Camping in a kayak on the ocean with a sunset.
Location: Bay of Fundy, Saint John, New Brunswick. Photo credit: Adam Constantine

Sea Kayak Level-3 Skills

Discipline: Sea Kayaking Stream: Skills Development

Upon completion of Sea Kayak Level-3 Skills, the student will be able to confidently sea kayak in class-3 conditions along exposed coastline with infrequent landing opportunities.


The successful student will be able to apply principles of effective leadership, risk assessment, decision-making, judgment, group management, and kayak handling while traveling on a multi-day expedition and rough water as part of a group of peers.

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Course Overview

Typical Course Length

This course is a minimum of 5 days long.

Course Water Class

This course runs in Class-3 conditions which are described as:

Exposed water, with more committed crossings and any combination of the following: moderate to strong currents with turbulence (≥ 6 km/h or ≥ 3 knots), moderate to strong wind effects (22-35 km/h or 12–19 knots), ocean swells and a combined sea state near 1 meter with occasional rough sea state. Difficult but frequent landing opportunities, surf-beaches with surf up to 1 metre. Delays in access to land-based assistance can expected.

Learn more about our water classification system.

Course Topics

Re-entry Skills
  • Assisted re-entry
  • Unassisted re-entry
  • All-in re-entry
  • Kayak rolling
  • Re-entry exercises and scenarios
  • Towing
Paddling Skills
  • Launching and landing
  • Forward stroke
  • Turning strokes
  • Low and high braces
  • Low and high brace turns
  • Bow rudders
  • Cross bow draw
  • Draws
  • Sculling for support
  • Stern draw and stern pry
  • Paddling in low visibility or at night
  • Surfing
  • Paddling in current
Knowledge
  • Leadership and group decision making
  • Communication skills
  • Group awareness
  • Leadership roles
  • Risk assessment and mitigation, incident management and evacuation options
  • Expedition planning and logistics
  • Expedition behaviour and group dynamics
  • Communication, signaling and technology
  • Heat and cold issues
  • Tides and currents
  • Repair kits
  • Weather interpretation and forecasting
  • Wind, wave and current theory
  • Wilderness navigation skills
  • Nautical chart & topographic map skills
  • Route planning for extended trips
  • Practical navigation skills
  • Trip logs
Course Prerequisites
  • Certification
    • Sea Kayak Level-2 Skills with 15 days logged camping experience in class-2 conditions in either a freshwater or tidal environment or,
    • Documented equivalent skill and knowledge at the discretion of the course director.
  • Paddling Experience
    • A log documenting extended trips of 2 or more days totalling 15 overnights. Ten of the paddling days should be in Level-2 conditions.
  • Other Training
    • Wilderness first aid (16 hours) with CPR is strongly recommended.
    • VHF radio operator’s license is strongly recommended.
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