National Sea Kayak Program Skills Stream

Waterfront Kayak Skills

The Waterfront Kayak Program is designed to provide knowledge and skills necessary for “beachfront” paddling activities. The items chosen for inclusion in this program are of importance to individuals being introduced to kayaking in a summer-camp environment. The program is designed to teach skill development, safety, and an understanding of limitations primarily through the use of games and activities.

Course Description

This course introduces the beginner to kayaking in calm waters in a designated waterfront area. The skills and knowledge gained at this level form the foundation necessary for confident and safe travel within small and calm environments. Programming is delivered primarily through paddling games and group activities.

Prerequisites

None

Typical Course Length

1 day

Overview

Re-entry Skills

  • Wet Exit
  • Retrieving an Empty Kayak
  • Paddle in Place
  • Assisted Re-entry

Paddling Skills

  • Lifting and Carrying a Kayak
  • Forward and Reverse Strokes
  • Stopping
  • Forward and Reverse Sweep Strokes
  • Draw Stroke

General Knowledge

  • Kayak Outfitting, Gear and Clothing
  • Journeying and Seamanship

Basic Kayak Skills

This is the primary starting point of the Paddle Canada Sea Kayak skills progression. With a focus on foundation skills and knowledge, Basic Kayak Skills inspires students to go out on short paddling excursions in calm and sheltered waters.

Prerequisites

None

Typical Course Length

1 day

Overview

Re-entry Skills

  • Wet Exit
  • Assisted Re-entries

Paddling Skills

  • Lifting and Carrying a Kayak
  • Launching and Landing
  • Emptying the Kayak
  • Forward Stroke
  • Stopping
  • Reverse Stroke
  • Forward & Reverse Sweep Strokes
  • Pivots
  • Draw Stroke
  • Low Brace
  • Edging

General Knowledge

  • Kayak Part Names and Outfitting
  • Paddling and Safety Equipment
  • Injury Prevention
  • Sunsense
  • Collision Regulations
  • Navigation
  • Risk Assessment and Mitigation
  • Impact of Kayakers on the Environment

Kayak Rolling

This 2-hour clinic introduces the basic mechanics involved in rolling a kayak leading to the ability to roll a kayak confidently in calm conditions.

 

Prerequisites

It is highly recommended that students have Basic Kayak Skills certification or equivalent skill and knowledge.

Students must be able to perform a controlled and calm wet exit.

Typical Course Length

2 hours

Overview

Paddling Skills

  • Warm-up Exercises
  • Wet Exit
  • Safe Body Mechanics
  • Rolling Progressions
  • Learning Aids

General Knowledge

  • Kayak Fit and Equipment
  • Heritage

Sea Kayak Level-1 Skills

Building on the information covered in Basic Skills, Level-1 is a two-day course that moves participants beyond flatwater kayaking and into the sport of sea kayaking. The course is conducted in slightly rougher water than Basic Kayak, aiming to develop the paddler’s comfort in class-1 waters. There is a strong focus on re-entry techniques as well as the skills required to safely plan and execute a day trip with friends (for example, navigation & route planning, weather interpretation, proper clothing/gear.)

Prerequisites

  • Certification:
    • Paddle Canada Basic Kayak skills certification or equivalent skill and knowledge at the discretion of the course director.
  • Paddling experience:
    • Five kayaking excursions (2 or 3 hours) in class-0
    • Can execute a controlled wet exit in class-0 conditions.
    • Can perform a simple assisted re-entry in class-0 conditions.

Typical Course Length

2 days

Overview

Re-entry Skills

  • Unassisted Re-entry
  • Assisted Re-entry
  • Towing

Paddling Skills

  • Launching and Landing
  • Forward Stroke
  • Stopping
  • Reverse Stroke
  • Sweep Strokes
  • Draw Stroke
  • Low Brace
  • Stern Rudder
  • Edge Control

General Knowledge

  • Equipment and Equipment Care
  • Communication
  • Route Planning and Basic Navigation Techniques
  • Half-day Kayak Journey
  • Weather
  • Sea State
  • Risk Assessment and Mitigation
  • Cold Issues and Sun Safety
  • Impact of Kayakers on the Environment
  • History and Heritage
  • Kayaking Community and Resources
  • Vehicle Boat Tie Down

Sea Kayak Level-2 Skills

Building on the skills developed in Level-1, Level-2 provides paddlers with the intermediate skills they need to go sea kayaking in class-2 conditions along semi-exposed shoreline with a possible overnight bivvy. Leadership, incident management, open-water rescue, self-care and navigation are core parts of the curriculum.

Upon completion of the course, the student will be able to confidently sea kayak in class-2 conditions along moderately exposed shoreline in the company of one or more paddlers with similar skills and knowledge. The Level-2 paddler will be an asset to the group in all aspects of multi-day journeys with peers, including leadership, navigation skills and the ability to establish an overnight bivvy.

