History of kayaking

Kayaking: The History

Kayaks were originally used by the inhabitants of the Arctic region. The primary purpose, of course, was for hunting and fishing expeditions in the waters that were surrounding the area. These crafts have been around for over 4000 years. They were designed to be well maneuvering boats that were fast. They served their purpose and have since evolved.

The word kayak actually means man’s boat when translated literally from its origins. This was referring to the fact that it was made and used by its creator. In other words, the maker used and took much pride in his personal craft.



Original Kayak Designkayak launch southern md

The original design of the first kayaks was to build a wooden frame and to have it covered with sealed animal skins. Many of the first kayaks were made of driftwood as there were no trees in the areas that they were first made. The skin that was traditionally used was that of a seal as they were plentiful in the area at the time. The original kayak was made by both the husband and wife. The wives would help by making the insert that made the boat watertight. This allowed the kayak to more easily roll and avoid capsizing.


How The Designs Have Progressed

As the kayaks have aged, so have their manufacturing methods. There is no longer a need to put in long, hard hours to make your own kayak.  Kayaks are readily available for purchase and rent.  Kayaks in the 1950’s were usually made from. The fabric was stretched over the wood frame.  Later in the 70’s the process progressed to include fiberglass which is more durable. Now kayaks are made primarily of a durable yet flexible plastic.


Where to launch your kayak in St. Mary’s County.

No matter what type of kayak you have we invite you to launch from Historic St. Mary’s City.