General Aims

The Sit-on-Top River Skills Award aims to enable participants to

  • Paddle safely and competently on rivers up to and including Grade II rivers as a member of a group of peers.
  • Be capable of negotiating obstacles likely to be encountered on Grade II rivers.
  • Assist in rescues.

Attendance Requirements

  • Candidates should be familiar with all aspects of theory and should be able to verbally answer questions on theory aspects of the award.
  • No age restriction applies to this award.
  • U18 paddlers should be appropriately supervised by a person who is over 18 and who has suitable experience.


Participants must successfully explain and demonstrate the following techniques and skills at a level higher than that required for the Sit-on-Top Flat Water Skills Award:

  • Forward Paddle, Reverse Paddle, Stopping.
  • Forward Sweep, Reverse Sweep and a combination of Forward and Reverse Sweep.
  • Draw Stroke
  • Low Brace
  • Stern Rudder
  • Mount & Dismount
  • Tilting
  • Ferry Gliding
  • Breaking In
  • Breaking Out

• Capsize Drill

• Self-rescue following a capsize drill in deep water, including righting the Sit-on-Top and completing a water based remount without assistance.

• Assisted Rescue and Self Rescue. Using a throw bag to rescue a swimmer, both as rescuer and swimmer.

• Knowledge of Safety Rules

• An understanding of the use of Offensive & Defensive Swimming

• An understanding of Eddies, Standing Waves, V Waves, Stoppers, and Easy River Routes i.e. the main flow down a Grade II rapid

• An understanding of good control (i.e. responding to various signals and commands)

Course Documents