In Sea Kayak Level-4 Skills, students are challenged to apply already learned leadership/decision making and paddling skills in the context of a multi-day trip in class-4 or greater conditions.
With a strong focus on scenarios and problem solving, this course develops students’ skills appropriate to travelling in remote and/or technically challenging locations while fine tuning new skills such as surf and currents.
Upon completion of the course, the student will be able to confidently sea kayak in class-4 water conditions along remote and exposed open coast for an extended trip. The student will also be an effective part of a group of peers, able to perform both leadership and supportive roles.
This course runs in Class-4 conditions which are described as:
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.
Leadership, group awareness, judgment, & decision making
Weather interpretation and forecasting
Waves and currents
Tide and current calculation
All participants must have Paddle Canada Level-3 certification.
At least 10 day-trips kayaking in class-3 conditions.
A minimum of three extended trips totalling 10 or more overnights. The student must show evidence (e.g. weather/sea state logs, photography or video) that they spent a minimum of five days during any trip in class-3 conditions.
An ability to confidently roll (on one side) in class-3 conditions is essential.
Wilderness first aid certification (36 hours) with CPR is strongly recommended.
Restricted Radio Operator's Licence (marine VHF) 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The content on this page is provided for information only and could be incorrect or outdated.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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