ACA Certifications and Assessments 2016-11-01T00:25:14+00:00

ACA Certifications and Assessments

Let Cohasset PaddleSports help you earn ACA Skills Assessments or Instructor Certifications!

ACA Logo

Skills Assessments

ACA Skills Assessments are an industry-recognized standard of a paddler’s capabilities. A formal assessment helps you to gauge your strengths and weaknesses as a paddler. Preparing for an assessment promotes a focus on and development of strong paddling skills appropriate to your level.

LEVEL 1 – INTRO TO KAYAKING

The Level 1 Kayaking Assessment is the same for both river and coastal paddlers. To earn a Level 1 skills assessment, the paddler must demonstrate basic boat control (paddling straight, turning & maneuvering, launching and landing), a wet exit (without a spray deck) and assisted rescue, and basic knowledge of safety and risks related to kayak paddling.

For a full description of the course and the criteria download the skills assessment workbook from the ACA

Level 1: Introduction to Kayaking Skills Assessment

LEVEL 2 – KAYAK TOURING

At Level 2, ACA kayaking assessments split into river kayaking and coastal kayaking. Cohasset PaddleSports offers assessments in coastal kayaking. Level 2 skills build upon the Level 1 skills and adds low and high braces, low brace turns, wet exit with spray deck and trip planning. The candidate must show evidence of at least one trip of 5 nautical miles.

For a full description of the course and the criteria download the skills assessment workbook from the ACA

Level 2: Essentials of Kayak Touring Skills Assessment

LEVEL 3 – COASTAL KAYAKING

A Level 3 paddler is capable of maneuvering the kayak using a variety of strokes and techniques in seas up to 2 feet and winds up to 15 knots. The paddler must be able to roll his boat and perform a self-rescue. He must demonstrate towing and rescues of other paddlers in conditions. He must also be confidant with navigation using charts and a compass.

For a full description of the course and the criteria download the skills assessment workbook from the ACA

Level 3: Coastal Kayaking Skills Assessment

LEVEL 4 – OPEN WATER KAYAKING

A Level 4 the paddler is capable of maneuvering the kayak using a variety of strokes and techniques in surf up to 3 feet, winds up to 16 knots and current up to 3 knots. At this level, the paddler must be able to maneuver both forwards and backwards using appropriate strokes and edging in a variety of conditions. She must be comfortable and confidant in moderate seas. She must be able to launch and land in surf up to 3 feet. She must be able to handle tidal currents – breaking in and out of eddies and ferrying across the current.

For a full description of the course and the criteria download the skills assessment workbook from the ACA

Level 4: Open Water Coastal Kayaking Skills Assessment

Trip Leader Assessments

Thinking about leading a trip for your group or club? A Trip Leader Assessment is for anyone who wants to lead a group of paddlers on a trip. The emphasis is on planning, leading, group management, safety and rescue.

COASTAL KAYAK DAY TRIP LEADER

A Trip Leader assessment is intended to provide the minimum skills and training necessary for an adult leader possessing basic paddling skills to lead a trip for participants with beginner level paddling skills. The trip should be planned and paddled in gentle conditions, with wind not exceeding 10 knots, waves not exceeding 1 foot and currents up to 2 knots. The emphasis of this course is trip leading, safety education and rescue, not paddling instruction. The course and assessment is relevant for clubs, camps, Scouts and other groups offering kayak trips.

For a full description of the course and the criteria download the leader assessment workbook from the ACA

Coastal Kayak Day Trip Leading

LEVEL 3 – COASTAL KAYAK TRIP LEADER

A Level 3 Trip Leader assessment is intended for paddlers who intend to lead trips in a coastal kayak environment. The candidate should be prepared to lead trips in conditions up to and including L3 conditions (wind up to 15 knots, 1-2 foot seas or surf and currents up to 2 knots). The candidate must complete an assessment as a L3 Coastal Kayak paddler or an L3 Instructor prior to being awarded this assessment. The emphasis of this course is trip leading, safety education and rescue.

For a full description of the course and the criteria download the leader assessment workbook from the ACA

Level 3: Coastal Kayak Trip Leader

LEVEL 4 – OPEN WATER KAYAK TRIP LEADER

A Level 4 Trip Leader assessment is intended for paddlers who intend to lead trips in coastal and open water kayak environments. The candidate should be prepared to lead trips in conditions up to and including L4 conditions (wind up to 20 knots, 2-4 foot seas or surf and 2-4 knots of current). The candidate must complete an assessment as a L4 Open Water Kayak paddler or an L4 Instructor prior to being awarded this assessment. This course places additional emphasis on navigation & planning, group leadership, and incident management.

For a full description of the course and the criteria download the leader assessment workbook from the ACA

Level 4: Open Water Kayak Trip Leader

Instructor Certifications

Want to become an Instructor? Instructing, coaching or guiding can be a rewarding way to share your passion for paddling with others. Teach someone a new skill, share your knowledge or show someone the joy of exploring the ocean, lakes and rivers in a kayak!

LEVEL 2 – KAYAK TOURING INSTRUCTOR

A Level 2 Instructor must be able to effectively demonstrate and teach kayaking skills to the Level 2 standards. These include forward and reverse strokes, draws and braces. You must be able to demonstrate and teach assisted and self rescue techniques, including the T-rescue, scoop rescue, paddle float rescue and Hand of God. The instructor must understand and teach safety concerns and hazards, weather and tides, boating “rules of the road”. He must be able to teach about kayaking equipment including fit and proper use.

For a full description of the course and the criteria download the instructor assessment workbook from the ACA

Level 2: Essentials of Kayak Touring Instructor Criteria

LEVEL 3 – COASTAL KAYAK INSTRUCTOR

A Level 3 Instructor must be able to effectively demonstrate and teach kayaking skills to the Level 3 standards. The Level 3 criteria requires that the candidate demonstrate proficiency in 1-2 foot seas, 1-2 foot surf, 1-2 knots of current and wind up to 15 knots. In addition to strokes and maneuvers, the L3 instructor must be able to demonstrate and teach a number of rescue techniques including the Eskimo rescue, paddle float rescues and scramble rescue. Towing and swimmer recovery techniques are added at Level 3 as well as navigation and trip planning.

For a full description of the course and the criteria download the skills assessment workbook from the ACA

Level 3: Coastal Kayaking Instructor Criteria

LEVEL 4 – OPEN WATER KAYAK INSTRUCTOR

A Level 4 Instructor must be able to effectively demonstrate and teach kayaking skills to the Level 4 standards. The Level 4 criteria requires that the candidate demonstrate proficiency in 3-5 foot seas, 2-4 foot surf, 2-4 knots of current and 15-20 knots of wind. Many of the same strokes and skills are required at L4, but the emphasis is on paddling and instructing in rougher open-water conditions. Much more emphasis is put on navigation, trip planning and incident management.

For a full description of the course and the criteria download the instructor assessment workbook from the ACA

Level 4: Coastal Kayak Open Water Instructor

ACA Membership

ACA membership (like American Express) has its privileges!

As a member of the ACA, you have access to some of the best educational and safety resources in the industry. You can find out about courses available across the country, get access to symposiums and gatherings, and you must have a membership to receive formal assessments or certifications.

Plus your membership comes with a subscription to the paddling magazine of your choice!

Find out more about the ACA and what it has to offer at americancanoe.org

2015-ACA-Logo-round180