Canoe Instructor Course
Are You Prepared?

This page covers skills that candidates should have mastered before starting an Intro Lake Tandem or Solo Instructor course. Intro Tandem Instructors also have a requirement for some solo skills, which will be included as part of a Tandem Instructor course. This information is provided for self assessment and is not considered part of a course.

This page generally covers the pre-requisite skills for entry into the Intro Instructor Course. The skills/manoeuvres below are associated with Intermediate level and not what candidates will be actually teaching. Refer to the Paddle Canada manuals for the specific Introduction level material to teach. During an instructor course candidates will need to consistently be able to demonstrate the Intro level manoeuvres at least at the Intermediate level.

Paddle Canada has set high standards for their instructors. This means that obtaining instructor certification can be a difficult task and may take some time to complete through both courses and mentorship. More information on the necessary criteria for instructor levels, skills, and apprentice/mentorship requirements can be found on the Paddle Canada website under Programs/Canoeing.

Instructor courses focus on teaching methods and detection/correction skills, participants must be able to complete and demonstrate skills and manoeuvres at a level higher than the requirements of the courses they will be teaching. Consider the following items prior to taking instructor certification.

  1. You should have completed the Intermediate Lake Tandem or Solo skills courses, or you can consistently demonstrate the equivalent skills.
  2. You should be able to paddle for a long period of time. Typically you will need to be able to sit and paddle, or practise, for stretches of several hours without a break. This does not mean just forward paddling but sideways, backward, circles, pivots, etc...

The following check lists include the Intermediate manoeuvres and skills expected of an instructor candidate. You should be able to complete these skills on both your 'on' and 'off-side'. This list does not cover all of the Intermediate level skills, but if this set cannot be completed you may not be prepared.

This page is focused on specific manoeuvres and some safety requirements. It does not mention specific strokes or theory material (knots, portaging, boat/paddle material/design, navigation, weather, etc....), instructor candidates are also responsible for adequate knowledge of these topic areas.

Although as an Introductory level instructor you only have to demonstrate the Intro level skills, having additional skills and manoeuvre capabilities provides for safety and risk mediation. If someone needs help, or a rescue is required, many of the listed manoeuvres & skills would be critical - even if they are not part of the intro curriculum.

If you are unfamiliar with any particular manoeuvre or skill contacting the instructor trainer before the course is often helpful.

Manoeuvre Check List (stern, bow, and solo)
see links to demonstrations and descriptions below
TaskStern Bow Solo
Straight line forward and backward ~25m    
Controlled Stopping (forward and backward ~1m mark)   
Pivot both directions (1m)   
Side displacement both directions ~5m   
Side slip (running) both directions ~1-2m   
Inside circle ~5m radius (part of figure 8)   
Outside circle ~5m radius (part of figure 8)   
Inside turn & continue, approach ~90°   
Outside turn & continue, approach ~90°   
Inside landing ~1m from mark   
Outside landing ~1m from mark   

Rescue skills
Canoe rescue with canoe-over-canoe and/or parallel technique (lt 4 min)
reenter canoe and assist others from deep water
Throw bag - throw, hit, and tow victim (10m) 
Canoe towing  
Tow swimmers (15m) 

Other (observed)
Understanding of Edging
   momentum, initiation, tilt, hold
Appropriate treatment of equipment  
Safe paddling awareness  
Equipment selection knowledge
  Small Vessel regulations
  appropriate size (PFD/Paddle)

Online Resources
Tandem Manoeuvre Demonstrations & DescriptionTBD - fall 2018
Solo Manoeuvre Demonstrations & Description 
Rescue Demonstration & Description
   Canoe over Canoe from Canoeroots
   Parallel Rescue from Canoeroots
TBD - fall 2019
Paddle Canada Lake Manual (6th ed, 2013) 
Paddle Canada Strokes Manual (2012)
MPC Canoe School Lake Resource (2018)
MPC Canoe School Instructor Resource (2018)

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Last modified: Wed Agu 29 2018