Advice on Autumn Sea Kayaking Lake Erie

Hi, new to the forum. I am an intermediate paddler, finally got my hands on a 17’ kevlar Wilderness Systems Tempest. I live in Pittsburgh and hit the rivers here, but would like to go up to Erie, or any of the Lakes for day paddles and longer. My experience is in and around SF Bay Area, day to multi-day, high winds and rough conditions. We are getting into the cold season, and I’ve never paddled a Great Lake, so there’s a bunch I don’t know. I would like advice on launch areas in the OH-PA-NY area, safety considerations, danger zones, Lake and season specific, weather condition resources. And if anyone has some fave books on paddling the Great Lakes.

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If you’re on FB, you’ll get good advice here: Facebook Groups

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Welcome & glad to have you here. If you want to go a bit farther look up Lansing Oar and Paddle (LOAPC - We do a wide range of paddles including open water on the Great Lakes. As you are from the Bay area there is a possibility that you may know one of our members from BASK - Steve Lida. Most years he organizes many of the open water trips as well as puts together some training.

Also worth checking out in the Michigan area (the center of the Great lakes) are:

Riverside kayak Connection:
The Power Of Water:
Uncommon Adventures:

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Another Pittsburgh sea kayak paddler here. I recommend you get in touch with Andrea Villaincourt, the ACA kayaking instructor who runs SeaBirds International. She’s a NY state licensed guide based in Buffalo. i took her sea kayaking fundamentals weekend course 5 years ago on Lake Erie near Evangola Park – it’s about a 3 hour drive from here. She also guides trip in the area.

The Explorers Club of Pittsburgh (of whom I have been a member since 1972) has a number of folks who enjoy open water day and overnight trips too. Anyone is welcome to come to the monthly general meeting the second Thursday of each month and you can join most trips whether you are a member or not (it’s only $20 a year to join anyway and we don’t haze you or ask for your first-born!)

I lived in West Michigan for a while and did some coastal paddling on Lake Michigan – those locations are 8 to 11 hours drive from Pittsburgh. Michigan is a more challenging lake than Erie, often with strong surf and rapidly changing conditions. Not optimal for solo outings, but there are paddling groups and good outfitters there.

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Never heard of Steve. I was doing some volunteer guiding with a group called ETC, we’d take differently abled people and at risk youth on sea kayak trips. I’ll definitely get out to MC.