Prerequisites

  • Certification:
    • Sea Kayak Level-1 Skills certification or equivalent skill and knowledge at the discretion of the course director.
  • Paddling experience:
    • At least 3, one-day-long kayaking trips in Level-1 conditions in different locations.
  • Other training:
    • Wilderness first aid (16 hours) with CPR strongly recommended.

Typical Course Length

4 days

Overview

Re-entry Skills

  • Re-entry Skills
  • Assisted Re-entry
  • All-in Re-entry
  • Bow Rescue
  • Re-entry Exercises or Scenarios
  • Introduction to Rolling
  • Towing

Paddling Skills

  • Launching and Landing
  • Forward Stroke
  • Turning Strokes
    • Sweep Strokes
    • Low and High Brace Turns
    • Bow Rudders
  • Low & High Braces
  • Draws
    • Draw Stroke
    • Sculling Draw
    • Hanging Draw
    • Stern Draw and Stern Pry
  • Paddling in Rough Water

General Knowledge

  • Equipment
  • Introduction to Tides & Currents
  • Wilderness Navigation Techniques and Chart/Map Work
    • Navigation Techniques
    • Nautical Charts and Topographic Maps
    • Other Navigation Tools or Activities
  • Weather Interpretation and Basic Forecasting
  • Heat and Cold Issues
  • Emergency Overnight
  • Leadership and Decision Making
  • Risk Assessment, Incident Management and Evacuation Options
  • Knots & Ropework
  • Collision Regulations

Sea Kayak Skills Level-3

Upon completion of the course, 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 is a minimum of 5 days long.

Level-3 Skills builds on the leadership, incident and risk management skills introduced in Level-2 and applies them to real life scenarios in class-3 conditions. At this level, students are also introduced to more advanced topics in the context of a multi-day journey, such as expedition behaviour, group dynamics, decision making, advanced navigation, and sea kayaking skills.

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.

Typical Course Length

5-days with an excursion that includes 2 or more consecutive overnights.

Overview

Re-entry Skills

  • Assisted Re-entry
  • Unassisted Re-entry
  • All-in Re-entry
  • Rolling
  • Re-entry Exercises and Scenarios
  • Towing

Paddling Skills

  • Launching and Landing
  • Forward Stroke
  • Turning Strokes
  • Low and High Brace Turns
  • Bow Rudders
    • Cross Bow Draw
    • Low Brace
    • High Brace
  • Draws
  • Sculling for Support
  • Stern Draw and Stern Pry
  • Paddling in Low Visibility or at Night
  • Surfing
  • Paddling in Current

General 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, Signalling & Technology
  • Heat & Cold Issues
  • Tides & Currents
  • Repair Kits
  • Weather Interpretation & Forecasting
  • Wind, Wave and Current Theory
  • Wilderness Navigation Skills
    • Nautical Chart & Topographic Map Skills
    • Route Planning for Extended Trips
    • Practical Navigation Skills
    • Trip Logs

Sea Kayak Level-4 Skills

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 be an effective part of a group of peers, able to perform both leadership and supportive roles. This course is a minimum of 5 days long.

Students will be 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 will develop students’ skills appropriate to travelling in remote and/or technically challenging locations while fine tuning new skills such as surf and currents.

Prerequisites

  • Certification:
    • All participants must have Paddle Canada Level-3 certification.
  • Paddling experience:
    • At least 10 day-trips kayaking in class-3
    • 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.
  • Other training:
    • Wilderness first aid certification (36 hours) with CPR is strongly recommended.
    • Restricted Radio Operator’s Licence (marine VHF) is strongly recommended.

Typical Course Length

5 days with an excursion that includes 3 or more consecutive overnights.

Overview

Re-entry and Incident Management

  • Emergency Response/Communication Plan
  • Risk Analysis and Mitigation Strategies
  • Emergency On-water Repairs
  • Incident Management and Decision-making Scenarios
  • Peer Debriefing Strategies Following an Incident
  • Towing
  • Rolling in Class-4 Conditions
  • Re-entry Skills

Paddling Skills

  • Launching and Landing along Difficult Shorelines
  • Paddling in Swell or Current
  • Paddling in Sustained Wind with a Loaded Kayak
  • Travelling along Inaccessible Shorelines
  • Surfing
  • Paddling in Currents

General Knowledge

  • Leadership, Group Awareness, Judgment & Decision Making
  • Weather Interpretation and Forecasting
  • Waves & Currents
  • Tides & Current Calculation

Please note that the above course descriptions are for reference only. The syllabus or course policies may have changed slightly over time so in case of disagreement, refer to the latest version of the Paddle Canada Sea Kayak Program Manual for the most up-to-date information.

Please forward any questions, comments, concerns and feedback to the Sea Kayak Program Development Committee.