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Advanced Canoe Leader Assessment



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"Very professional, lots of good information leading to flowing self teaching style. Good all round equipment, very appropriate and high standard. Lots of theory - got my brain working about the skills of the course. Brilliant technical info, lots of things to think about."

"Recently done my Advanced Canoe Leader Training with Sean over 5 days. I learnt so much in that time and was able to really put things into practise while still on the course. Sean was great at being able to spot when improvements could be made and then coached me through to a better end results. Really enjoyed his teaching style and being able to get out in environments suited to the award."


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British Canoeing Awarding Body

Advanced Canoe Open Water Leader Award

An advanced canoe open water leader uses the full range of canoe skills to move in advanced canoe conditions. They are a skilled paddler who is capable of leading paddlers in a variety of ways.

advanced canoe open water

How can Wild River help prepare you for the assessment?

You could:

  • Attend our advanced canoe open water leader training.

  • Attend our combined advanced canoe leader training which covers white water and open water. This includes training or assessment towards the advanced canoe performance award.

  • Bring in one of our team to observe you leading a group and provide feedback and mentor support.

  • Receive some individualised bespoke training.

  • Gather a group to create a bespoke training course of 2 or 3 days.

  • For some it might be appropriate to attend training or assessment for the canoe leader award as a stepping stone towards the advanced award.

The key part of any training course is the individual debrief to assist with your development of your detailed action plan.

How does assessment work?


On an assessment candidates will be expected to be able to:

  • Plan and lead an inspirational journey in a way that encourages independence and development for the group.

  • Paddle their canoe at a good standard in the top end of the remit, in wind above force 4.

  • Use a solo sailing set up comfortably.

  • Manage a group whilst sailing.

  • Rescue tandem and solo canoes whilst maintaining good group control.

  • Demonstrate skilled self rescue options whilst managing the group in advanced conditions.

  • Demonstrate their ability to manage the likely incidents that could occur.

Prior to an assessment you will be given the opportunity to contact the group members to gather information about their ability, equipment needs and aspirations for the day. You will be encouraged to plan the day in detail with logistical support from Wild River if necessary. The group will have at least 3 participants, ideally 4 to include 2 solo and one tandem canoe.

Wild River runs single day assessments with dates on the website. Alternatively 1-1 assessments can be set up on dates that suit the individual.

Pre-requisites for assessment:

  • Prior to assessment all candidates must register with their home nation association (Paddle England, Paddle Scotland, Canoe Wales, Paddle Northern Ireland).

  • Full National Association Membership.

  • Valid (within 3 years) 2 day First Aid Award recognised by Paddle UK.

  • Valid (within 3 years) Safeguarding Training recognised by Paddle UK.

Where does an advanced canoe open water leader operate?


Advanced canoe open water leaders are qualified to take participants on larger areas of open water.  There could be scope for paddlers to be more than 500m from the shore and the wind could be greater than force 4.

Leaders could decide to use coastal areas. These present a high risk and so wind speeds should be force 4 and below, and coastlines utilised should include frequent landings. Tidal flow should not exceed 2 knots.

Venues that fall within the remit of this award include:

Northern England

  • The larger Lakes of Cumbria when wind strength exceeds force 4 especially Windermere, Ullswater and Thirlmere.

  • Keilder water in Northumbria.


  • The classic larger Scottish lochs such as Loch Ness, Loch Tay, Loch Lomond, Loch Awe and Loch Shiel.

  • Many coastal lochs such as Loch Etive, Loch Linnhe and Loch Eil.


  • Llyn Tegid (Bala Lake).

  • The Menai Straits in appropriate conditions.


advanced canoe open water Cumbria

Training Dates

4 Day Advanced Canoe Open Water Leader Training
4-7 November 2024

Cost: £400 per person

Assessment Dates

21 or 22 November 2024 (depending on which day offers the best conditions).

Cost: £300 (requires 2 candidates to run).

We can also offer 1 to 1 leader assessments. Cost: £350 - contact us

Training Prequisites

There are no formal prerequisites for leader training but candidates should have a level of personal skill relevant to the environment.


Paddlers wishing to complete the assessment are required to register with Paddle UK. This can be accessed via your membership portal.

Full home nation association membership (Paddle England, Paddle Scotland, Canoe Wales, Paddle Northern Ireland)

2 Day First Aid Award (within 3 years) recognised by Paddle UK.

Safeguarding Training (within 3 years) recognised by Paddle UK.


Action Plan Action Plan

How to Register Video

British Canoeing Advanced White Water Leader Assessment GuidanceAdvanced Canoe Open Water Leader Documents

Safeguarding Training

British Canoeing Environmental DefinitionsEnvironmental Definitions

Advanced Canoe Open Water Leader Award
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