The skill levels chart is a guide to help you decide what club activities you are capable of participating in.

Club trip coordinators and instructors are empowered to exclude members from club  paddling activities at any time for safety reasons.

Skill Level

Description

Abilities

Beginner

Little or no previous paddling experience. Has taken no formal training.

Little to none. Learning basic paddling strokes and boat handling. Requires constant supervision on the water.

Novice

Completed a formal course and is building their skill level through experience

Can perform the basic paddling strokes and manages boat. May require aid on the water. Requires monitoring while paddling. Learning how to judge paddling conditions.

Intermediate

Experienced, safe, self-sufficient paddler.

Can perform basic & intermediate paddling stokes. Displays boat handling skills appropriate to normal conditions. Can judge paddling conditions for self. Can self-rescue in the conditions paddled.

Advanced

Highly experienced, safe, self-sufficient paddler.

Can perform advanced paddling strokes and boat handling. Can handle extreme conditions. Can self rescue and rescue others.

Trip Coordinator

A paddler who arranges/organizes a club trip. Not a skill level.

No minimum paddling skills required. No on-water instructional role. Cannot judge other's paddling ability, but is empowered to exclude members from trips for safety concerns at any time.

Instructor

Holds a current valid certification by a national body for a particular discipline (kayking, canoeing) at a defined skill level.

Able to train, supervise and mentor students in the discipline at the certified level, but not beyond. Can judge paddling conditions and competency of others, and exclude members from on-water activities at any time.

Notes

- Many Alberta rivers are very cold, hypothermia is a very real and constant danger. Overestimating skill levels and underestimating grade can lead to potentially risky situations.

- In tandem paddling, the team must be able to maneuver the boat as required, but both paddlers do not necessarily have to be equally skilled. However, both paddlers should posses the minimum skill level, as a boat is only as capable as its least experienced crew member. No amount of skill can be transferred in an emergency.

- Skill rating are for normal paddling conditions. Water and weather conditions are variable which may affect the difficulty of a trip. Marginal skills may be inadequate under certain conditions.

- For wilderness canoe/camping or extended trips, all paddlers should be thoroughly competent in the skills required for the trip. The group should also have related camping, first aid and survival skills appropriate to the excursion.

 

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