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Youth in a big canoe.
Photo credit: Priscilla Haskin

Intermediate Big Canoe Leader Skills

Discipline: Canoeing Program: Big Canoe Stream: Skills Development

Intermediate Big Canoe Leader Skills introduces students on how to lead a crew in a big canoe in calm sheltered waters.

Students will build off their existing paddling knowledge and skill to learn how stern, Captain a crew and to manoeuvre the big canoe.

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Course Overview

Typical Course Length

6 hours minimum of instruction.

Course Topics

Safety and Rescue
  • Carrying a big canoe
  • Environment hazards (water/ wind/waves/weather) when to get off! Hypothermia & hyperthermia (being prepared)
  • Group management
  • Transport Canada regulations
  • Safe canoe procedures and development of a float plan
  • Signals (multiple canoes): whistle/paddle
  • Canoe rescues
  • Communication devices
General Paddling Skills
  • Enter and exit a canoe: dock/shoreline
  • Paddling and commanding a crew
Paddling Strokes
  • Forward & reverse strokes
  • Check (stop)
  • Draw and pry (active and stationary)
  • Forward and reverse sweeps (stern only)
  • Low brace
  • Drop skeg
  • Optional strokes for the bow position: Draws and pry’s (active and stationary)
  • How to hold a paddle
  • Position and roles of crew
  • Commands for crew
  • Straight lines
  • Turns (wide and tight) (active and stationary strokes)
  • Pivots
  • Reverse paddling
  • Docking and shoreline
  • Changing paddler placement
  • Group management
  • Risk management
  • Paddling within your ability
  • Paddlesmart
  • Leave no trace principles
  • Where to go from here (paddle courses and resources)
Course Prerequisites
  • Certification
    • Introduction to Big Canoe Paddler Skills or
    • Intro to Lake Tandem Canoe or equivalent skills at the discretion of the course director
  • First Aid
    • Current Standard First Aid or Wilderness First Aid