Things That Matter to Us
Honesty and Integrity
We strive to use marketing language that represents a true picture of what our customers may reasonably expect to experience when they patronize our business. If you have a particular desire to see something, or a particular expectation then please let us know. We have every interest in ensuring that your needs are met. If we don’t feel that we can meet your expectations then we will freely express that to you.
Environmental and Social Responsibility
As a company that depends on a healthy environment to be successful, we put environmental stewardship at the top of our priority list. All of our operations are conducted in a way that reduces our impact. Wildlife viewing is done in an ethical fashion, and every place that we visit is left cleaner than we found it. Additionally, we volunteer a great deal of our free time to direct action stewardship in the San Juans, cleaning up beaches, maintaining trails, and servicing camp areas.
Even though we are fortunate to live in such a biologically diverse and incredible place as the San Juans, we understand the impact that irresponsible actions can have on the ecology of the islands. Because we do not burn fuel, because we move silently through the landscape, and because we are limited in our ability to move quickly, sea kayakers are generally very low impact. However we can be disturbing to nesting birds and resting seals if we do not take the proper precautions. Our guides are instructed to know how best to give wildlife enough space so as not to interrupt their activities and we seasonally avoid known bird nesting areas altogether simply as a safety precaution.
We are proud that we leave our islands cleaner than we found them, so don’t be surprised to see a small mountain of litter on your guide’s boat after a trip. We also practice “Leave No Trace” ethics on all of our camping trips and pack out everything that we bring in.
Land managers within the Department of Natural Resources and Washington State Parks have told us many times that the well-organized and professionally guided trips tend to be the best user groups in the San Juan Islands. We are able to help many people experience these places in a safe and thoughtful fashion, thereby creating advocacy for protecting the islands.
As engaged business owners we support our local community, and organic producers, by purchasing ingredients for our tours directly from the small farms in Skagit and Samish valleys, from the local Farmers Market, and from locally owned groceries.
Although we do these things because it is the “right thing to do”, our motives are not entirely altruistic. Our sons are growing up in this environment and we’d like to be assured that they come of age in a healthy place.
Redefining the Standard for Training Among Kayak Guides
We believe that having kayak guides with solid paddling skills, well developed systems for risk management, and comprehensive rescue training is important to our guests. In the San Juan Islands, Anacortes Kayak Tours continues to be the industry leader in raising the bar on staff preparation. In addition to formal training courses with high level coaches, our guides spend many additional days training in advanced conditions to prepare themselves for the responsibility of leading people on the water. We couldn’t be more proud of their personal commitment to their profession.
Being attentive to our customers’ needs is something that we take very seriously. Every effort is made to place them on the most appropriate trip to meet their expectations. We are readily available throughout the summer to answer questions and concerns, and we work hard to make certain that we provide consistent quality and attention to detail on all of our tours. Our high rate of returning customers is our reward, and we really appreciate your business!
First and foremost we operate the company on a foundation of integrity and trust. This means that we do not rely on exaggerations, overstatements, or misleading claims to sell kayak trips. On our own travels around the world we have been burned by “over eager” companies before and, quite frankly, it sucks. We aren’t interested in building unreasonable expectations simply to sell you a trip, our trips speak for themselves and our high rate of returning customers stands as a testament to this fact.
We encourage you to ask us lots of questions, and to express any specific expectations that you may have regarding your trip. If we feel that we cannot meet your expectations then we would rather help you to find a better fit than cause you any disappointment.
We know how valuable it is to use local knowledge during your trip planning, and we make ourselves readily available to help sort out any logistical issues that you may want to sort out. Even if it has nothing to do with our kayak tours, we encourage you to call us if you have any questions your plans. Your vacation time is valuable and it makes sense to get the opinions of locals to make sure your trip goes smoothly. We were born and raised here in Washington and we know a lot about the region so if you have a question, ask us!
Promoting Active Lifestyles for Families and Children
In an increasingly plugged-in world, we see the need for families to get outside and get active. Planning for this activity shows that you are part of a diminishing number of people who are looking for an engaged activity rather than passive entertainment. That’s a good thing! We are proud of our reputation as the most family friendly kayak operation in Washington, and as multigenerational family-travel becomes a more and more important part of our business we will continue to ensure that you can get your bodies moving while experiencing the beauty of the sea.
Creating a Fun and Rewarding Work Environment for Our Staff
There are two big rewards that come with our creation of Anacortes Kayak Tours. The first is the satisfaction of being able to be a part of helping to create so many memories for the customers who come to share their time with us.
The second is our ability to provide a venue for so many guides to develop their paddling and professional leadership skills. We have been extremely fortunate to attract and retain some outstanding individuals over the years and we receive a lot of pleasure watching their personal growth even after they move on to other adventures. We could not be where we are today without their assistance and we appreciate their continuing efforts in helping us to create a remarkable organization.