Paddlesport Leader Award

Paddlesport Leader Award

The Paddlesport Leader Award is aimed at paddlers taking on formal leadership responsibilities in benign, sheltered water environments and aims to support Leaders to run safe, quality, enjoyable trips based on their group’s needs and aspirations.

Preparing for Assessment

Informal learning, experience based learning, and an availability of individualised choices are important to developing skilled leaders. To supplement this, British Canoeing provides quality training opportunities for those that seek them. It is important that you take an active role in deciding the appropriate preparation, training and experience that you need prior to presenting yourself for assessment. Guidance is offered below to help you construct this personalised development journey.

 British Canoeing Training

British Canoeing Paddlesport Leader Award Training courses are available to support you in your development of the required skills. These courses typically cover leadership skills, and the associated personal skills, safety and rescue skills. As this training is delivered by British Canoeing Paddlesport Leader Providers, they will also be able to help you identify an appropriate action plan to support your progress towards a successful assessment. This is the comprehensive option; courses are normally offered as 2-5 day programmes, with longer courses providing more time for you to practice and develop the skills.

Other Training Opportunities

You may wish to opt for more bespoke training opportunities. For example, private tuition, in-house training through your work place, working alongside/shadowing other Leaders, or conference/symposium workshops. Many British Canoeing Paddlesport Leader providers are willing to offer bespoke training to individuals or groups of individuals. The benefit of working with a Paddlesport Leader Provider is that they have explicit knowledge of the award requirements. However, there are a great many other experienced Leaders who may be in a position to support your development; the Paddlesport Leader Assessment Guidance (available to download from Home Nation Association website) can be used as a steer as to the skills required.

Here at Rock The Boat Activities we are able to offer both of the above forms of training to best suit your needs. With staff holding National Trainer Roles for the Paddlesport Leader Award we will tailor the training to suit your needs.


Paddlers wishing to complete a Paddlesport Leader Assessment are required to register before they are able to attend the course.

Prior to attending a Paddlesport Leader assessment you need to register with your Home Nation Association. Evidence of the following is required:

  • Valid (within 3 years) British Canoeing recognised 1-day first aid award
  • Full Home Nation Association Membership

You must be aged 16 or over at the time of assessment. Note that you cannot be deemed responsible for leadership by law until you turn 18 years of age.

Assessment and Certification

In order to achieve the qualification you need to show competence in the following elements:

  • Participant focused leadership skills
  • Personal paddling skills
  • Rescue skills
  • Underpinning background knowledge, understanding and experience

A summary of these areas follows below and further expanded upon in the ‘Paddlesport Leader Assessment Guidance’.

The Paddlesport Leader Assessment will normally run over 1 or 2-days. This will depend on the course ratios and logistics relating to access to suitable environments.

Upon completion of the Assessment the course provider will submit successful participants for certification.

E - Learning

British Canoeing have developed an online E-Learning resource to support leaders learning and can be accessed on the following link –British Canoeing Paddlesport Leader E-Learning

Leaders will need to create an account, using their email address, Facebook or LinkedIn, which enables Leaders to work through the e-learning at their own pace and log back in when they want to. The e-learning contains questions to check your understanding. Results are not shared with course providers. The e-learning is purely to support leaders learning. The e-learning resource is not compulsory.


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