British Canoeing (BC) is the new name for what was known as the British Canoe Union (BCU). BC is recognized worldwide for providing the highest quality personal skills, leadership, and coach training and assessments. In North America BC has historically been dominated by sea kayaking but in the last few years, canoeing, whitewater kayaking, and SUP courses have been increasing in popularity as well. BC skills courses and leadership courses are known as Star Awards and range from 1 Star to 5 Star.
1 Star and 2 Star are flatwater multi-discipline awards where paddlers are trained and assessed in both canoes and kayaks. A 2 Star paddler has solid boat control and rescue skills in flatwater in both canoe and kayak.
2 Star Training at Great Lakes Sea Kayak Symposium
The 3 Star Award is discipline specific. You can be a 3 Star Open Canoe, 3 Star whitewater, 3 Star Sea Kayak etc. A 3 Star Sea paddler is a competent member of a led group in relatively mild conditions on the open water. The 3 Star Sea is the award most appropriate to show competence as a Great Lakes paddler.
3 Star Sea Training and Assessment at GLSKS
At 4 Star the environmental conditions increase and in addition to the personal paddling and rescue skills you are also now leading a group in those conditions. A 4 Star Sea leader is confident in leading other paddlers on the sea (or Great Lakes) in fairly bouncy conditions and can also lead in small tide races.
4 Star Training during our Rhode Island Ocean Skills Week
The 5 Star Award represents the highest level of personal skill and leadership in very challenging conditions. 5 Star trainings and assessments are only available in a small number of northern coastal U.S. venues or in the U.K.
BC also offers safety training including the Foundation Safety and Rescue Training (FSRT) which is one of the most valuable courses for the average paddler. FSRT focuses on rescues for a variety of paddle craft.
FSRT as part of BCU Week at GLSKS
British Canoeing coach education courses range from Level 1 through Level 4. Coach Level 1 and 2 are multi-discipline coaching awards. This means a Level 1 or 2 is certified to teach sea kayaking, river kayaking and canoeing in benign conditions. A Levl 3 coach is discipline specific, you would become a Level 3 Sea Coach or Level 3 Canoe Coach etc. Level 4 is a university level degree in paddlesports coaching.
BC programming in the US, Canada and Mexico is facilitated through Paddlesports North America (PNA). A complete list of documents, forms and procedures is available on the PNA website.