Sea Kayak Leader Assessment

The British Canoeing sea kayak leader (moderate water) award was formerly known as the 4 Star sea kayak leader award. The title changed in 2017, although the training and assessment content remains the same.

Venue: Anglesey North Wales
Duration: 2 days
Course Fee: £180

Coach: candidate ratio – 1: 3

The British Canoeing Sea Kayak Leader (4 Star) moderate water award is designed for leaders of groups of 4-5 paddlers on 6-8 mile / 3 hour journeys in moderate tidal waters with winds not exceeding force 4 / sea state 4.

Successful performance at this level also indicates that a candidate has the personal skill level and leadership ability required to judge the conditions and the standard of the group and make appropriate decisions about the planned route, along with the need to modify plans as required.

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Download Essential Info

Candidates wishing to attend a British Canoeing sea kayak leader (4 Star) assessment course with Kayak Essentials must first register with their British Canoeing Home Nation, by submitting a completed LR Form. Overseas candidates, if not British Canoeing members, should apply to British Canoeing International.

The following prerequisites for assessment are required:

  • Sea Kayak Leader (4 Star) Training within the last 3 years
  • BC Coastal Navigation and Tidal Planning
  • 16-hour First Aid certificate (inc CPR) within last 3 years.
  • VHF Marine Radio short range certificate

British Canoeing registration fee, included with the submitted LR Form: go to the British Canoeing website for latest fees.

Age: 16 years or older

You must register for the British Canoeing Sea Kayak Leader (4 Star) assessment with your British Canoeing Home Nation before booking a course with Kayak Essentials.
We will need to collect stamped BC LR Forms at the start of the assessment.

It is not possible to proceed directly from 4 Star training to assessment, in the same week. The British Canoeing LR application process must be followed, unless you have either:

  • already completed a relevant training course in the past, and have already obtained a stamped LR Form, or:
  • you have gained approval from BC to proceed directly to assessment (via the APL process).

Download British Canoeing Sea Kayak Leader (4 Star) Info

Once registered, candidates can book place on an assessment course.
Please go to our booking page for further details.

3 weeks prior to course date:
At this point we will establish course numbers and (confirmed bookings). If there are sufficient candidates (minimum 3), we will confirm the assessment on the advertised dates. We will also provide any specific pre-course information.

Pre-assessment experience:
Please ensure that you have logged at least the minimum pre-assessment experience:

Candidates must have documented a minimum of 25 days paddling on the open sea (minimum 4 hours duration). During 5 of these trips the candidate must assume an assistant leader role.

The above extensive range of sea kayak journeys should include a variety of coastlines, sea states, sea areas, periods of limited visibility, tidal waters up to 3 knots, wind up to and including force 4 / Sea State 4 and could include camping from a kayak

Assessment Program:
These notes are guidelines to indicate the overall content of the assessment course. Specific timings may vary according to group size, venues and paddling conditions – and will be discussed at the initial day one meeting.

Please arrive at the assessment venue (to be confirmed with candidates prior to each specific assessment) with the following:

  • Stamped BC LR Form
  • Written log of relevant sea kayaking experience.
  • If logged electronically, please email us the file prior to the assessment.
  • Hard copies of all prerequisite certificates

Candidates should also have a written journey plan for the first assessment day, assuming leadership of 4 paddlers at British Canoeing 3 Star standard. You will need an up to date weather forecast and tidal
picture for the Anglesey coastline – be ready to discuss these plans with us at the start of the assessment. We will collect your written journey plan from you at this time.

Day One 0900: meet at agreed venue:
Course introductions, prerequisites, administration, logistics, timings

Assessment activities on day one will include: personal paddling; leadership legs; incident management scenarios; navigation. The paddling group will include the candidates and assessor(s); there will be no other paddlers to lead. Candidates will be asked to demonstrate self-rescue and rolling skills, in accordance with the award guidelines

Day Two 0900: meet at agreed venue
Leadership day: candidates will lead a group of up to 4 students (less experienced paddlers than the candidates; around 3 Star standard) on a suitable journey in qualifying conditions. Each candidate can expect to be solely responsible for the group for around 2 hours on this day.

Assessment format:
We will take a positive approach to allow candidates to perform to their full potential. There will be frequent opportunities to discuss assessment tasks and check understanding. The assessment will be broadly holistic, with final decisions made in the light of the candidate’s overall performance across both days.

At the end of the assessment, we will conduct an assessment review and debrief, with outcomes discussed and explained to candidates. If you are not successful, we will explain our decision, discuss detailed performance elements, agree an action plan for a future assessment – and will provide a written version within a week of the assessment.

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