General Aims

The Sit-on-Top Sea Skills Award aims to enable participants to:

  • Paddle safely and competently in smooth seas (Douglas Sea Scale – 0.10-0.50 meters swell) as a member of a group of peers.
  • Paddle competently in following winds, head winds and beams winds of up to force three.
  • Assist in rescues.
  • Have an understanding of the importance of weather as a factor in paddling a Sit-on-Top on the sea.

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.
  • Be a current member of Canoeing Ireland
  • No age restriction applies to this award.
  • U18 Sit on Top Sea Skills paddlers should be appropriately supervised by a person who is over 18 and who has suitable experience.


Participant must successfully demonstrate the following techniques and skills:

  • 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
  • Paddling in a following wind, beam winds and head winds
  • Paddling into, bracing, and turning in small surf. (1 Foot – 0.3m)
  • 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.
  • Knowledge of Safety Rules
  • Record and interpret a marine weather forecast
  • Read a tide table to ascertain the time of high-water.
  • An understanding of staying with your boat in the event of a capsize at sea.
  • An understanding of the effects of the wind on the sea with particular reference to the danger of offshore winds. The candidate should show an understanding of what is meant by a lee shore. dumping surf, riptides, and tide races.
  • An understanding of good control (i.e. responding to various signals and commands)
  • An ability to recognize several of the significant flora and fauna in the seashore environment.

Course Documents