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Commencement Bay / Tacoma Narrows

Description:  We are going to paddle from downtown Tacoma up the southwest side of Commencement Bay, around Point Defiance, and south in the Tacoma Narrows to Titlow Beach Park.  This will be a one-way paddle with a short car-shuttle.

Sign-up Requirements:

This is a 13 nautical-mile paddle that may be subject to wind waves and current effects and rips in the Narrows.

To sign up for this paddle, you need to be an intermediate or beyond paddler, you must have bracing, re-entry, and rescue training, skills and practice, and you must be able to paddle at a sustained 3 knots pace.  The required kayaking experience and skills need to be documented in your meetup-profile information and your answers to the sign-up questions.  If you do not answer the sign-up questions, your RSVP will be deleted.

Schedule and Itinerary:

7:00 a.m. - arrive at 21st Street Park, off-load the kayaks, and car-shuttle to the south end of the Titlow Park beach (15-minute drive each way).

8:00 a.m. - launch and paddle 7 n.m. northwest to a shore-stop at Owens Beach in Point Defiance Park, at ~10:45 p.m.

~ 11: 15 - leave Owens Beach, paddle 1 n.m. to Point Defiance and 5 n.m. south in the Tacoma Narrows, with a 2-knot flood current assist.

~ 1:15 p.m. - take-out at the south end of Titlow Park beach (adjacent to Steamers Seafood Cafe) and complete any required return car-shuttle.

~ 2:00 p.m. - lunch and beverage at Steamers Seafood Cafe,[masked]th Ave., Tacoma, WA 98465.


Carpooling is encouraged.  After there is some sign-up, sign-up-ees can arrange carpooling amongst themselves.

Conditions and Contingency:

This paddle is contingent upon reasonably safe wind and weather conditions. If the weather conditions are unsafe for this paddle, the paddle will be revised to a protected paddle, possibly a paddle within Commencement Bay, or rescheduled.

Equipment Requirements:

Kayak, paddle, pfd, paddlefloat, pump, sprayskirt, sunglasses, sunscreen, water and snacks, waterproof paddle jacket and hat in case of rain, warm clothes for any shore-stops, VHF radio if you have one, immersion gear.

Immersion Gear:

Wearing immersion gear (drysuit or wetsuit) is mandatory for this paddle.

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  • Aaron S

    Yes, I posted a lot of pix. 'Cause there were so many cool sights on this fascinating and varied paddle! The paddlers were a pleasure all, of course, and the weather was a little bit of everything, and just fine. Total 12.2 n.m., and seemed less, 'cause, well, ya get a little help in the Tacoma Narrows. :)

    October 27, 2013

  • Aaron S

    Morning, all. If any coordination is required, my cell phone is[masked]-3015. Let's meet at the 21st Street Park as planned, then we'll off-load the kayaks for launch at the public small-boat dock directly across the Foss Waterway from the park.

    October 27, 2013

  • Robert T.

    The Tacoma Narrows are a very exciting place to paddle. I wish I could go and I want to hear a trip report ESPECIALLY if you go through the Narrows.

    October 21, 2013

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