General Aims

The Level 4 River Kayaking Skills Award aims to enable candidates to:

  • Kayak safely and proficiently on rivers up to and including Grade III difficulty as part of a group of peers.
  • Be capable of negotiating obstacles likely to be encountered on Grade III rivers.
  • Deal competently with rescue situations that might occur on rivers up to and including rivers of Grade III difficulty.
  • Develop group awareness.

Attendance Requirements

Requirements for attending a Level 4 River Kayak Skills assessment:

  • Have obtained the Level 3 River Kayak Skills Award.
  • Have completed an RSR 2 Training Course and obtained an RSR 2 Certificate.
  • Be at least 16 years of age.
  • Be a member of Canoeing Ireland.
  • Have unrestricted access to a fully equipped kayak, personal equipment, and additional equipment. (See Level 4 Kayak Skills List of Equipment).


To obtain the Level 4 River Kayak Skills Award a participant must successfully explain and demonstrate the following techniques and skills at a level higher than that required for the Level 3 River Kayak Skills Award and be capable of demonstrating any combination of the strokes competently and efficiently.

  • Forward Paddle, Reverse Paddle
  • Emergency Stop.
  • Forward Sweep, Reverse Sweep, and a combination of Forward and Reverse Sweep.
  • Edging
  • Draw Stroke
  • Sculling Draw
  • Hanging Draw
  • Low Brace
  • High Brace
  • Sculling for Support
  • Stern Rudder
  • Bow Rudder

  • An ability to use water conditions available for the effective and efficient manoeuvring of a kayak.

  • Competence in negotiating water obstructions i.e., Standing Waves, Stoppers, and an ability to utilise it to cross a river.
  • Forward Ferry Gliding.
  • Reverse Ferry Gliding.
  • Breaking In accurately.
  • Breaking Out accurately.
  • Competence in negotiating bends where water flows under trees or against vertical riverbank.
  • An X Rescue and/or Assisted X Rescue.
  • T-Rescue (maximum lower body rotation).
  • Roll.
  • Capable of Self-Rescue.
  • Curl Rescue and/or TX Rescue.
  • Stern Carry.
  • Unconscious Casualty (method of righting an unconscious person in a capsized kayak).
  • An ability to manoeuvre an empty kayak between two specified points.
  • An ability to assist an incapacitated paddler in a kayak between two specified points.
  • Offensive & Defensive Swimming.
  • An ability to use a Throw Rope to rescue a swimmer.
  • A practical knowledge of First Aid and its relevance to possible situations arising during a canoeing trip to include: Shock, Hypothermia, Head Injuries, Dislocations, Bleeding, CPR, EAR.

An understanding of the following:

  • River Grading
  • River Route Finding
  • Types of GP kayaks and paddles
  • River Running Methods
  • Towing Systems and methods
  • Group Control and Awareness
  • Signals and Commands
  • Personal Equipment

Course Documents