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American Canoe Association
Instructor Certification

ACA Logo
The American Canoe Association has a nationally respected certification program for paddlesports instructors. Charles River Canoe & Kayak periodically offers these workshops to allows prospective instructors to be certified in kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding.
Level 3/4 Coastal Kayak Instructor Development Workshop
This three or four-day workshop is designed for experienced sea kayakers who are interested in developing their leadership and guiding skills. The IDW focuses on modeling effective instruction of the skills, knowledge, and techniques necessary for successful completion of the Instructor Certification Evaluation (ICE). At the end of the course, each candidate will be individually evaluated and advised as to his or her readiness for entry into the ICE. The ICE must be completed within two years of the IDW.
Level 3/4 Coastal Kayak IDW is based at our Newton Boathouse but will also include ocean paddling trips. Participants are required to provide their own transportation and equipment.
$375 includes 3-day Coastal Kayak "Basic" Level 3 IDW.
$500 includes 4-day Coastal Kayak "Open Water" Level 4 IDW.
Significant Sea Kayaking Experience Required
Students must have significant sea kayaking experience, especially for the "Open Water" Level of certification. Your ocean paddling knowledge should include technical skills like bracing and basic rescues, plus knowledge of tides, currents, and navigation. To pass the Certification Exam, you are also required to perform three Eskimo rolls (this is not required to take the IDW). If you have questions, please contact us.
Formal Instruction Strongly Recommended
We strongly recommend previous formal instruction in this discipline (for the Coastal Kayak Certification this includes ocean paddling instruction, especially for the "Open Water" Level). The goal of the IDW is to teach you how to teach these skills, generally not to teach you these skills (though we do expect there to be things you don't already know, and we expect everyone to learn a lot!). If you have questions, please contact us.
Wet Exit Practice Required
Students who have not performed a wet exit may sign up for our ACA L3/4 Coastal Kayaking Instructor Development Workshop but must complete the Introduction to Kayaking course, an Introductory Trip, or a private lesson before participating in our ACA L3/4 Coastal Kayaking Instructor Development Workshop. If you have questions, please contact us.
Assisted Rescue Practice Required
Students who have not performed an assisted rescue may sign up for our ACA L3/4 Coastal Kayaking Instructor Development Workshop but must complete the Introduction to Kayaking course, an Introductory Trip, or a private lesson before participating in our ACA L3/4 Coastal Kayaking Instructor Development Workshop. If you have questions, please contact us.
Be Prepared to Paddle in Challenging Conditions
Students must be prepared to experience challenging conditions during our ACA L3/4 Coastal Kayaking Instructor Development Workshop. We will hold this trip in conditions of 10- to 15-knot winds and 2- to 3-foot (head-high) waves, if necessary.
If you are not yet comfortable paddling in significant wind and waves, we recommend building your skills in our Ocean Skills trip. If you have questions, please contact us.
Registration & Cancellation Policies for Paddling Classes and Trips
  • Full payment is due upon registration for a class, clinic, or trip.
  • For cancellations received 7 days or more before your scheduled activity, we will issue a refund less a 10% registration fee.
  • For cancellations received fewer than 7 days before your scheduled activity, we are unable to offer any refunds.
  • Classes, clinics, and trips always run unless the weather is extreme.
  • A minimum number of registrants is required for any event to run. If we cancel an event due to low enrollment, we will provide a full refund.
  • Each participant will be required to sign a waiver of liability. To save time, you can download this waiver and bring it with you.
Pre-Requisites & Requirements. Before signing up, you must have:
  • Significant sea kayaking experience, including technical skills and knowledge of tides, currents, and navigation.
  • We strongly recommend that you have taken formal instruction in this discipline.
  • Previous practice of a wet exit, where you flipped a kayak, removed the sprayskirt, and exited the kayak while underwater.
  • Previous practice of an assisted rescue, where you wet-exited the kayak in deep water and were rescued by another kayaker.
  • Skills to paddle in challenging conditions of 10-15 knot winds and 2-3 foot waves.
