Every year the 2nd week end after Memorial Day paddlers & friends meet at the South Bass Island state park for "The Rendezvous"
You and your friends are invited.
The 2023 ( 19th year ) Rendezvous dates are Friday to Sunday June 9th, 10th, & 11th
Its always the 2nd week end after Memorial Day and everybody is invited.
This is nothing more than paddlers meeting on dry land without much of an agenda besides getting together at the South Bass Island Sate Park. It is a great place and time to meet new and old paddling friends to have a great time. Read about the social activities below. Everybody will set there own agenda and schedule. It is nothing more than an idea to meet on land.
Most people will be renting camp sites at the South Bass Island State Park for Friday June 7th & Saturday June 8th. Some people will come early and some will leave later.
If you decide to paddle when you are there you are on your own.
Make sure everybody in your group considers all the safety and risk considerations.
Read the Safety notes below
Who is invited ?
Anybody who wants to go. Novice to advanced paddlers & paddlers friends and family. Since it is nothing more than friends and friends of friends meeting on the beech anybody is welcome to come on down. In the past instructors have scheduled classes at the same time this group of paddlers is at the state camp ground. These classes are purely done by those giving the classes. If you participate in the classes it is a deal between you and the instructor & or any business that decides to give classes.
In previous years there has been the usual glass and roto molded boats, wood boat paddlers, traditional paddlers, instructors, kayak sailors and about any other variation of paddler you can think of.
What will the activities be ?
It is just a group of Kayakers that will meet on land.
You are completely responsible for yourself. Some paddlers will be happy just hanging out on land or staying near shore, near the campground, and some may decide to do more. There are no safety paddlers, or guides. You are 100% responsible for yourself. Know your limits, don't push yourself or endanger other paddlers by joining on trips that exceed your level or comfort zone. Do not invite paddlers you are not sure are ready for what you plan on doing or may do when you are out. Read the safety notes below before you do any paddling.
Then Rendezvous is just people meeting on land. You are completely responsible for yourself.
With a chart and a little imagination, you will find many week ends worth of paddling opportunities. The water is clean, and the scenery is great. There are nice rock gardens to play in, and many beaches that are adequate for stopping. Most of the shore line is private and or rocky, but still there are many landing options if you are okay with stopping on private land. Much of the shore line is 20' below peoples cottages which makes it reasonable to stop. If you need to stop for safety reasons stop where ever it looks good. There are a number of public places to land on also. Make sure you have all the skills and safety equipment to make sure that you and the people with you do not have problems. If you go far from shore make sure you are prepared to take care of yourself. See the safety notes below.
The shore near the camp site is usually a good place to practice. If you are interested in practicing rescue and paddling skills invite others to do it with you.
Kayak Rental Options
Over the years there have been some basic kayak rental options on the Island. They are not sea kayaks or good for long days on the water, but typically there are some options.
Where to stay
There are some great lake side camp sites at South Bass Island State Park. This is what the Rendezvous is all about. Hanging with friends and meeting friends at a great place to paddle.
plan on spending the night, reserve a camp site at the South Bass Island
State Park as early as possible so you can get a good site on the water.
Call 419-797-4530 or 866-644-6727 to make your reservation.
All sites in the camp ground are good.
matter where you stay, you can always hang out at one of the sites everybody
will inevitably gather at.
The best sites are noted below.
They are on a cliff right on the lake. They are all tent only. ( all but 2 noted below come with a space for your car )
(closest to the take out / launch site) Its where the nightly party
122 ( near restrooms & fish cleaning hut )
the above sites are ideal for hanging out with all the other paddlers.
119.5, 119 ( walk in or kayak in only ) no cars.
117, 116, 115, 114, 113.
109, 108 Far from the take out but with a great view.
97 nice private site.
98, 96, 95. Ok / marginal sites not on the water.
Near site 104, there is a (it is a difficult climb with your boat)
take out. If you are looking for privacy, it is a good area.
In any case, make your reservation early so you get a good site. The park requires for you to reserve a minimum of 2 nights. Of course you can stay for just 1 night if you want. Usually you can reserve a site on line, but the site is down as of the writing of this page. You can try going to www.ohio.reserveworld.com to reserve a site at the South Bass Island State Park. If that does not work, call 419-797-4530.
If you are having a hard time getting a site, you can look at paddling.net for possible discussion boards on the South Bass Rendezvous.
In past years there have been some
discussion boards made, and people where trying rent there sites, and or
looking for sites.
Or you can just show up to the camp ground and try to get a site, or ask anybody at these sites to rent 1/2 a site to you.
Technically there can only be 2 tents per site. If you have 3 small tents on site they will not give you a problem.
Typically if you do not drive in ( You can arrive by ferry ) the park will give you a place to set up a tent even if they are full. If you have a car they will not make a space for you unless there is a designated site available.
Getting To South Bass Island
There are no bridges to South Bass Island. The most common ways to get there are to take the Miller Ferry. Some people paddle to the island. If you have any doubts about your skills or anybody in your group, do not paddle to South Bass Island. It is very exposed & Lake Erie can surprise you with wind, waves, fog, lots of power boat traffic ( some are reckless ) & other hazards. If you click on the above maps, you can see directions. You can take your car and or kayak on the Miller Ferry. During the busy season they may require that you reserve a space for your car on the ferry. You can also take the Jet Express, but you can not take your car or kayak on the Jet Express. If you take the Jet Express you can rent a bike or golf cart where the Jet docks.
