This past weekend was the first official Kayak Day in Raymond held by the Willapa Chamber of Commerce.
"We hope to make Raymond a kayaking destination," said Michelle Layman of the Willapa Chamber of Commerce.
With the official launching on the new kayak dock recently installed at the Raymond City Dock, it did not take long for kayak enthusiasts to start lining up, getting their inspections and taking to the water.
"We have just shy of 50 people checked in and it is only 11:30," remarked Layman.
The event, a first in Raymond, had just started 30 minutes earlier and the kayaks were loaded all over the dock waiting for the official time to get in the water.
Participants had opportunity to get prizes as well as learn about the new kayak launching apparatus.
"We have scattered rubber ducks along the rout for people to gather up. If their number matches a prize number they will be a winner."
There was also a raffle for a new kayak that was purchased from fundraising, and the winning ticket was drawn for Buddy Warren, who had only purchased one ticket in his name but several for his wife. Every one of the final count of 60 participants went home with a prize.
Dennis Company was also at the event showing items that they have available for the kayaker, and had their kayak representative to help people with fitting the person to the kayak and to answer any questions they may have about the sport itself. Additionally the Department of Fish and Wildlife was on hand taking to people about boat and kayak safety.
"It is important that people have a whistle as well as their own personal floatation device before they enter the water," said Layman.
Those experienced in kayaking had all kinds of equipment with them from the required items to bilge pumps and cameras and many kayaks were outfitted with drink holders as well.
Once the launching started it became apparent how efficient the new kayak launch at the Raymond Dock was.
"The kayak dock that we selected had an additional bar along with a ramp to allow easier launching and disembarking for kayakers. The only thing that we ask is that they pull the ramp out of the water to help keep it clean and in good working order for everyone to enjoy."
Many first time kayakers also took the opportunity to launch and enjoy the water of the Willapa, and everyone was looking like they had a enjoyable time.
"We really did not know how many people to expect, but the turn out has just been fantastic," said Layman.
The new kayak dock has instructions posted near the launch, and is adjustable for any size kayak.
If you have not had the opportunity to take advantage of the new kayak dock, it is open and available now through the summer. And if you need a map of the area and were not at the Raymond Kayak Day to pick up one of the many available, you can stop by the Willapa Chamber of Commerce Visitor's Center at 415 Commercial Street in Raymond to get a copy of Paddle & Discover, the latest Willapa Harbor kayaking map pointing out areas as they lead out to Willapa Bay.