Paddler’s Self-Rating Guide

Instructions: for each group of statements below (i.e. Flatwater Paddling Skills), select the most advanced statement that best reflects your present skills or experience for each Venue you have paddling experience in. You may give yourself a partial score (intermediate value) on any one statement. Total your maximum score for each paddling venue and use the rating table to determine your level of paddling skill & experience.

Paddling Venues:

  • FW = Flatewater
  • Riv = River
  • WW = Whitewater

For Example an Intermediate Paddler with some Lake/Flatwater and River Experience but no whitewater experience may complete the Other Rescue Skills as:

Rating Statements  Value Score by
Paddling Venue
FW  Riv  WW
 “Other” Rescue Skills
Complete a T- Rescue in flat water 1 1    
Toss a throwbag onto a floating & moving person, at 12 m distance, on two of three trials 2   2  
Complete a towing rescue of boat-of-choice or willing and able victim in Class III rapid 3      
Please Complete the table below now.
Rating Statements  Value Score by
Paddling Venue
FW  Riv  WW
 “Other” Rescue Skills
Complete a T- Rescue in flat water 1 1    
Toss a throwbag onto a floating & moving person, at 12 m distance, on two of three trials 2   2  
Complete a towing rescue of boat-of-choice or willing and able victim in Class III rapid 3      

Rating Statements

 Value Score by Paddling Venue
FW  Riv  WW
 

Swimming Skills:

Swim at least 200 m on front and back 1
Swim in a river current, can ferry when swimming on back with feet up 2  
Swim in class III rapid with some control of direction of travel 3    

Self-Rescue Skills

Able to pull self back into an upright canoe or kayak in flat water 1
Rescued myself and my paddling gear and boat in moving water, on a stream of less than 100 cms 2  
Rescued myself and my paddle and boat in a Class III rapid 3    

“Other” Rescue Skills

Complete a T- Rescue in flat water 1
Toss a throwbag onto a floating & moving person, at 12 m distance, on two of three trials 2  
Complete a towing rescue of boat-of-choice in Class II rapid 3    

Flatwater Paddling Skills

Know the canoe forward stroke, draw stroke, cross-draw, and basic duties of a “bow” paddler, or in a kayak able to paddle in a straight line for 100 m and turn the boat where to and when desired. 1
Use the J-stroke and/or can keep the boat-of-choice on a straight line in a light breeze.  Most of the time can provide useful steering directions to partner or another paddler in my boat-of-choice. 3
Use more than one J-stroke and/or can keep the boat-of-choice on a straight line in a modest to strong breeze. Rarely make an error when providing steering directions to a partner, or another paddler in my boat-of-choice. If a tandem canoeist can confidently paddle both ends of the canoe with less skilled paddlers. 5

River Paddling Skills

Occasionally misses an eddy turn or ferry in a current of less than 5 km/hr. Can keep boat-of-choice going in desired direction. 1  
Occasionally misses eddy turns or ferries in strong currents  >5 km/hr, can back ferry (or set). Can pick out a river channel through sand and gravel bars and can recognize and predict sweepers and logjams. 3  
Rarely misses an eddy turn, ferry or set, even in a very strong current of >8 km/hr. Is confident at “reading the river” and directing other paddlers through difficult passages in gravel bars and around log jams and sweepers in their boat-of-choice. 5  

Whitewater Paddling Skills (in boat-of-choice)

Know the AWA/ICF River & Rapid Rating system, and have practiced the river skills of eddy turns and ferrying in moving water. 1  
Can read the navigable channel in up to a Class III rapid and rarely misse an eddy turn or ferry, generally successful in bracing into and out of small “holes”, likes to “play” in most river features on modest streams of up to 100 cms. Can generally roll boat-of-choice in the current. 3    
Confident leading others through Class III rapids and can scout the navigable channel in Class IV rapids. Generally try to “play” most river features in small and large streams (>100 cms) and rarely miss a roll in the current, holes, wave train or along an eddy line. 5    

Experience

Have paddled for less than two seasons and on less than ten lakes, streams or reaches of longer rivers. 1
Have paddled for more than two season and on more than ten lakes, streams or reaches of longer rivers. Have been involved in less than ten rescues as part of the rescue team. 3
Have paddled for many seasons on a wide variety of lakes, rivers AND rapids. Have been involved in more than 20 rescues completing a variety of rescue tasks (i.e. — T-Rescue, throw-bag, towing to safety boat or swimmer, picking up lost gear, etc.) 5

Total “Value” earned using the most advanced statement in each group

Rating

Score
total greater than

Practiced Novice >4 >8 >16
Intermediate >7 >11 >21
Skilled >12 >21 >28
  FW Riv WW

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