Level 4 Canoe Skills
The Level 4 Open Canoe Skills Award aims to enable participants to:
- Canoe safely and competently on rivers up to and including rivers of Grade II–III difficulty as part of a group of peers.
- Be capable of negotiating obstacles encountered on water of Grade II–III difficulty
- Deal competently with rescue situations that might occur on rivers up to and including rivers of Grade III difficulty.
- Develop group awareness
During assessment, a participant must successfully explain and demonstrate the following techniques and skills at a level higher than that required for the Level 3 Open Canoe skills award and be capable of demonstrating any combination of the strokes competently and efficiently:
- Forward Paddle, Reverse Paddle and Emergency Stop
- All Sweep strokes, including Outside Pivot Turn and Inside Pivot Turn.
- Edging &Trim
- Bow Rudder, Cross Bow Rudder, Stern Rudder.
- Bow Jam & Cross Bow Jam
- Support Strokes
- Draw, Sculling Draw and hanging draw strokes
- Poling & snubbing in a Grade 1 environment
- An ability to use water conditions available for the effective and efficient manoeuvring of an Open Canoe
- Competence in negotiating water obstructions i.e. Standing Waves, Stoppers during the course of a trip
- Competence in negotiating bends where water flows under trees or against vertical river bank
- Forward Ferry Gliding (facing upriver)
- Reverse Ferry Gliding/ Setting (facing downriver)
- Breaking in accurately
- Breaking out accurately
- Controlling a canoe with a pole in a grade 1 environment
Rescues and Safety Techniques
- X Rescue
- Curl rescue
- Self Rescue
- Deep Water Rescue of an incapacitated paddler
- Rescue and Tow
- Offensive and Defensive Swimming
- An ability to use a Throw Rope to rescue a swimmer
An understanding of the following:
- River Grading
- River Route finding
- Trimming a canoe for varying environmental factors
- Types of Open Canoes 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 Canoe Skills assessment, a candidate must:
- Have obtained the Level 3 Canoe Skills Certificate
- Be a member of the Canoeing Ireland either as an individual member or as a member of an affiliated club.
- Have unrestricted access to a fully equipped open canoe, personal equipment and additional equipment (see Level 4 skills list of equipment)
- Be a least 16 years of age.
- Member of Canoeing Ireland.
- The Level 4 Canoe Skills assessment will take place during a river trip of at least three miles on water of Grade II–III difficulty.
- During assessment candidates must demonstrate all techniques/skills at a skills level higher than that required for the Level 3 Open Canoe skills award in order to achieve this award. All techniques, skills and rescues must be demonstrated and assessed to the required level in order to achieve this award.
- All strokes and techniques must be demonstrated on both sides of the Open Canoe and in relevant situations.
- All rescues must be executed by the candidate acting as both rescuee and rescuer. Generally the required assessment rescues will be kept until the end of the assessment river trip
- While it is not compulsory to attend a training course prior to assessment, it is strongly recommended.
- A Level 4 Canoe Skills Award can only be assessed by a member of the Level 4 Canoe Skills Assessor Panel.
- It is recommended that, the Level 4 Open Canoe skills Award is assessed by an Instructor other than the Instructor who has run the training course leading to the assessment. Notwithstanding this, a Level 4 Skills Award can only be assessed by a member of the Level 4 Open Canoe Skills Assessment Panel.
- The candidate assessor ratio should be a maximum of 4:1
- Clear guidelines should be given in writing should the candidate fail an assessment as to the areas they need to improve on.
- No other award may be assessed at the same time as the Level 4 Open Canoe Skills Award
Equipment List required for Assessment
Properly equipped Canoe:
- Suitable Buoyancy
- Sufficient length of painters
- Method of securing paddles
Personal kayaking equipment:
- ISO approved Buoyancy Aid with integrated harness
- Adequate footwear
- Wetsuit or dry pants, dry cags or dry suit, with sufficient thermal clothing
- Throw Rope
- 4 – 5 m OpenSling
- Karabiners x 2, one screw gate, one snap gate
- Towing System
- First Aid Kit
- Mobile Phone
- Flask and Food
- Spare Clothes
- Bivy Bag or group shelter
- Spare Paddle
- Repair Kit which should include duct tape and multi tool (at a minimum)
- Dry Bag or other method of keeping equipment dry