Level 4 River Skills
The Level 4 River Skills Award aims to enable candidates to:
- Kayak safely and proficiently on rivers up to and including Grade III difficulty as part of a group of peers.
- Be capable of negotiating obstacles likely to be encountered on Grade III rivers.
- Deal competently with rescue situations that might occur on rivers up to and including rivers of Grade III difficulty.
- Develop group awareness.
To obtain the Level 4 River Skills Award a participant must successfully explain and demonstrate the following techniques and skills at a level higher than that required for the Level 3 Kayak Skills Award and be capable of demonstrating any combination of the strokes competently and efficiently.
- Forward Paddle, Reverse Paddle, Emergency Stop.
- Forward Sweep, Reverse Sweep and a combination of Forward and Reverse Sweep.
- Draw Stroke
- Sculling Draw
- Hanging Draw
- Low Brace
- High Brace
- Sculling for Support
- Stern Rudder
- Bow Rudder
- An ability to use water conditions available for the effective and efficient manoeuvring of a kayak.
- Competence in negotiating water obstructions i.e. Standing Waves, Stoppers, and an ability to utilise it to cross a river.
- Competence in negotiating bends where water flows under trees or against vertical riverbank.
- Forward Ferry Gliding.
- Reverse Ferry Gliding.
- Breaking In accurately.
- Breaking Out accurately.
Rescues and Safety Techniques
- An X Rescue and/or Assisted X Rescue.
- Eskimo Rescue (maximum lower body rotation).
- Eskimo Roll.
- Capable of Self-Rescue.
- Curl Rescue and/or TX Rescue.
- Stern Carry.
- Unconscious Casualty (method of righting an unconscious person in a capsized kayak).
- An ability to manoeuvre an empty kayak between two specified points.
- An ability to assist an incapacitated paddler in a kayak between two specified points.
- Offensive & Defensive Swimming.
- An ability to use a Throw Rope to rescue a swimmer.
- A practical knowledge of First Aid and its relevance to possible situations arising during a canoeing trip to include: Shock, Hypothermia, Head Injuries, Dislocations, Bleeding, CPR, EAR.
- An understanding of the following:
- River Grading
- River Route Finding
- Types of GP kayaks and paddles
- Towing Systems and methods
- Group Control and Awareness
- Signals and Commands
- Personal Equipment
Applying for Assessment
Before applying to attend a Level 4 River Skills Award Assessment, a candidate must:
- Have obtained the Level 3 Kayak Skills Award.
- Have completed an RSR 2 Training Course and obtained an RSR 2 Certificate
- Be a member of Canoeing Ireland either as an individual member or as a member of an affiliated club.
- Have unrestricted access to a fully equipped kayak, personal equipment and additional equipment. (See Level 4 River Skills List of Equipment).
- Be at least 16 years of age.
- Be a member of Canoeing Ireland.
- The Level 4 River Skills assessment must take place during a river trip of at least three km on water of Grade III difficulty.
- During an assessment a candidate must explain and demonstrate all techniques and skills at a level higher than that required for the Level 3 Kayak Skills Award. All techniques, skills and rescues must be demonstrated to the required level in order to achieve this award.
- All strokes should be demonstrated in relevant situations i.e. sculling in a stopper. Strokes should be demonstrated on both sides of the kayak.
- All rescues must be executed by the candidate acting as both rescuee and rescuer. Generally, required assessment rescues will be kept until the end of the river trip.
- While it is not compulsory to attend a training course prior to assessment, it is strongly recommended.
- A Level 4 River Skills Award can only be assessed by a Level 4 River Instructor who meets the Level 4 River Skills Assessor Panel requirements.
- It is recommended that the award be assessed by an Instructor other than the Instructor who ran the training course leading to assessment.
- The assessment will be carried out with a maximum ratio of 4:1.
- Should a candidate fail an assessment written guidelines should be given as to the areas that they need to improve on.
- No other award may be assessed at the same time as the Level 4 River Skills Award.
Equipment List required for Assessment
Properly equipped kayak:
- Rigid end loops and/or toggles.
- Suitable buoyancy
- Suitable foot rest
- A kayak must be of sufficient volume to carry out all necessary safety equipment and perform any rescue as required by the Level 4 River Skills Award
Personal kayaking equipment:
- ISO approved Helmet
- ISO approved Buoyancy Aid with integrated harness
- Spray deck
- Adequate hard sole footwear
- Wetsuit or dry pants, dry cag or dry suit, combined with sufficient thermal clothing
- Throw Rope
- 4-5 m Open Sling
- Karabiners x 2, one screw gate, one snap gate
- Towing System
- First Aid Kit
- Mobile Phone
- Flask and Food
- Spare Clothes
- Bivvy Bag or group shelter
- Split Paddle
- Repair Kit which should include duct tape and multi tool (at a minimum)
- Dry Bag or other method of keeping equipment dry