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Our Certified Paddle Sports Instructors teach courses from The American Canoe Association National Paddle Sports Instruction Program. Instructors must also posses a minimum of 10 years of professional guiding and teaching experience to qualify as Lead Instructor or Trip Leader with our program.

Coastal (Sea) Kayaking Programs Include:

Basic to Intermediate Skills and Coastal Safety Awareness for Paddlers

Includes: ACA Level 2 Essentials of Kayak Touring

This course will introduce participants to the nationally recognized American Canoe Association (ACA) Coastal Kayaking Program. This course is appropriate for beginner students as well as experienced paddlers who have never been exposed to a progression of kayak skills instruction. Students gain confidence in modern and efficient technique that will serve as a solid foundation for future paddling. 

Experienced & returning students will be further challenged with refinement of strokes and maneuvers as well as applying rescue skills in more challenging scenarios with realistic conditions for most Alaska paddling environments. This is the foundational course for those wishing to independently paddle on day trips, and participate in more remote overnight paddling trips in near shore coastal environments.  This class is also the beginning of the training progression for entry level Trip Leader training for aspiring guides and outdoor educators working the coast.

This class prepares students with an introduction and practical application of safety equipment including use of visual/ audible signals, self rescue gear, vhf radios, and first aid and survival equipment.

Developing Skills & Seamanship for Coastal Paddlers (1 or 2 day format available)

Includes: ACA Level 3 Coastal Kayaking/ Level 3 Strokes and Maneuvers Refinement

This course builds on the foundational skills of boat control and develops: balance, edging, and stroke coordination in progressing sea conditions. Students refine bracing, self rescue, and assisted rescues in increasingly challenging conditions and begin to develop the skills and confidence necessary to safely paddle into conditions that most recreational paddlers would sit out. All with an emphasis on refining safe and efficient modern paddling strokes and technique in a fun and supportive environment.

Video Analysis of individual’s skills are used to provide specific and immediate feedback on how one can improve on mastering strokes, maneuvers, and rescue skills.

Basic chart reading, navigation, seamanship/nautical “rules of the road”, weather forecasting, and basic trip planning opportunities are included early on in these courses. Students prepare to deal with emergency procedures while at sea including towing injured paddlers, stabilizing an injury at sea, and communicating with outside resources in the event of an emergency.

Advanced Seamanship and Open Water Skills (1 and 2 day Format available)

Includes: ACA Level 4 Open Water Skills

For those paddlers wishing to paddle at the upper limits of the conditions found on even storm days in Coastal Alaska. Having mastered skills and gained confidence in prior courses and on personal paddling objectives; students will practice advanced rescues, towing, and incident management at a higher level in moderate surf, current, and winds ALL away from the convenience of just heading back to shore. Seasoned instructors offer a safety net for students to push themselves and hone their skills in advanced conditions.

ACA Coastal Kayak Skills Assessments and Awards.

Skills Assessment Courses are used to measure a students ability to perform a skill set at the appropriate level of environmental conditions. Skills assessments serve as a foundation to Trip Leader Certification and also help students prove they have mastered a certain skill set for employers, insurance providers, or academic programs requiring a performance measure of skills and abilities.

ACA Assessment courses have been developed as a tool to allow paddlers a clear progression of skill development. Upon successful completion of each Skills Assessment checklist, your Instructor will submit the paperwork and you will receive official documentation of your level of skill from the ACA National Office. 

Note: to receive Skills Assessment documentation, you must be a current ACA member.

Level 2 Essentials of Kayak Touring Skills Assessment Award

Level 3 Coastal Kayaking Skills Assessment Award

Level 4 Open Water Coastal Kayak Skills Assessment Award (*requires course venue with access to moderate shore break and 3’ surf)

Coastal Kayaking Trip Leader & Guide Training and Assessment Course.