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Sea kayak leader training



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"It was a purposeful but fairly relaxed approach to assessment which was made as clear and as unproblematic as possible. I felt supported and received good advice and guidance."

"Paddled some great rivers to advance my leading and to consolidate my personal paddling. Was given adequate opportunity to show how well I could lead and paddle."

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British Canoeing Awarding Body

Sea Kayak Leader Award

A sea kayak leader will be running trips on the sea. They will take groups on inspirational journeys along many amazing coastal venues, with the possibility to make some short crossings, either single or multi-day trips.

sea kayak leader training

How can Wild River help prepare you for the assessment?

  • Complete a coastal navigation and tidal planning course (this is an essential prerequisite).
  • Attend two day sea kayak leader training.
  • Attend our two day intermediate sea kayak course to develop personal skill.
  • Attend a coastal sea kayak 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.

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 moderate water in a way that is participant focused and encourages independence and development of all participants.

  • Paddle their sea kayak effectively in the top end of the moderate water remit.

  • Execute rescues and solve incidents effectively whilst maintaining good group control.

  • Demonstrate their underpinning background knowledge of planning, weather forecasts, access/environmental  and interpreting tidal charts and information.

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.

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 home nation 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.

  • Complete a Paddle UK Coastal Navigation and Tidal Planning course.

Where does a Sea Kayak Leader operate?


Sea kayak leaders can operate on stretches of coastline with some areas where:

  • It may not be easy to land but there should always be straight forward land points a maximum of two nautical miles apart.

  • Any sea crossings should not exceed two nautical miles.

  • The tidal flow should not exceed 2 knots and not involve tide races or overfalls.

  • Wind strengths should not exceed Beaufort force 4.

  • If launching and landing through surf the wave face should be less than one metre in height.

Sea kayak leaders can make their own decisions about the size of the group but 6 would be seen as a large group.

This includes many stretches of the UK coastline such as:

  • St Bees to Whitehaven on the northwest coast of Cumbria.

  • Round the south west coast of Walney Island crossing to Roa Island via Piel Island (on neap tides).

  • Porth Dafrarch to Rhoscolyn on the west coast of Anglesey.

  • Berwick upon Tweed to Eyemouth on the Northumberland coast.

  • Sunderland to South Shields on the Tyne/Tees coast.


kayak leader training

British Canoeing have developed an online eLearning resource to support leaders learning and can be accessed using the following link: e-learning

sea kayak leader

Course Dates

2 Day Training Dates:
Dates to be arranged.
Cost: £200

Dates to be arranged.
Cost: £270 per person (requires 2 candidates to run).
1 to 1 assessments £350 - contact us to arrange this.


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

For assessment all candidates must register with British Canoeing.

At registration evidence of the following is required:

  • Full Home Nation Association Membership
  • 2 Day First Aid Award (within 3 years) recognised by BC.
  • Safeguarding Training (within 3 years) recognised by BC.
  • Complete a British Canoeing Coastal Navigation and Tidal Planning course.


Google Forms Action Plan

How to Register Video

British Canoeing Paddlesport Leader GuidanceSea Kayak Leader Course Documents

Safeguarding Training

Paddlesport Leader e-learning

Sea Kayak Leader
Paddlesport Leader Assessment




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