the guides...

For those looking to get kayaking instruction this season there are several very interesting courses taking place in my neck of the woods that I thought I would pass along.

Coming up this June here in Toronto, Harbourfront Canoe and Kayak center is running a pilot program partnering with SKILS to offer a Day Guide program (Guide Level 1) from the Sea Kayak Guides Alliance of BC (SKGABC). This is the first time that this type of program has been run out of British Columbia.

The 5-day program looks pretty solid and would appeal to anybody who is taking people out on the water. SKGABC certification has international recognition including places like New Zealand, Denmark and South America so if you are the working/traveling type, the certification card has traction in those parts as well.

More info: (1/2 way down the page)

Paddle Canada Level 2/BCU 3*

If guiding isn’t your thing but you are interested in intermediate kayaking skills why not join Bonnie Perry and myself in Wawa, Ontario this August. We are putting on again a joint Paddle Canada Level 2 and BCU 3* program at Naturally Superior Adventures on the north shore of Lake Superior.

Level 2 Rescue Preactice. Photo Credit: Naturally Superior Adventures

Bonnie and I were talking on the phone just the other day howling with laughter while remembering the good times from last year. Bonnie says that she has a whole new batch of jokes ready to go. I’m still on my jokes greatest hits tour so you are going to hear my recycled gems at least three times over the week.

If you interested the Naturally Superior Adventures blog has info as well as a great collection of photos from last year.

Paddle Canada Level 3 is hosting several exciting sea kayaking skill development courses this season including two Paddle Canada Level 3 courses running out of Byng Inlet in Georgian Bay. If you are taking vacation in Spring jump on their course in May or else ask your boss for extra time off in early October.

Level 3 is a fantastic course and is aimed at intermediate paddlers who want to develop their rough water paddling skills. It starts to get into topics with a lot more detail inclding incident management, leadership, multi-day trip planning and advanced navigation.

Here are the course details if you are keen.

Paddle Canada Level 2 Instructor

Finally if you are busy in both June and August then book time off in October when White Squall Paddling Center in Parry Sound, Ontario will be offering a Paddle Canada Level 2 Instructor course.

This advanced instructor course is being held in conjunction with the Georgian Bay Storm Gathering (which you should be coming to anyways!) and taught by two of Ontario’s best instructors, Greg Mason and Graham Ketcheson (who also happens to be Paddle Canada’s executive director).

If you are interested in signing up, contact White Squall and they can give you all the details about the course.

Top photo credit: the guides... / schmish /
Bottom photo credit: Naturally Superior Adventures

Published in Events

Paul Kuthe on the Shubie. Photo Credit: Committed 2 the Core

Friend of the site and fellow P&H/Kokatat team member, Christopher Lockyer from Committed 2 the Core recently announced two really interesting programs he is running out of his amazing paddling backyard (also known as Nova Scotia).

On July 21-25 Committed 2 the Core is running a joint Paddle Canada Level 2/3 and a BCU 4* sea kayaking course. John Camody (level 5 BCU coach) who hails from Maine will be coming in as a guest instructor to help things out. I love the course description: Thick fog, plenty of coastal islands and the Bay of Fundy tides. What else could you ask for?

The other one that will be of particular interest to the advanced paddlers out there is the Paddle Canada Level 4/BCU 5* Training course running October 1-5. The course starta on Easter Shore in Nova Scotia then after a couple of days everybody moves up to the Shubie tidal bore for some rough water training. Nick Cunliffe (BCU Level 5 coach) is flying in from Wales to help out with that one.

You can get more info on the courses on their website.

Christopher is also one of the organizers of the Atlantic Paddle Symposium taking place in Newfoundland this May. As I mentioned before, I’m super excited to be teaching at it as I have wanted to go to Newfoundland for many years.

I recently heard that registration for the event is selling out at a blistering pace so if you were thinking of attending and haven’t registered yet you had better jump on that soon or you will be left out in the cold.