Do not assume you are safe because you are with a group. The Rendezvous is a gathering on land and there are no planned or organized paddles of any kind. It is only an opportunity to meet other kayakers from the region. The wrong group could tempt you to go beyond your limits. Do not join groups that you are not completely aware of what they are planning on or may do. Some will do paddles that others are not ready for. Do not invite or include people that may not be ready for the kind of paddle you may do. Make sure everybody in your group has the skills, physical ability, and the right gear for what ever you plan on doing.
If you decide to paddle when you are there visiting the Rendezvous be careful.
Kayaking on Lake Erie has many potential hazards, including cold water, fog, wind, waves, squall lines, high concentration of power boaters in many areas. Some are reckless.
There are zero organize paddles and zero safety boaters for the Rendezvous. Just like any other paddle you normally go on or decide to go on you are responsible for your own safety.
Do not count on somebody being there for you, or being able to help you if they are there. Avoid getting in over your head and take care of yourself.
If you are prone to doing dumb stuff stay at home. Tell your friends the same thing.
Check weather forecasts, consider staying within swimming distance near the state park.
Make smart and informed decisions. If you have any doubt at all about anything stay on shore.
Have a like minded paddling partner. Have a plan with that partner.
Stay away from shoals when there are waves.
Do not paddle close to shore unless the shoreline you are paddling is protected from waves
Do not follow a group anywhere unless you know that you and your partner are both 100% ready to handle separating from the group at any time.
Do not count on a stranger or feel you are safe just because there is a group. Nobody is responsible for yourself except you.
Try to make sure everybody is safe.
Do not be afraid to mention something about safety to another kayaker.
If you see somebody that needs help, or is in a uncomfortable or un safe situation please help them get to shore.
Do not exceed your skills. Encourage others to not exceed their skills.
The waters near South Bass Island are very exposed. If you venture far from land it is like being in the middle of the lake. Since Lake Erie is relatively shallow the waves tend to be steep and close to each other.
If you are anywhere near a point of land that boats would use as a turning point / cut stay very close to land & do not linger in these areas. Wear bright colors, and keep all in your group close together.
Make sure the combined & every bodies individual skills in your group are adequate to avoid and deal with potential problems.
If you have any doubts in your skill, or people you paddle with take the ferry, and stay close to shore.
Do not go on a paddle that you think may exceed your skill level or anybody else in the groups skill level.
Here is a partial list of what you should have if you venture far from shore,
Make sure you have the skills to deal with what can happen on the water.
Let somebody know where you are going and when you will be back.
Do not be late if you do not have a plan to communicate that you will be late.
Bring with you the following
Life Jacket (Always where your life jacket)
Flotation and / or water tight bulkheads.
Thermal protection for potential swim. Dress for immersion.
At least 1 competent paddling partner.
Properly equipped boat with grab lines
Bright colored equipment and clothes.
Helmet if you are in breaking waves and or playing in rock formations.
At least 1 person in your group should have 1 of the following, and know how to use it.
GPS - Make sure you have way point for land. If visibility drops, you will need it.
Activities - Talk with other paddlers. They are usually
very friendly & like other paddlers.
Friday night Pot Luck - Friday night starting at 7pm
Every year there is a Friday night pot luck dinner at the shelter near the park entrance . This could be the best part of the Rendezvous !!
If you are interested in a Saturday night pot luck, be social at the camp ground and start inviting people to participate.
Friday night camp fire
Usually somebody has a camp fire going. Don't be shy. Stop on by and hang out. If you have some scrap wood bring it to the fire.
Saturday night Dinner plans.
Usually a good size group of people walk into town for dinner at the Board Walk. They are known for lobster rolls, lobster bisque, crab legs and other sea food. They even have all the boring stuff for people that do not like sea food.
Saturday night camp fire
There has always been a Saturday night camp fire somewhere on a beach front site. Stop on by and hang out.
Sunday morning breakfast.
Usually a group of people go into town for breakfast. Of course many of them paddle into town.
Other food options
You can take your own food and eat in the park, or you can take advantage of the dozen or so restaurants in the town of Put-In-Bay. The Boardwalk is a great place for lunch and dinner. Frosties is a favorite place for breakfast.
The park is a fairly quiet place where you can relax. If you want to party you can venture into the town of Put-In-Bay.
If you like to listen to music and go to the bars, you will have endless opportunities. There are 1 man bands, huge party bars and everything in between.
Other activities include visiting Perry's Monument, and lots of interesting shopping. Do not let Put-In-Bays party reputation keep you away. 95% of South Bass Island is 100% peaceful 100% of the year.
If you are looking for a crazy time its easy to find in town. Bring your beads.
There are many on land options for having fun.
If you want to learn more about South Bass Island, go to www.Google.com and search for Put-In-Bay.
Do not forget about the Kelley's Island Poker Paddle.
2019 it will be Saturday September 14th at the Kelley's Island Sate Park.
According to the organizers it is always the 2nd week end after Labor Day.
To learn more see
Go here to see a live video on South Bass Facing toward Kelly's Island
Go here to see wave forecast
Click Here to see kayak sails made
by Falcon Sails LLC. Stop by site 105 and surrounding sites to meet a group of
Looks like there be nearly 30 kayak sailors at the 2014 South Bass Rendezvous.
It's going to be great to see you there.
See you there