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.
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.
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
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
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.
A log documenting extended trips of 2 or more days totalling 15 overnights. Ten of the paddling days should be in Level-2 conditions.
Wilderness first aid (16 hours) with CPR is strongly recommended.
VHF radio operator’s license is strongly recommended.
The Small Print
The content on this page is provided for information only and could be incorrect or outdated. The course program manual is the official syllabus.
If you have any specific syllabus questions, please get in touch with the
Sea Kayak Program Committee who is responsible for the development and maintaince of this course.
Paddle Canada Water Classifications
Canada is a large country with many different environments including rivers, lakes and oceans. To help standardize the learning environment for our students we developed a water classification system ranging from 0 to 4.
Each class describes the optimal environment expected including wind speed, current, wave or swell height, shoreline accessibility and finally access to land-based assistance.
The water classes were designed to be in alignment (where appropriate) with other organizations’ own classification including Transport Canada and Sea Kayak Guides Alliance of BC.
Environment: Non-challenging protected waters with limited wind effect, little or no current, easy landings, and ready access to land-based assistance. Wind and sea state is calm to rippled (<15km/h or 8 knots).
Environment: Non-challenging waters with mild wind effect (0-20 km/h or 0–11 knots), little or no current (0-1 km/h or 0–0.5 knots), uninterrupted easy landing options, and ready access to land-based assistance. Sea state is calm to light chop.
Environment: Moderately exposed coastline with frequent easy-landing opportunities and short crossings. Moderate potential wind effects (22-35 km/h or 12–19 knots), surf of less than 1 meter and a combined sea state of less than 1 metre, gentle to moderate non- turbulent currents (< 6 km/h or < 3 knots), and light surf beaches. Short delays in access to land-based assistance should be expected.
Environment: 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.
Environment: Rugged and exposed coast with long and committed crossings and any combination of the following: strong turbulent currents (≥ 6 km/h or ≥ 3 knots), strong wind effects (near 37 km/h or 20 knots), large swells with a combined sea state 1 metre or more with a moderate to rough sea state, exposed surf beaches (≥1 metre), infrequent and sometimes difficult landings which present significant challenges for individual safety and group management. Significant delays in access to land-based assistance can be expected.
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