Top photo: Paul Kuthe on the Shubie. Credit by Committed 2 the Core

Published in Events

Transport Canada LogoOf course my prediction yesterday was way off but the announcement was great news non-the-less for canoe and kayak instructor/guides across Canada.

Today in Calgary, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, the Honourable Chuck Strahl announced that effective immediately canoes, kayaks and small sailing vessels will be exempt from commercial vessel registration. This is good news for both non-profit and commercial operators.

According to the press release on the announcement:

Owners of human-powered vessels, such as canoes, kayaks and small sailing vessels, as well as small vessels with motors less than 7.5 kilowatts (10 horsepower) will not have to register their craft with Transport Canada.

"We do not believe Canadian boaters should face onerous regulations to go canoeing and kayaking, which is why registration requirements for all human-powered vessels, small sailing vessels and small motorized vessels will not be required," said Minister Strahl.

This registration will continue to be required for commercial river rafts, government vessels and for any vessels where registration is necessary for safety reasons.

The other new small vessel regulations are still in effect which we have talked about before a couple of times.

This is great news. I will post more updates as I get them.

Update: Tony Palmer, friend of the site and owner of the Calgary paddling shop Undercurrents, was there at the announcement and was able to have a quick conversation with the Minister after the announcement and specifically mentioned that it was the well reasoned emails that really caused the change. Way to go to all of "us"!

Published in Issues

I just got word that Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, the Honourable Chuck Strahl will be in Calgary on Thursday, March 17, 2011 to make an announcement related to small vessel regulations and canoe/kayak registration.

There is no word on what the announcement could be but as somebody who loves to follow Apple product rumours and personally making poor predictions as to what the iPhone 5 will feature, I’m going to go out in a limb and give an educated guess.

Here it is: I predict that they are going to announce a freeze in the implementation of the new regulations across the board while Transport Canada is tasked to amend the regulations to make them clearer for everbody.

Here are my reasons why I think this will happen:

  1. We all know there is a pretty much a 100% chance that an election will take place this spring and I will guess a conversation took place in the Minister office along the lines of this:

“Sir, the press are asking questions about people not being allowed to go canoeing this summer!”

“Oh no, tell them that isn’t our intention. We love people out paddling.”

“But Sir, we have an election coming up. What if it becomes an issue and somebody starts asking questions at one of our town hall meetings along the election trail?”

“Yikes! Ok, freeze the whole thing. We will sort it out after the election.”

  1. The Minister addressed the issue to the press back on February 24th. At the time he mentioned fixing the “ambiguous legislation” and it was never the intention that Boy Scouts, Girl Guides and other non-profit groups get caught up in the commercial regulations.

That was only three weeks ago. If they are making an announcement this fast, there is no way they would have been able to make the significant changes required to clear the confusion and controversy surrounding the regulations. Maybe but highly unlikely.

The only other possible announcement that I can see is that they will exempt Girl Guides and Scouts from the regulations and vessel registration. That would be fairly easy to implement as they could make an amendment to exempt the two groups from it. The only problem with specifically exempting them only is that it doesn’t really address the perception that joe public, church or non-profit youth groups will be forced to register before going out on a camping trip.

In an election year, public perception has soured election results in the past and keeping everybody happy really is the key. Between now and ballot day you can bet that everyone will be walking on egg shells and it’s much easier just to put a freeze on it for now and sort it out later.

Could I be wrong? Probably, we will see tomorrow but to not guess would take the fun out of it!


Update: Did Canada's Minister of Industry, Tony Clement hint to MooseFM today that the whole thing is dead in the water? Maybe. Though 99.5 MooseFM isn't exactly known for their hard hitting investigative journalism, there is a quick snippet of an interview he did on local television recently. He says that nothing is going to go through and the regulations are all going to change.

Published in Issues

Stand Up Paddle Board SUP_09292009 (45)

Did you know that Paddle Canada has been actively developing a new Stand-Up Paddling program over the winter?

The final draft of the Flatwater level is now completed and they are looking for your comments. They also released the first draft of the Flatwater Instructor program so also take a look at it as well while you are at it.

