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 Minimum
CERTIFICATION
COMMENTS
     

LAKE WATER SITUATIONS

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

Camp Leader
or
Day Guide

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 Level 1 or 2 The Lakewater Instructor courses ensure 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 Instructor Level 1 can certify students with LW1-2 certification, and Lakewater Instructor Level 2 can certify students with LW1-4 certifcation and also train Lakewater Leaders.

 

   
Assistant leaders on lake locations that are sheltered and quickly and reasonably accessible by emergency services. Lakewater Level 2 minimum or Camp Leader  or equivalent experience.
LW Level 3 or 4 or higher 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 Camp Leader, Day Guide or Lakewater Instructor (better).

The Lakewater Instructor certificate (Level 1 and 2) 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. Camp Leader or Day Guide provide a minimum background and are suggested as a stepping stone to Lakewater Instructor.

 

   
Teaching or leading kids on open lake water and camping where emergency services are not quickly accessible
Lakewater Instructor Level 1
and Canoe Tripping Leader
In addition to the Lakewater Instructor Level 1 course, the Tripping Leader course ensures basic skills and theory needed for open water paddling, rescues, camping, and environmental ethics. Anyone going on open water situations with wind and waves should have a Basic Tandem Level 1 Certificate or equivalent before going on the trip.

 

   
Commercial guiding on open lake water and camping where emergency services are not quickly accessible
Canoe Tripping Leader or Expedition Guide. Lakewater Instructor is beneficial.
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. Expedition Guide Certificates provide a higher level of training than Tripping Leader and have a river focus, which sharpens skills.

 

 

   

RIVER SITUATIONS

   
Leading youth or commercial guiding on easy moving water with no overnight.
Day Guide with additional moving water training such as River Rescue Level 1&2,  Moving Water Level 1,2 or 3 or Instructor.
Leading on rivers requires very good judgement. For youth, they must have had appropriate training before exposure to moving water. Leaders must be trained to handle rescue situations and avoid hazards. Ideally any leader taking anyone on moving water should have a Moving Water Instructor or Moving Water Level 1, 2 or 3 certificate. There are some situations where the lower levels of training are OK, but these need to be carefully assessed. River rescue skills are also recommended, ideally canoe based such as RCABC's River Rescue course.
     
Leading youth or commercial guiding on easy moving water with overnight camping. Expedition Guide and River Rescue, or Tripping Leader or Instructor with Moving Water Level 1,2 or 3 and River Rescue.  Leading on rivers requires very good judgement. For youth, they must have had appropriate training before exposure to moving water. Leaders must be trained to handle rescue situations and avoid hazards. Ideally any leader taking anyone on moving water should have a Moving Water Instructor or Moving Water Level 1, 2 or 3 certificate. There are some situations where the lower levels of training are OK, but these need to be carefully assessed. River rescue skills are also recommended, ideally canoe based such as RCABC's River Rescue course.
In addition canoe tripping certification is required which ensures canoes are loaded properly, camp is set up safely and using Leave No Trace Principles and other factors such as navigation and weather have been taken into account.

 

   
Commercial guiding on wilderness rivers

Expedition Guide

The Expedition Guide certificate is designed specifically for commercial guiding. RCABC recommends addtional training such as advanced moving water, moving water instructor, lakewater instructor, river rescue and ocean or big canoe if appropriate.

 

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

Expedition Guide

The Expedition Guide certificate is designed specifically for commercial guiding. 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. For any trip that includes fast water RCABC recommends addtional training such as advanced moving water, moving water instructor, lakewater instructor, river rescue and ocean or big canoe if appropriate.
     
 
 
 
 
 
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