Level 5 River Skills
The Level 5 River Skills Award is designed for kayakers wishing to develop advanced skills and rescue techniques appropriate to Grade IV & advanced white water rivers. It is an appropriate award for advanced kayakers who kayak with others of similar ability on Grade IV & advanced white water rivers.
The Level 5 River Skills Award is a prerequisite for progression from the Level 3 to the Level 4 Kayak Instructor. The Level 4 Kayak Instructor is the appropriate qualification for those wishing to instruct and lead others on Grade III+ white water rivers.
The Level 5 River Skills Award aims to enable candidates to:
- Develop the necessary skills, group awareness, and group management to kayak safely and competently on rivers up to and including rivers of Grade IV & advanced white water difficulty.
- Deal competently with rescue situations which might occur on rivers up to and including rivers of Grade IV & advanced white water difficulty.
- Deal competently with First Aid situations in a remote river environment.
The Level 5 River Skills Award requires that a candidate attend a two day training programme and a one day assessment. The training programme will include the following:
- Trip Planning
- Equipment for Advanced White Water
- Methods of River Leading
- River Reading
- Protection against Hazards
- Management of Rescue Situations
- Rescue from a Kayak
- Use of a Throw Rope
- Rope Rescues
- First Aid in the River Environment
- At least one Grade IV /advanced white water river trip leading a group under the supervision of a Level 4 Kayak Instructor.
- Assessment Procedures.
Applying to attend a training course
Before applying to attend a Level 5 River Skills Training Course, a candidate must:
- Hold the Level 4 Kayak Skills Award.
- Have unrestricted access to a fully equipped kayak, personal equipment, and additional equipment as listed for a Level 5 River Skills Assessment.
- Be at least 18 years of age.
- A current member of Canoeing Ireland.
To obtain the Level 5 River Skills Award a participant must successfully explain and demonstrate the following knowledge, competence and skills at a level higher than that required for the Level 4 Kayak Skills Award.
A Level 5 River Skills candidate would be expected to:
- Demonstrate all techniques and skills at a standard necessary to deal competently with conditions likely to be encountered on Grade IV & advanced white water rivers.
- Demonstrate a thorough knowledge of safety precautions and procedures to be adopted while with a group on Grade IV & advanced white water rivers.
- Deal efficiently with rescue situations likely to occur on Grade IV & advanced white water rivers.
- Demonstrate the necessary skills to communicate effectively with other group members on Grade IV & advanced white water rivers.
- Demonstrate a constant awareness of other group members, their location on the river and within the group.
- Demonstrate an ability to assess a group's competence to deal with conditions likely to be encountered on Grade IV & advanced white water rivers.
- Demonstrate an ability to command trust from a group of peers while on rivers of Grade IV & advanced white water.
- Demonstrate a sufficient knowledge of the river's environs.
- Demonstrate an ability to read white water to a high standard.
- Present a suitable and correctly fitted out kayak and other appropriate equipment (see Level 5 River Skills Equipment List). It would be expected that a candidate's equipment be of a standard consistent with the responsibilities of being part of a group undertaking a trip on a Grade IV & advanced white water river. Equipment should be readily accessible at all times.
Applying for Assessment
Before applying to attend a Level 5 River Skills Assessment, a candidate must:
- Have completed an RSR 3 Training Course and obtained an RSR 3 Certificate
- Have attended an approved Level 5 River Skills Training Programme within the 24 months period preceding a selected assessment date.
- Have recorded in a Level 5 River Skills Logbook, following the completion of a Level 5 River Skills Training Programme, at least 10 river trips of a minimum of 20 hours duration of Grade IV & advanced white water experience under the supervision of peer paddlers or if possible at least two registered Level 4 Kayak Instructors.
- In addition to 5.02 a candidate must record in a Level 5 River Skills Logbook evidence of having gained experience over a minimum of three years on a range of advanced river trips showing a bias towards Grade IV & advanced white water rivers. Experience gained on wholly artificial courses/weirs will not be considered as part of the completion of this requirement.
- Possess a current and approved First Aid Certificate. (for example, REC Level 3).
- Be at least 18 years of age.
- Have returned to the Canoeing Ireland Office a completed Level 5 River Skills Logbook accompanied by a Level 5 River Skills Assessment application form no later than three weeks before a selected assessment date.
- Be a current member of Canoeing Ireland.
- The Level 5 River Skills Assessment will take place over one day and must include a river trip on a minimum of Grade IV difficulty over a distance a 4-8 Kms.
- The Assessment Group on the river trip element of the assessment should consist of the following:
Minimum of one registered Level 5 River Skills Assessor
Minimum of two and up to a maximum of four Assessees
Level 5 River Skills Panel Aspirants
Maximum of two Level 5 River Skills Panel aspirants
- A Level 5 River Skills Award can only be assessed by a registered member of the Level 5 River Skills Assessor Panel.
- It is recommended that the award is assessed by an Instructor other than the Instructor who has run the training course leading to assessment.
- The assessment ratio is a maximum of 4 assessees:1 assessor with a minimum of 2 assessees: 1 assessors.
- Clear guidelines should be given in writing should a candidate fail an assessment as to the areas which need to be improved upon.
- Candidates cannot depend on any assistance (material or practical) during the course of an assessment.
- No other award or qualification can be assessed during a Level 5 River Skills Assessment.
The format of the Level 5 River Skills Assessment will include assessment of a candidate's:
- Personal kayaking skills.
- Ability to demonstrate white water and deep water rescue techniques.
- Knowledge, both oral and practical, of advanced white water techniques, skills and rescues.
- Knowledge, both oral and practical, of First Aid and AR as applied in a high grade river environment.
- Interview with assessors.
Equipment List required for Assessment
A correctly equipped kayak:
- Rigid end loops and/or toggles
- Suitable buoyancy
- Suitable foot rest
- A kayak must be of sufficient volume to carry all necessary safety equipment and perform any rescue as required by the Level 5 River Skills Award.
Personal canoeing 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
- Sling x 2, one open sling
- Karabiners x 5, two snap gate, three screw gate
- Prussic Loops x2
- Towing System
- First Aid Kit
- Mobile Phone
- Flask and Food
- Spare Clothes
- Bivvy Bag
- Group Shelter
- Split Paddle
- Repair Kit
- Dry Bag or other method of keeping equipment dry
A candidate's personal and group equipment will be evaluated as part of the assessment. Candidates must present suitable personal equipment plus any additional equipment deemed to be appropriate to support other members of the group. Equipment should reflect such things as the season, the abilities of the group, and the grade of the river being undertaken. Borrowed equipment will be assessed as if it were a candidate's own. A candidate should be aware that on advanced grade rivers having too much or inappropriate equipment can nearly be as hazardous as having too little.