BY Sarah Zobel

There's nothing like a gorgeous day on the water in a kayak—except maybe a gorgeous day on the water in a kayak, paddling with others for a good cause. Fundraisers throughout the year around the United States and Canada are open to those kayakers who want to paddle to help a charitable organization (although the gorgeous day may not be guaranteed, a do-gooder glow is).

This year's Kayak-a-thon in West Palm Beach, Florida, will support three organizations: Palm Beach County Reef Rescue (protecting South Florida's reef systems), Grassy Waters Preserve (which offers education and recreation programs at its 20-square-mile wetland nature preserve), and Korey's Krew (which brings children and adults with special needs to local fairs, festivals, concerts, and sporting events). As in a walk-a-thon, participants raise money through sponsorships, and can participate alone or with a team as they make a 13-mile trip from Riviera Beach to Peanut Island and back. May 1. www.kayakathon.com

Kayak for a Cause X: KFAC celebrates its tenth anniversary this July. Each year the supporting foundation, Carpe Paddlum, chooses several causes; this year Outward Bound, Save the Sound, the Maritime Aquarium, Builders Beyond Borders, and Canine Companions for Independence will be the beneficiaries of the event. Participants will enter Long Island Sound at Northport, New York, and celebrate with a post-paddle lobsterbake in Norwalk, Connecticut. July 24. www.kayakforacause.com/

Paddlers taking part in the tenth annual Paddle Oregon will spend five days covering 96 miles along the Willamette River and be treated to "sinful amounts of gourmet cuisine, noted wines, and well-facilitated campsites each evening." Participants will depart from the Marshall Island Access, north of Eugene, and finish at Willamette Mission State Park, north of Salem. Nightly speakers will discuss river ecology and related issues, and all monies raised will go to Willamette Riverkeeper's efforts to restore riparian habitats, monitor water quality, and ensure proper implementation of environmental laws in the river basin. August 16-20. www.paddleoregon.org

The 2010 Orca Challenge welcomes all human-powered craft and covers 15.5 challenging miles of open water around the San Juan Islands. All proceeds go to the Orca Network, which is working to raise awareness about whales in the Pacific Northwest and their habitat needs. September 11. ultramarathonpaddling.blogspot.com/2010/02/2010-san-juan-orca-challenge-new-date.html

In the Lighthouse to Lighthouse Race in Long Island Sound, participants head to sea from Compo Beach, just outside Norwalk, Connecticut. The 14-mile race is open to all "seaworthy human-powered boats," including kayaks, sliding seat singles and doubles, and stand-up paddleboards. All profits go to Soundkeeper, whose mission is to protect the ecology of the Long Island Sound community and promote the Sound as a viable recreation area. September 18. l2l.soundkeeper.org/

Support Strokes is a 15.5-mile paddle around Alameda Island off the coast of Oakland, California. Proceeds will be shared by four groups that provide breast cancer education, outreach, and support services. The event is organized by California Canoe & Kayak and in ten years has raised some $185,000 for the fight against breast cancer. September 25. www.calkayak.com/supportstrokes/

Kayak for a Cure has events in six locations in the United States and Canada this year: San Francisco; Columbus, Ohio; Toronto and Mississauga, Ontario; and Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia. All money goes to either the American or the Canadian Cancer Society, depending on where the event takes place. On alternating years the societies put the money toward either their Family Emergency Fund, which helps families who are struggling with medical bills and the costs of cancer-related medication, or cancer research initiatives. Dates are forthcoming. www.kayakforacure.org

For the hardy—or insane—among us, the third annual Freeze for Life will be held December 4 in Wisconsin. The event is dedicated to the memory of Kevin Waldeck, a local teacher who taught for more than 37 years and lost his life to cancer in 2007. All proceeds are divided between college scholarships for area high school graduates and cancer research. Participants brave the waters of Lake Geneva in kayaks and on wakeboards, inner tubes, and water skis. The day ends with Lake Geneva's annual Christmas parade. Blankets are optional, but recommended for a post-Freeze warmup. Hot tubs will be provided. December 4. www.freeze4life.com/