The SUP Program Development Committee also announced that they have written about half of the River and Coastal programs so expect the drafts to be released in due course.

Finally, the PDC is developing a resource manual for SUP instructors and are on the lookout for a couple specific resources. If you can contribute anything it would be greatly appreciated.

We are looking for submissions from you for the Resource Manual.

  • Do you have a lesson plan or script you really like?
  • Do you use a rule of thumb for which board to give which student?
  • Do you have tips for the best way to organize a SUP race?

Almost anything goes. Of course, credit will be given to the author!

Send your comments or resouces to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Image Credit: Stand Up Paddle Board SUP_09292009 (45) / Michael Dawes / CC BY-NC 2.0

Published in Industry Stuff

Transport Canada Clarifies New Regulations

Wednesday, 02 March 2011 14:53

Transport Canada LogoLast Friday the Toronto Star wrote an article about the new Transport Canada regulations that effect instructors, leaders and guides who are on the water in canoes and kayaks.

The article focuses on the confusion that many Canadian paddlers are having with the new regulations and the fact that Transport Canada has yet to come out with some definitive guidelines and steps on if you need to register and how to do it.

All the media attention finally made Transport Canada publicly respond and clarify several items including the perceived notion that they are trying to hinder people from getting out on the water.

Published in Industry Stuff

Back in the fall of 2010 Transport Canada formally released an update to their small vessel regulations which; for the first time in a long time impacts canoe and kayaks.

Transport Canada Logo

The most controversial element of the new regulations centers around the idea that any type of paid or volunteer leadership on the water (including teaching or guiding) is now deemed as a commercial venture. This, "Guided Excursion" means that your canoe or kayak now falls under the commercial regulations for small vessels which includes commercial vessel registration.

I will be honest with you. Since the announcement I have seen some of the most ridiculous posts by people on canoeing forums. Post by people who know nothing about the regulations but still very willing to tell the world how Paddle Canada and Transport Canada are destroying our canoeing heritage.

I will admit that when Transport Canada announced the changes there were lots of questions to be answered as the regulations are very vague and open to a lot of interpretation. To help understand them better I worked with several other Paddle Canada Program Development Committee volunteers to go through and sort out what everything means. It took a while to sort through which included many, many calls and emails with Transport Canada representatives but I think we created a good summary document with an FAQ that is posted on the Paddle Canada website.

Even though there is still some uncertainty about some areas here is what I know for sure:

Published in Issues
Level 6 Logo Paddle Canada Logo

Paddle Canada just announced a new membership perk for instructors. In partnership with Level 6 instructor members can now get 40% off all regularly priced items in the catalogue. That’s a pretty solid deal.

For those not in the know, Level 6 have been around since 1997. Based out of Ottawa Ontario, they produce a wide range of items from dry suits, to safety gear, to actual fashionable items that your non-paddling friends would wear.

"We know what it is like to be an instructor and understand the challenges it can have." says Tyler Lawlor, co-owner of Level 6, "Increased participation in paddling starts with great instructors, and we want to provide an opportunity for each instructor to achieve their best ."

To access the deal you need to be a paid-up Paddle Canada instructor. The deal is only good through the Level 6 office so don’t race down to your local paddling shop looking for the same prices.

More info:

Published in Industry Stuff

Canadian Professional Paddlers Conference Logo

Just a quick reminder that the Canadian Professional Paddling Conference is taking place September 24th to 26th in Minden, Ontario. The date is approaching quickly so if you haven’t registered yet then it’s time to get on it ASAP.

Published in Events

Playing around after a rescue clinic. Photo Credit: David Johnston

Here are a couple photos from a trip last week up to Lake Superior last week. I had the pleasure of being invited to teach a Paddle Canada Level 2 sea kayaking course at Naturally Superior Adventures with my co-instructor; the very funny and hugely talented Rev. Bonnie Perry. Long-time readers will remember a piece I wrote a year ago when she was nominated to be the Bishop of Minnesota.

Published in Teaching
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