The sea kayak leader pathway is for those who wish to lead groups of sea kayakers in a moderate tidal environment. It recognises the experience you have paddling on the sea, allowing you to support your club or lead commercially.

The Sea Kayak Leader award is open to anyone with experience of paddling in moderate tidal water with winds not exceeding Beaufort force 4. The award will enable you to lead fun, safe and enjoyable sea kayaking trips for groups of sea kayakers.

The Sea Kayak Leader award is used by clubs, outdoor centres and organisations to support their sea kayak journeys on moderate tidal water. This includes short, single or multi-day journeys in appropriate conditions.

Sea Kayaking Cornwall run both training courses and assessments throughout the year. If you’d like to be trained or assessed in your local area, get in touch (outlining your requirements) and we’ll see if we can help!

Sea Kayaking Cornwall offers training over five days, which enables us to maximise the learning and experience you are able to gain from the course.

The Sea Kayak Leader Training is split into the following areas:

  • Personal Paddling Skills
  • Rescue Skills
  • Safety, Leadership and Group Skills
  • Theory (including navigation, trip planning and beyond)

The training emphasises the application of a variety of techniques appropriate for leading a group in exposed open water, requiring the paddler to perform appropriate and effective manoeuvres in real situations.

The five day training will try to encompass the following structure (conditions allowing):

  • Day 1: Personal Skills, Rescues & Towing
  • Day 2: Trip Planning & Rock Gardening
  • Day 3: Leadership
  • Day 4: Surf
  • Day 5: Incident Management

At the end of the training you will be provided with an individual action plan to support your progress towards a successful assessment.

Before registering for assessment trainees will need time to consolidate experience and gather the following:

  • Safeguarding Training (dated within the last 3 years)
  • First Aid appropriate to this award (dated within the last 3 years)
  • Costal Navigation and Tidal Planning Course (can be completed online or in person)
  • Full National Association Membership

*Although not a prerequisite, it’s advisable for a Sea Kayak Leader to have a VHF radio as part of their safety kit. Therefore the appropriate VHF licence should be required.


We do everything we can to take the stress out of assessments. We are focused on the journey and not the destination. The experience we aim to provide will be safe, engaging and enjoyable, with you at the heart of the process, involving you in as much of the decision making as possible.

During the assessment you will have to demonstrate knowledge and skills in four areas:

  • Personal paddling skills
  • Rescue skills
  • Safety, leadership and group skills
  • Theory (including navigation and trip planning)

The assessment will include leading a suitably sized group of paddlers (minimum of 3) on a stretch of coastline with the following characteristics:

  • Straightforward landing points a maximum of two nautical miles apart
  • Crossing not exceeding two nautical miles
  • Up to 2 knots of tide (but not involving tide race or overfalls)
  • Wind strengths do not exceed BFT 4
  • Launching and landing through surf (up to 1 meter)

Cornwall is the perfect location for Sea Kayak Leader Assessment offering a variety of conditions along a spectacular coastline. However, assessments are required to take place in conditions appropriate to the top end of the award. If the conditions on the day aren’t appropriate assessment conditions we reserve the right to postpone or cancel the assessment until a date in which they are appropriate.

*Prior to signing up for an assessment candidates must be registered for assessment with Paddle UK

Paddle UK Resources

The courses offered by Sea Kayaking Cornwall line up with official Paddle UK awards so that you can make the most out of your time with SKC and utilise the skills and experienced gained in the rest of your paddling life.

Read more about Sea kayaking Cornwall & Paddle UK

Contact Us

Please give us a call if you have any queries or wish to discuss any of our courses or expeditions:

0044 (0)1326 250889 (office)
0044 (0) 7555 763695 (Shaun Rodgers)
0044 (0) 7455 884482 (James Roberts)

Sea Kayaking Cornwall, Tregedna Farm, Maenporth, TR11 5HL