Sea Proficiency Award – Kayak Only [10]

The purpose of this test is to ensure that the candidates have sufficient knowledge and skill to enable them to take their kayaks to sea under a competent leader.

The test must be taken at sea, under moderate conditions. Allowance will be made by the examiners if conditions are rough, but the kayak skills must be performed in a competent manner. For reasons of safety, four kayaks will participate. The test will not be taken in a flat calm.

The candidates will:

  • Present themselves suitably equipped for the test.
  • Present for inspection the following items, which must be both suitable and serviceable:

    • Kayak, paddle and spray cover.
    • Practical deckline system. (It is recommended that decklines be continuous along both sides of the craft, fastened at regular intervals).
    • Positive buoyancy in kayak.
    • Life jacket or buoyancy vest to I.C.F standards.
    • Repair kit and simple first aid kit.
    • Rudder and steering gear if fitted. It is recommended that the kayak be fitted with rudder and steering gear, but it is not essential.
    • Waterproof container/s.
    • Sponge.
  • Pack waterproof container/s with the necessary items for a 1 day tour and stow it/them in the kayak for the duration of the test.
  • In addition to those items listed above, the following will be included:

    • Spare clothing
    • Packed lunch
    • Emergency food
    • Matches
    • Torch
    • Compass
    • Fresh water
    • Emergency space blanket

    It is important to note that items may be added or altered to suit local conditions.

  • Demonstrate

    • Launching and embarking. Then paddle at least 50 metres offshore into deep water, i.e, well out of their depth
    • Efficient paddling technique forwards and backwards.
    • Turning the kayak 360 degrees in both directions by using sweep strokes. If the kayak is fitted with a rudder, whilst paddling evenly on both sides turn the kayak again in both directions, this time steering with the rudder only.
    • Emergency stops, forwards and backwards.
    • Drawing the kayak sideways in both directions.
    • Support strokes
    • Paddle brace high and low, on left and right sides
    • Stern rudder
  • Demonstrate:

    • Bringing the kayak alongside a jetty or another kayak
    • Bringing the kayak into a beach forwards, sideways and backwards in small surf
  • Perform capsize drill, followed by a deep water rescue with partners. Take charge of a rescue and then act as a capsized patient.
  • Prove that they can swim then swim 100 metres in canoeing clothing and buoyancy aid. Swim under a kayak and surface on the other side.
  • Answer questions on:

    • Practical experience, giving firm evidence of having taken part in at least 3 one-day expeditions at sea.
    • Safety precautions applying particularly to the kayak at sea.
    • The general effects of tide, current and wind.
    • Local rescue services.
    • Local waters and conditions.
    • Elementary chart reading.

Notes for Examiners:

  • You are looking for a competent, safe performance rather than a superlative one. Be clear in your mind what standard is expected.
  • Your object is to find out what the candidate does know and can do, rather then the reverse. Be sure to give the candidate further opportunity to prove him/herself.
  • Plan the test carefully beforehand, with particular reference to the questions you will ask. You may take the items in the test in any order.
  • Use your discretion in determining where weakness in part of the test can be offset by an otherwise good performance but do not be afraid to fail a candidate who is not up to standard.
  • To rate as a qualifying expedition the journey must have been on open water. The coastline may be simple, not involving overfalls, tidal races, difficult landings, or open crossings. Not more then one trip shall be carried out on an estuary. There must have been a minimum wind strength of force 2. The trip must have involved three hours paddling with a lunch break in which the candidate was self-sufficient for food and drink. At least one journey must be on an entirely different area of sea to the other two.