Canoe Wales is the national governing body for paddle sport in Wales. We:

  • Represent the interests of our club and individual members
  • Advocate on behalf of the interests of the sport in Wales
  • Provide coaching and development programmes from local to international level
  • Stage national and international competitions.

BCU 5 Star Leader - Open Canoe

Successful performance at this level indicates that you are at the top level of performance, involving a high level of personal skill and leadership in advanced situations. It is a leadership award and the appropriate test for paddlers who wish to lead groups of up to 4 paddlers on advanced river journeys and on remote, exposed open waters in open canoe. The five star leader has the skills and judgement to select appropriate trips for paddlers with a range of experience, however it is not a coaching award and as such is not a suitable qualification for introducing people to the sport.

In order to obtain the 5 Star Leader award, you will have to attend a training course which will last a minimum of 4-days, or with sufficient evidence of both personal paddling experience and leadership experience, you can use the APL process to apply to go straight to assessment (with all other pre-requisites in place). The assessment course lasts 2-days.

5 Star Open Canoe Leader - Syllabus Overview

What do I need to do before the training course?

You should hold either:
  • BCU 4 Star Open Canoe Leader
  • 'old scheme' BCU Level 3 canoe
If you do not hold either of these awards, with sufficient evidence of equivalent experience / training, you may still be able to access the course using the APL process.

What will the training course involve?

The coach will cover personal paddling skills such as running grade 3 white water, dealing with open water conditions (up to force 5 winds), lining, poling and navigation. Rescue skills both specific to canoes and general safety and rescue for the 5 star environment will be introduced and practised. Leadership methods and tactics will also be covered, including group control, appropriate equipment to carry in various scenarios and risk management.

Training courses will vary in their exact content and delivery, depending on the experience and previous knowledge of those on the course. You should expect to leave the course with a clear idea of what you need to do in order to progress to assessment.

Please see the 5 Star Open Canoe trainer's notes for more information.

What do I need to do before the assessment?

  • You must be able to provide documentary evidence of a minimum of 30 varied, quality, advanced open canoe days in 3 different geographical areas.
  • Recognised first aid award (minimum 16 hrs training including CPR) within the last 3 years
  • 5 Star Open Canoe Leader training OR old style 5 Star Canoe training within the last 3 years 
  • Aged 18 years or above.
If you meet all of these requirements, you must then complete the Canoe Wales Leader Registration (LR Form), at least 2 weeks prior to your assessment. Leader registration is valid for 12 months, so it is worth doing it as early as possible to avoid worrying about it as your assessment approaches.

All that is left to do is to book on to a course! Check out up-coming courses registered with us using the online date list.

What is involved in the assessment?

To get an idea of what the assessors will be looking for, please check out the Assessor notes.

Following successful assessment 5 Star Leaders must have comprehensive membership (in order to have 3rd party liability cover), knowledge of Child Protection guidelines and must remain current.
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