General Aims

The Level 3 Canoe Skills Award aims to enable participants to:

  • Canoe safely and competently on rivers up to and including of Grade II difficulty as a member of peers.
  • Be capable of negotiating obstacles encountered on water of Grade II difficulty
  • Be able to carry out rescues likely to be encountered while canoeing with assistance.

Attendance Requirements

Requirements for attending a Level 3 Canoe Skills assessment:

  • Be over 12 years of age

  • Be a current member of Canoeing Ireland
  • Be able to demonstrate techniques stroke in appropriate environment
  • For paddlers U-18 it is recommended that these paddlers be supervised by a person over the age of 18 who has suitable experience.


To obtain the Level 3 Canoe Skills Award, a participant must successfully explain and demonstrate the following techniques and skills at a level higher than that required for the Level 2 Canoe Skills Award.

The participant should be capable of carrying out all the strokes in both double and solo canoe (where the stroke is relevant).

  • Forward Paddle, a Forward J Stroke
  • Reverse Paddle, a Reverse J Stroke to be used in the solo
  • Emergency Stop
  • Forward Sweep
  • Reverse Sweep
  • A combination of Forward and Reverse Sweep.
  • Draw Stroke and Pry
  • Sculling Draw
  • Hanging Draw
  • Brace for Support
  • Bow Rudder & Bow Draw
  • Cross Bow Rudder & Draw
  • Stern Rudder
  • Inside Pivot and Outside Pivot turn
  • Enter and Exit
  • Trim
  • Paddling in Windy Conditions.
  • Forward Ferry Gliding
  • Reverse Ferry Gliding
  • Breaking In
  • Breaking
  • An ability to tie a round turn and two half hitches, clove hitch and highwayman’s hitch.
  • Capsize Drill
  • X & Curl Rescue
  • Offensive and Defensive Swimming
  • An ability to use a Throw Rope to rescue a swimmer.
  • Deep Water Rescue of an incapacitated paddler
  • An ability to manoeuvre an empty canoe between two specified points
  • Simple tows with the use of equipment.
  • Knowledge of Safety Rules
  • An understanding of Eddies, Standing Waves, V Waves, Stoppers, and Easy River Routes
  • Knowledge of wind effect on the canoe and trimming of the canoe for wind and rapids, i.e.,weight at back for running with the wind, forward for heading into wind. Sitting towards centre in rapids/drops etc should be known. The importance of trim in Doubles and Solo Canoeing
  • An understanding of various signals and commands.
  • River Running Methods –leapfrog, herd and drive.
  • The painters at either end of the canoe should be easily accessible during the trip but should not be able to wrap around the participant’s legs whilst they are in the canoe.

Course Documents