Certificates for Teaching, Guiding and Leading Trips?

If you're interested in teaching or leading groups, take some time to understand which training and certification would be best to meet your goals. Check our section Canoeing Certification FAQ for general advice and see the chart below for specific examples that RCABC suggests as best practice.

For teaching RCABC sanctioned courses and clinics, the certification requirements are clearly defined in the RCABC Instructor Manual.

For school, community organization or commercial canoe guiding situations it is the responsibility of that organization's administration to determine which certification levels they require. However RCABC is recognized as having a wealth of knowledge and we are regularly requested for advice on certification. For convenience we have provided suggestions for certification requirements outside of sanctioned RCABC courses. These suggestions are not intended to be a final word on a person's qualifications or ability to lead in any particular circumstance.

*Note that this chart is in development and has not been approved by the RCABC executive.

TYPE OF LEADERSHIP ROLE SUGGESTED COURSE COMMENTS
     

LAKE WATER SITUATIONS

 

   
Camp staff, taking kids out on sheltered lakes, near shore and emergency services

Camp Leader
(Lakewater Level I & II)

This training ensures camp staff have the skills to competently supervise, rescue and be good role models for kids in canoes. It is not an instructor course.

 

 

 

   
Community centers and outdoor programs with canoe activities involving instruction of adults on lakes only.
Lakewater Instructor The Lakewater Instructor course ensures canoeists can teach effectively, know canoe theory and safety topics thoroughly and have good control of their own canoe either in solo or tandem. Lakewater Instructors can certify students with LW1-4 certification.

 

 

 

   

Assistant leaders on lake locations that are sheltered and quickly and reasonably accessible by emergency services.

Lakewater Level 2 minimum or equivalent experience.
LW Level 3 or 4 is better.
Assistant leaders should be able to paddle tandem or solo, do rescues and have knowledge of all hazards,

 

 

 

   
Teachers or leaders leading kids on lake locations that are sheltered and quickly and reasonably accessible by emergency services Lakewater Instructor The Lakewater Instructor course ensures effective teaching and role modeling, knowing canoe theory and safety topics thoroughly and having good control of their own canoe either in solo or tandem. Lakewater Instructors can certify their own students with LW1-4 certification.

 

 

 

   
Teaching or leading kids on open lake water and camping where emergency services are not quickly accessible
Lakewater Instructor (if teaching canoeing skills)
and Canoe Tripping Leader
In addition to the Lakewater Instructor course, the Tripping Leader course ensures basic skills and theory needed for open water paddling, rescues, camping, and environmental ethics.

 

 

 

   
Commercial guiding on open lake water and camping where emergency services are not quickly accessible
Lakewater Instructor (if teaching canoeing skills)
and Canoe Tripping Leader
Guides typically need to teach canoeing skills to clients, therefor an instructor certification is recommended. Tripping Leader certificates ensure environmental ethics are followed and leaders have open water experience, loaded canoe rescue skills, and other skills such as best ways to waterproof and pack gear, portage, camp cooking and cleaning, etc.

 

 

 

   

RIVER SITUATIONS

 

   
Commercial guiding in remote areas including easy river canoeing (Grade 1) where more challenging rapids are avoidable or portageable and hazards are avoidable. Lakewater Instructor and Moving Water Level 1 or higher. River Rescue Level 1 is highly recommended. Some easy rivers have been sucessfully guided by people with minimal moving water training but strong Lakewater backgrounds such as Lakewater Instructor. However RCABC recommends strongly that guides receive as much river training as possible, no matter how easy the river trip is. Moving water hazards are dangerous even on easy rivers. Being able to solo on moving water (MW Level 2) indicates a higher level of skill and understanding. River rescue training (or swiftwater rescue) is highly recommended fro any moving water leadership role.

 

 

 

   
Commercial guiding on any rivers more difficult than Grade 1 (up to Grade 3).

Moving Water Level 2 or
Moving Water Instructor
River Rescue Level 1 and 2

Rivers of Grade 2 or higher require the confidence to constantly monitor clients and keep the group safe without needing to focus on your own paddling. This requires significant training and experience.

 

 

 

   
Leading youth on easy moving water

Lakewater Instructor &
Moving Water Instructor
River Rescue Level 1&2

Leading youth on rivers requires serious due diligence. Only youth that have thorough training on Lake Water and are phyiscally and psychologically prepared to handle moving water should be considered ready. Leaders must be trained to handle any rescue situation.

 

 

 

   
Leading or Guiding mixed lake/river trips such as the Bowron Lakes

Lakewater Instructor or Tripping Leader
Minimum Moving Water Level 1
River Rescue Level 1

Trips such as the Bowrons include sections of river that can be hazardous, particularly at higher water levels. Therefore Moving Water and rescue skills and experience are recommended unless only paddling the west side of the circuit with no fast moving water.
     
     
 
 
 
 
 
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