Level 3 Canoe Skills

General Aims

The Level 3 Canoe Skills Award aims to enable participants to:

  1. Canoe safely and competently on rivers up to and including of Grade II difficulty as a member of peers
  2. Be capable of negotiating obstacles encountered on water of Grade II difficulty
  3. Assist in basic rescues.


To obtain the Level 3 Canoe Skills Award, a participant must successfully explain and demonstrate the following techniques and skills at a level higher than that required for the Level 2 Canoe Skills Award.

The participant should be capable of carrying out all the strokes in both double and solo canoe (where the stroke is relevant).


  1. Forward Paddle, a Forward J Stroke, Reverse Paddle, a Reverse J Stroke to be used in the solo and Emergency Stop
  2. Forward Sweep, Reverse Sweep and a combination of Forward and Reverse Sweep.
  3. Draw Stroke and Pry
  4. Sculling Draw
  5. Hanging Draw
  6. Brace for Support
  7. Bow Rudder & Bow Draw
  8. Cross Bow Rudder & Draw
  9. Stern Rudder
  10.  Inside Pivot and Outside Pivot turn


  1. Enter and Exit
  2. Trim
  3. Forward Ferry gliding
  4. Reverse Ferry gliding
  5. Breaking in
  6. Breaking out
  7. Knots: an ability to tie a round turn and two half hitches, and clove hitch Highway mans hitch


  1. Capsize Drill
  2. X & CurlRescue
  3. Offensive and Defensive Swimming


  1. Knowledge of Safety Rules
  2. An understanding of Eddies, Standing Waves, V Waves, Stoppers, and Easy River Routes
  3. Knowledge of wind effect on the canoe and trimming of the canoe for wind  and rapids, i.e. weight at back for running with the wind, forward for heading into wind. Sitting towards centre in rapids/drops etc should be known.The importance of trim in Doubles and Solo Canoeing
  4. An understanding of  various signals and commands.
  5. The Painters  at either end of the canoe should be easily accessible during the trip, but should not be able to wrap around the participant's legs whilst they are in the canoe.


  1. The Level 3 Canoe Skills Assessment must take place outdoors on water of Grade II difficulty as part of a river trip. No part of an assessment can be taken in a swimming pool
  2. During assessment candidates must demonstrate all techniques/skills at a skills level higher than that required for the Level 2 Canoe Skills Award. All techniques and skills must be performed to an assessor's satisfaction in order to achieve this award.
  3. All strokes should be demonstrated in relevant situations and demonstrated on both sides of the canoe.
  4. Generally all required assessment rescues will be kept until the end of an assessment.
  5. Participants for this award must be at least 12 years of age.
  6. Member of Canoeing Ireland.

                Assessment Guidelines

                Level 3 Canoe Skills Award Guidelines

Forward Paddle, a Forward J Stroke

To be demonstrated in a  solo or double canoe with only a small amount of veering, near vertical paddle shaft

Reverse Paddle, a Reverse J Stroke

To be used in the solo or double

Emergency Stop

The paddle can cross the canoe in order to stop the canoe veering when solo

Draw Stroke and Pry

To be used in moving water to avoid obstacles

Bow Rudder

To be demonstrated in break out and break in manoeuvres

Cross Bow Rudder

To be demonstrates in break out and break in manoeuvres Bracing

Will be assessed as part of your canoe handling in Grade II rapids


To be shown as part of a Breaking In and Breaking Out manoeuvre.

Stern Rudder

Used to compensate at the stern of a double or for maintaining direction. Gunnel can be used for lever

Forward Ferry gliding (facing upriver)

Candidates must ferry glide in a straight line between two selected points on the river

Reverse Ferry gliding (facing downriver)

Candidates must ferryglide between 2 selected points, a combination of offside reverse strokes and reverse J stroke can be used

Breaking In and Out

May be carried out using any of the above strokes, confident strokes with edging and leaning should be evident


An ability to tie a round turn and two half hitches, clove hitch and Highway mans hitch.

Capsize Drill

An attempt should be made in Grade II water to bring the canoe to the bank and if unsuccessful should form the basis for assessment rescue.

X Rescue & Curl Rescue

To be carried out in a  canoe with the other canoe to be fully flooded and upside down, the rescuees can assist. All participants should act as rescuer and rescuee

Offensive and Defensive Swimming

Participants must fully understand the technique and its uses