Hillsborough County is offering kayaking lessons so newcomers to the sport can be safe and feel comfortable getting out on the water. Classes will take place at the Riverview Civic Center on Saturday, April 28 and Saturday, May 5.

If you or a family member is interested in exploring the many local water ways but are not sure how to get started, Hillsborough County has some good news. The Parks and Recreation Department recently started offering kayaking lessons at the Riverview Civic Center for residents 10 years and older.

The classes, which cost $20 a person, began in early April and will be offered every Saturday until May 5 on the Alafia River.

“Hillsborough County has so many beautiful waterways and we want to encourage people to explore them through kayaking,” said Dana McDonald, senior special events coordinator with Hillsborough County Parks and Recreation. “We understand that if you have never kayaked before, it can be daunting to try the first time.”

According to McDonald, the classes will last about two hours and each week will cover the same information, so it is not necessary to attend more than one session.

“The classes are small so that our students get individual attention,” said McDonald, who added that they are looking for about six students to participate in each session, which will be taught by a Hillsborough County employee. “This course teaches the basics as well as the safety measures families should take to ensure they have a fun time experiencing the natural environment.”

Equipment, including the kayaks, paddles and life jackets, are available for participants to use thanks to a partnership with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Participants are encouraged to dress appropriately as there is a high chance they will get wet.

“This is our first time offering the classes, but we would love to offer it again in the future if there is a good response from the community,” said McDonald.

For more information, call 252-0567. Residents can sign up for the classes at www.hillsboroughcounty.org. The Riverview Civic Center is located at 11020 Park Dr. in Riverview.