Level 4 Award


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ACA LEVEL 4 Sea Kayak Award


VENUE: Open water, wind to 11-16 knots, surf to 3 feet (1 Meter), current to 3 knots



q Sea kayak equipped with suitable floatation, deck lines and grab loops

q PFD, helmet, spray skirt with release strap, paddle, spare paddle, whistle

q Food, drink, and warm drink

q Spare clothing/ shelter

q Paddle clothing suitable for immersion and appropriate to the conditions

q First Aid kit

q Repair kit


q LEVEL 3 AWARD: any elements from your prerequisite L/3 award

q LAUNCHING AND EMBARKING: good technique with boat floating in a variety of conditions / scenarios

q EFFICIENT FORWARD PADDLING: 500 meter paddle with good body rotation, and control over pace and direction

q EFFICIENT REVERSE PADDLING: over a figure of 8 course with good boat control and variety of strokes

q TURNING ON THE MOVE: quickly turn, with minimum speed loss, starting with a bow sweep

o Low brace turn with onside tilt

o High brace turn with onside tilt

o Bow rudder with on and offside tilt

q ROTATE 360 ON THE SPOT: spin kayak using deep offside boat tilt and full sweeps

q EDGING ~ BOAT TILT: edging for assist in turning a with sweep strokes and gunnel deep offside edge. Forward and reverse

q RUDDERING: trailing stern rudder to keep the boat straight at reasonable speed in following seas with paddle kept on one side (demonstrate both sides)

q DRAW SIDEWAYS: move the boat sideways 5 meters using good directional stability with

o Hip draw

o Sculling draw

o Draw on the move: forward and reverse

o Sideslip / hanging draw: forward and reverse

q PREVENT CAPSIZE: efficient low and high brace recovery on both sides with the boat moving and off balance to the waist followed by forward paddling


o Paddling comfort with all above techniques in moderate sea conditions

o Demonstrate ability to paddle in a head sea, beam sea, quartering sea and following sea

o Demonstrate ability to turn up wind and down wind efficiently

o Demonstrate ability to hold position


o Launch and land forwards under control (without being surfed)

o Launch and land backwards under control (without being surfed)

o Hold position in surf

o Surf, broach and side surf


o Comfort establishing a ferry angle- forward and reverse

o Control in peeling out and eddy turns


q WET EXIT: comfortable capsize and wet exit in rough conditions/ current

q SELF RESCUE: re-enter kayak in rough conditions without assistance and pump out boat

q DEEP WATER RECOVERY: demonstrate efficient assisted drain and re-enter in rough conditions as victim and rescuer

q SOLO TOWING: tow a victim without help in rough conditions making appropriate use of long and short tow line and

demonstrate emergency release of the tow

q ASSISTED TOWING: tow a victim with help from a third kayaker to provide stability

q ASSISTED TOWING: tow a victim with help from a third towing kayaker to provide propulsion

q RAFTING: demonstrate ability to raft up with another kayaker to provide stability in rough conditions

q CONTACT RESCUES: demonstrate ability to tow or push another kayaker without use of a tow line in rough conditions

q ESKIMO RESCUE: confident capsize and rescue both as victim and rescuer using bow, stern and paddle presentation

techniques in rough conditions

q ESKIMO ROLL: demonstrate a roll on one side with set up


q COMBAT ESKIMO ROLL: roll on both sides without a set-up, come up within three attempts

q COMBAT ESKIMO ROLL: roll on both sides in rough conditions, wind, surf

q RE-ENTER AND ROLL: come up within three attempts

q NIGHT PADDLING: comfort in paddling at night in familiar conditions as a trip participant

q LEADERSHIP: ability to lead a group in moderate conditions


q THREE DAY TRIPS: Show evidence of at least three all day trips of 12-15 nautical miles in a variety of conditions

q ONE MULTI-DAY TRIP: Show evidence of at least one multi-day journey involving overnight camping


q EQUIPMENT: have a working knowledge of all paddling and safety equipment

q SAFETY: understand the dangers of exposed kayaking and how to avoid trouble

q HYPOTHERMIA ~ HYPERTHERMIA: good understanding of body heat control

q 1st AID/ CPR: basic first aid knowledge and current CPR certification

q ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES: understand river ecology, seamanship and river sense

q TRIP PLANNING: comfortable in preparing logistics for a long, exposed sea day trip

q GROUP AWARENESS: familiar with whistle and paddle signals, group dynamics and safety

q GROUP LEADERSHIP: familiar with group management practices in moderate conditions

q GENERAL: understanding the effects of wind, tide and current, etc.

q KNOTS: tie a bowline, figure 8, clove hitch, round turn and 2 half hitches, trucker hitch

q REPAIRS IN THE FIELD: demonstrate use of repair kit

q PACKING ~ TRIMMING: loading a kayak for a multi-day journey

q NAVIGATION: chart reading and plotting, symbols, depths, drying heights, hazards, bouyage, tidal / current predictions, selection of escape routes, use of ranges and line of position (LOP)

q COMPASS USE: taking and following bearings, fixing position

q COAST GUARD: demonstrate knowledge of rescue services and how to use them, include use of radio, flares and other signals

q WEATHER: know sources of weather forecasts and understand how to interpret them

q LOCAL CONDITIONS: familiarizing and understanding the local paddling area, local traffic and potential hazards

q SEAMANSHIP: Rules of the road, including collision regulations, light and sound signals



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Last modified: April 24, 2013