Tim Abate currently works as a sea kayak guide for Moondance Sea Kayak Adventures, as well as for Northwest Navigation Co., an Alaskan tour operation which provides small ship cruises on the Motor Vessel David B. He is a recent graduate of Remote Medical Training’s Wilderness First Aid Course (WFA). During the better part of his first 15 years working, Tim worked on various passenger vessels and in the commercial fishing industry. During this time, he obtained a US Coast Guard Captains’ License. In 2001, he relocated to Bellingham, WA, and spent the next 15 years working in chairlift operations at the Mt. Baker Ski Area. We chose to spotlight Tim because he has actively pursued guiding and serving others for over 30 years, both on the water and in the mountains, allowing more people to enjoy activities in remote and wilderness areas safely.
In addition to working on passenger vessels, in the commercial fishing industry, and in lift operations at Mt Baker Ski area, one thing I have done consistently over the 30-year span of my career is worked as a sea kayak guide. After working both in the mountains and on the sea, I have found that my heart is with the sea.
I have two memories that stand out from my youth that pointed me to working and adventuring in remote areas. First, my father worked in a large concrete building. Growing up I never really knew what he did there, just that he did not like it. Secondly, I have a vivid memory in my youth of watching a fisherman walking up the gang plank from the dock in his tattered jeans, flannel shirt and weathered skin and ball cap. I felt this is the life for me.
Working in remote areas teaches self-reliance. Curiosity and solitude are what draws me there. Our daily lives are full of repetition and demands. When we choose to go sea kayaking or ride a chair lift, for what may be the first or only time, that becomes a memory. Helping people create memories of a lifetime and being a conduit to laughter and a smile is something I enjoy.
As a guide, it builds confidence knowing that you have some tools and skills to help you through an emergency should the need arise. After 30 years of work experience in these various operations, I have been involved in some emergencies. In my early days, my training was basic and minimal. Common sense and being fortunate to have someone nearby with a higher level of training got me through those scenarios. Eventually, training became a job requirement. In 2004, I did my Wilderness First Responder course required for paddle guiding. In 2014, I took an Outdoor Emergency Care course. This training is specific to ski areas and the resources you have there. I found the Remote Medical Training Wilderness First Aid (WFA) course to be a great way to refresh knowledge that I have as I had let my prior certifications expire.