  • No Dates Are Currently Scheduled
     
    Level 3/4 Coastal Kayak Instructor Cert. Exam
    This three or four-day exam is designed to evaluate each instructor candidate's overall skills as an instructor. Participants have taken an IDW within the previous two years and will be tested in paddling, teaching, and group management skills. Those candidates who meet American Canoe Association standards will receive Instructor Certification. The ICE must be completed within two years of the IDW.
    Level 3/4 Coastal Kayak ICE is based at our Newton Boathouse but will also include ocean paddling trips. Participants are required to provide their own transportation and equipment.
    $375 includes 3-day Coastal Kayak "Basic" Level 3 ICE.
    $500 includes 4-day Coastal Kayak "Open Water" Level 4 ICE.
    Previous Participation in an Instructor Development Workshop
    Instructor candidates must take an Instructor Development Workshop before participating in the Certification Exam. If you have questions, please contact us.
    Registration & Cancellation Policies for Paddling Classes and Trips
    • Full payment is due upon registration for a class, clinic, or trip.
    • For cancellations received 7 days or more before your scheduled activity, we will issue a refund less a 10% registration fee.
    • For cancellations received fewer than 7 days before your scheduled activity, we are unable to offer any refunds.
    • Classes, clinics, and trips always run unless the weather is extreme.
    • A minimum number of registrants is required for any event to run. If we cancel an event due to low enrollment, we will provide a full refund.
    • Each participant will be required to sign a waiver of liability. To save time, you can download this waiver and bring it with you.
    Pre-Requisites & Requirements. Before signing up, you must have:
  • Previous participation in an Instructor Development Workshop.
  • No Dates Are Currently Scheduled
    Level 2 Basic Stand-Up Paddleboard Instructor Development Workshop & Certification Exam
    This three-day workshop and exam is designed for stand-up paddleboarders who are interested in developing their instruction skills. The Level 2 Basic SUP certification is for those teaching students in areas with mild winds and modest tidal currents. It emphasizes safety, efficiency, and self-reliance for those traveling by SUP in controlled conditions. At the end of the course, each candidate will be individually evaluated and those candidates who meet American Canoe Association standards will receive Instructor Certification.
    Level 2 SUP IDW & ICE is based at our Newton Boathouse but may include days spent on other bodies of water in the area. Participants are required to provide their own transportation and equipment.
    $375 includes 3-day Level 2 SUP IDW & ICE.
    Teaching Experience or Significant Paddleboarding/Surfing Experience Recommended
    Candidates should have either teaching experience (in any discipline) or significant paddleboarding/surfing experience before taking this class. The most important aspect of this course is to ensure you are capable of teaching Stand-Up Paddleboarding. If you have questions, please contact us.
    Membership in the ACA and the ACA's Safety, Education, and Instruction Committee
    In order to qualify as an American Canoe Association instructor, you must be a member of both the ACA and the ACA's Safety, Education, and Instruction Committee. Sign up by visiting ACA web site. If you have questions, please contact us.
    Registration & Cancellation Policies for Paddling Classes and Trips
    • Full payment is due upon registration for a class, clinic, or trip.
    • For cancellations received 7 days or more before your scheduled activity, we will issue a refund less a 10% registration fee.
    • For cancellations received fewer than 7 days before your scheduled activity, we are unable to offer any refunds.
    • Classes, clinics, and trips always run unless the weather is extreme.
    • A minimum number of registrants is required for any event to run. If we cancel an event due to low enrollment, we will provide a full refund.
    • Each participant will be required to sign a waiver of liability. To save time, you can download this waiver and bring it with you.
    Pre-Requisites & Requirements. Before signing up, you must have:
  • Teaching experience or significant paddleboarding/surfing experience is strongly recommended, but not required.
  • A current membership in the ACA and the ACA's Safety Education & Instruction Department.
  • No Dates Are Currently Scheduled
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    160 Riverview Ave.
    Waltham, MA 02453
    (617) 965-5110
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