Advanced Sea Kayaking


Searching through some of my sea kayaking literature this week I came across a small booklet which described all of the British Canoe Union Tests and Awards. What was particularly interesting was how the top level personal award in sea kayaking has changed over the last 40 years. Download the BCU 5 Star Award and see how the scheme has evolved.

Advanced Sea Test – – – Kayak only

The purpose of this test is to ensure that the successful candidate has sufficient knowledge and skill to take parties on advanced sea journeys with safety. He must give evidence (e.g. log book) to satisfy the examiner that he has taken part in at least eight advanced trips, and have assisted the leader on two of these. He must already hold the Sea Proficiency Certificate, which he will produce at the time of testing. The test will be conducted on the sea in an advanced situation.

The candidate will : –

1. Pack his canoe for a one day sea trip, including the following items : –

spare clothing, repair kit, packed lunch, equipment for preparing a hot drink. emergency

food, flares, whistle, first aid, torch, matches or lighter, polythene bag of minimum size 6′ x

3′ for use in case of exposure, compass.

2. Demonstrate advanced surfing techniques: i.e. manoeuvring on waves forwards, sideways

and backwards; rolling under breaking waves.

3. Demonstrate and take charge of, with partners, a deep water rescue and an Eskimo rescue.

4. Demonstrate an approved method of resuscitation.

5. Answer questions on the the following, with the aid of a chart if necessary : –

a. Repairs and maintenance

b. The causes of tides and tidal streams, and how to allow for them.

c. The use of transits, taking bearings on known features and the use of the compass.

d. Sea conditions and the effects of wind, particularly on :-

(1) Shelving bottom (2) Lee shore

(3) Rips (4) Overfalls

(5) Tide races

e. Weather forecasting from observation of cloud formations, and the means of

obtaining, and understanding, weather forecasts.

f. Group leadership and control

g. Estuary canoeing

h. Types of canoe and equipment

i. General canoeing knowledge including competition.

6. Plan a sea canoeing expedition of two to three day’s duration, in detail, from

an unfamiliar chart in conjunction with the pilot book and tide tables.

January 1971

This is one the earliest photos that I have scanned in from the early years of my paddling career. Derek Hairon at the Ecrehous, our first trip on the August Bank Holiday weekend 1974. For us this was the era of home made kayaks and paddles, BS3595 lifejackets and using empty water containers as buoyancy for the kayak. Although commercially available sea kayaks were coming onto the market they hadn’t reached Britain’s South Sea Island (Jersey), so in 1974 we were still paddling our modified KW 7’s. A few years later I took my Advanced Sea at Bardsey with Ray Rowe and I was still paddling a GP kayak. How things have changed I don’t think I paddled a GP kayak once last year.