them to paddle in the complex tide races of Scotland and Wales and also gave them the opportunity to earn their Kayak Leadership (4 star) Awards and UKCC Paddlesport Coach certifications through British Canoeing, the most respected international paddlesport organization in the world.

Both men are also avid whitewater kayakers and hold ACA Level 4 Whitewater Instructor awards. After college they traveled together to Nepal and kayaked down some of the big rivers in that mountainous country.

Drill Down: Learn Core Sea Kayaking Skills

Are you looking to strengthen a specific sea kayak skill? Find the class that fits you best! Use this guide to zero in on the Level One, Level Two, and/or Level Three classes that will help you develop killer sea kayaking skills and 'take your game' to the next level.

Get Ready For Classes


We provide you and your party with world class instructors. Your instructor(s) will create a route and lesson plan curated for you and your objectives and personal goals.

  • Route.
  • Campsights.
  • Logistics.
  • First aid and rescue gear.
  • Transportation if needed.



  • Enough food and water to keep you happy, and stored in waterproof containers.
  • A water bottle and water storage.
  • Perhaps a candy bar or a snack for out on the water.


  • Sea Kayak. (If you do not have one then we can rent you a package.)
  • Drysuit. You will be getting wet.
  • Paddle, spray skirt, other related gear.
  • Life jacket.
  • Tow belt.
  • First aid.
  • Dry bags.
  • Overnight trips: camp gear (i.e. tent and sleep system)
  • Layered clothing for warmth. Avoid cotton.
  • Dry clothing for after the class.
  • Tow belt.

However, if you do not own or have access to  a sea kayak or paddling gear and need to rent from us we are happy to help! You can rent a kayak and all paddle equipment for an additional $30 a day and an extra $15 a day for the dry suit. We do not provide food, so make sure you plan and pack accordingly.


For multi-day kayak camping trips participants are responsible for bringing their own camping gear and food. We have a limited supply of camping gear that we can rent. Call for details.


Location: Deception Pass State Park. Some classes will be conducted from nearby Skyline Marina. We will inform you of changes to the class locations. Thank you!)

We will meet in the parking lot at Bowman Bay on the north side of the Deception Pass Bridge. Some classes will launch from Cornet Bay on the south side of Deception Pass State Park, but we will meet here first.

(Approximately 90 minutes from Seattle; 1-hour from Bellingham)

Plan on purchasing a Discover Pass, or paying $10 for parking in Deception Pass State Park.

  1. Exit 230, Highway 20, head west towards Anacortes, San Juan Islands.
  2. WEST on Highway 20 for 11.5 miles, get in LEFT TURN LANE to continue on Highway 20, follow signs to Deception Pass and Oak Harbor
  3. Continue on Hwy 20 for 5 miles to ROSARIO ROAD, take RIGHT. (Pass Lake will be on your right at this point)
  5. LEFT at first stop sign, follow into dirt parking lot
  6. Look for our brown Kayak Shack near the trees.
  7. Washington State Parks require a Discover Pass for parking at Bowman Bay. You can purchase a day pass for $10 cash in Bowman Bay on the day of your trip; or you can purchase an annual pass for $35.
view the map on Google

Location: Skyline Marine for Equipment Pick-Up/Drop-Off.

To our storefront in Anacortes
(Approximately 90 minutes from Seattle; 1-hour from Bellingham)

  1. Exit 230, Highway 20, head west towards Anacortes, San Juan Islands.
  2. Follow Hwy 20 SPUR into Anacortes
  3. Hwy 20 turns into COMMERCIAL AVE
  4. Follow COMMERCIAL AVE. into town
  5. CONTINUE straight towards 12th St
  6. Turn LEFT on 12th St, which will turn into Oaks Ave; continue straight
  7. Passing the ferry turnoff on your right, continue straight onto Sunset Ave
  8. Turn LEFT onto Skyline Way
  9. Drive down Skyline Way until you see the Skyline Marine Center on your left: it's a big tan building with a red trim.
  10. Park outside and walk in through the double doors to check in with our staff in the office; we'll show you where to find long-term parking.
View the Map on Google

Legal Info:

Liability Form **A liability/release form must be read and signed prior to participation.

Cancellation Policy **Please read our Cancellation Policy