Kayak trip in the marsh Canoeing the creek Kayaking in early spring Canoeing into the sunset Canoeing at the Wade-In
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Canoe & Kayak Volunteer

Job Description

Canoe/Kayak Volunteers assist Naturalists on canoe/kayak trips for schools and the general public. Trips occur on weekends, weekdays, and evenings. Canoe/Kayak Volunteers are vital to the Estuary Center programs.

Volunteer Commitment

Canoe/Kayak Volunteers are asked to commit to specific trip dates as they become available. Seasonal trip schedules are sent to volunteers about one month prior to the first trip. The season is from late March through mid November; however, volunteers are not required to assist with a specific number of trips per year. A schedule is created seasonally so volunteers have the opportunity to work around their own schedule. Additional trips may become available on short notice and will also be offered to volunteers.

Minimum Qualifications

Canoe/Kayak Volunteers must have the following qualifications.

  • strong canoe/kayak skills
  • fit and able-bodied to handle walking distances while carrying boats, towing a boat with yours, lifting them over your head, boating in adverse conditions, etc.
  • strong interpersonal skills to interact positively with the public
  • ability to follow direction
  • at least 5 years of prior canoe/kayak experience
  • ability to properly tie knots to hold canoes/kayaks or willing to learn
  • completion of a course by the American Canoe Assoc., the American Red Cross or similar organization


Sample Tasks

  • arrive early to assist in taking canoes/kayaks out of shed and preparing for trip
  • stay late to assist in putting canoes/kayaks and equipment away
  • help participants with fitting their lifejackets
  • tie and untie canoes/kayaks
  • unload and load canoes/kayaks on trailer and carry them to put-in spot (includes lifting canoes/kayaks over head onto top rack of trailer)
  • assists with launching canoes/kayaks
  • the volunteer is the sweep, meaning they are always the last canoe/kayak and remain in this position for the duration of the trip
  • in a positive and polite fashion, volunteer should assist participants with learning strokes and techniques
  • during the trip, the volunteer should be on the lookout for any participants in trouble and assist when needed - this may involve switching participants from one boat to another in open water, towing a boat with yours, etc.


Training & Benefits

Volunteers will already have all the skills necessary (see Minimum Qualifications section above), but will receive specific training on our trip logistics and equipment. There are many benefits to becoming an *"active volunteer" at the Anita C. Leight Estuary Center, including seasonal volunteer appreciation trips, the annual volunteer dinner, skill and resume development, meeting new people, and lets not forget, spending time in a natural place (to mention just a few). *Please note: "Active volunteer" status is reached when you volunteer at least 20 hours a year.

How to Become a Volunteer

First, fill out a volunteer interest form and return it to the Anita C. Leight Estuary Center located at 700 Otter Point Road, Abingdon, MD 21009 or by fax at 410-612-0819. Second, you will be contacted in order to set up an interview by the Volunteer Coordinator. The interview is designed to help determine which volunteer opportunities will best suit both your needs and the current openings at the Estuary Center. Please remember the needs of our volunteer programs change so we may not always have openings in all program areas.



Monday thru Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Sunday, 12:00 noon to 5:00 p.m.



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Anita C. Leight Estuary Center / 700 Otter Point Road, Abingdon MD 21009 / 410-612-1688