Paddlesport Leader

The British Canoeing Paddlesport Leader qualification is suitable for paddlers taking on formal leadership responsibilities in sheltered water conditions and who wish to lead, supervise or facilitate, safe, quality, enjoyable trips based on their group’s needs and aspirations. The award does not include progressive coaching of technical skills but focuses on learning through experience.

The Paddlesport Leader can choose the craft from which they work, and can look after others in both single discipline and mixed fleets. This may include for example racing craft, touring kayaks, open canoes, suitable sit-on-tops, general purpose kayaks, stand-up paddleboards or crew boats.

To achieve the British Canoeing Paddlesport Leader Award candidates are required to show competence in the following elements:

  • Participant-focused leadership skills
  • Personal paddling skills – as a guide the British Canoeing Personal Performance Award/3 Star standard in the chosen craft is considered a suitable measure
  • Safety and rescue skills – the British Canoeing Foundation and Rescue Training (FSRT) syllabus covers the basic skills which candidates will be expected to apply in a range of rescue situations relevant to the craft used
  • Underpinning background knowledge and understanding – as a guide candidates who are successful at assessment will normally have logged a minimum of 24 trips of at least 4 hours’ duration including 12 acting as leader.


There is no requirement to attend formal training before assessment however tailored training is available to support aspirant leaders’ other training (such as personal skills and FSRT courses) and experience to prepare candidates for assessment.

Assessment pre-requisites

Prior to attending a Paddlesport Leader assessment candidates need to register with British Canoeing (or home nation association). Evidence of the following is required:

  • Valid (within three years) British Canoeing recognised 1-day first aid award
  • British Canoeing membership

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

Assessment are conducted at a ratio of 1:1 or 1:2 maximum. You will need to recruit and equip a group of between three and six paddlers in a mixed fleet to lead during the assessment which will be arranged at the venue(s) of your choice. Assessments are usually completed within a single day.

For further details of the Paddlesport Leader award and registration process visit

Paddlesport Leader Training/Assessment

To discuss your training needs or assessment contact Andy Maxted, tel: 07730 852760 or email: