British Canoe Union (BCU) Course Breakdown

What Level are you…

Here you will find a brief breakdown of the BCU courses and structures that our club follows. We can provide coaching and assessment for the one star, 2 star awards and the 3 star white water kayaking awards. We can then provide guidance and assistance towards achieving the 4 star leaders award or coaching awards.

One Star
A Flat water award that demonstrates an individual has basic boat control and foundation skills. The one star can be taken in any kind of paddlesport craft (e.g. sit-on-top, slalom C2, polo boat, sea kayak, racing canoe etc.)

Two Star
An improvement award that helps paddlers develop fundamental paddlesport skills on flat water. The emphasis is on gaining a breadth of experience, creating the desired movement of the boat and developing an understanding into how the paddle, boat and water interact. This award focuses on generic movement skills that can transfer to any discipline it also includes an assessed journey. Assessors will need to be able to assess the award in a variety of craft; this is normally Canoe and Kayak.

BCU 3 Star Awards
Successful performance at this level indicates that a candidate can consider themselves an intermediate paddler rather than a beginner. This is a discipline specific, with awards in Sea, Surf, Canoe, WW Kayak, FW Kayak and some of the competitive disciplines. A paddler at the three star level will be competent in sheltered to moderate water environments and have the ability to paddle unsupervised, with similar standard paddlers on sheltered water.

Four Star Leader Award
This discipline specific test is designed to indicate that the candidate has the skill level to safely paddle and lead other competent paddlers on sections of moderate water. A four Star paddler will have the all round paddling ability, safety, rescue and basic leadership required to undertake trips on sheltered - moderate water with a group of paddlers who have the basic paddling skills required, but not necessarily the experience, to operate in a self-sufficient manner. The new award looks much the same structurally to the old 5 star, but the personal skills and leadership reflect an easier environment.

UKCC Level 1 Coach
The Level 1 award is for those new to paddlesport coaching. The qualification is not discipline specific and suitable for coaches who wish to work with paddlers from any paddlesport disciplines. A Level 1 Coach can plan, deliver, and review short coaching sessions; normally with the support of a more qualified coach. They can work with paddlers at any stage of development; receiving specific training to coach paddlers in their first year of activity and to run taster sessions. To become a level one coach you need to have your two star and have done a foundation safety and rescue test (FSRT). The course is held over four days, normally two weekends. For more information

UKCC Level 2 Coach
The Level 2 Coach is able to plan, deliver, and review a series of six progressive sessions safely and effectively. Like the Level 1, this non-discipline-specific award is relevant to coaches who wish to coach any paddlesport discipline. Level 2 Coaches will work with paddlers predominantly in their first 3 years of paddling activity. The Level 2 Coach is able to offer guidance and support to the Level 1 Coach. More information can be found here

Other awards

FSRT – (Foundation Safety and Rescue Test)
This course is designed for paddlers and coaches irrespective of their chosen craft, or as may be the case for coaches, as either a boat based or bank based coach. The objective is to teach simple and safe skills that can be applied appropriately. This course aims to provide the participant with the key safety and rescue skills required to operate safely and to be able to deal with common emergencies. These skills will then form the basis of all safety and rescue training throughout the BCU Scheme. The award has two purposes: to provide the necessary skills to enable individuals to ensure the safety of themselves and others. To provide the appropriate rescue skills to individuals that can be used to help themselves and/or others in difficulty. This course takes place in sheltered water with calm conditions; it will typically take place over a day and include at least 6 hours teaching time.

WWSR – (White Water Safety and Recue)
This course is designed for all white-water paddlers including canoe and kayak paddlers. The idea of WWSR is to teach simple and safe skills that can be applied appropriately in white water conditions. The course aims to improve individuals’ awareness of safety skills in the river environment whilst teaching personal survival skills. These skills include basic throw line rescue techniques, basic rescue protocols that prioritise the safety of the individual above all others and it also introduces the clean rope principal. It also aims to provide understanding for the need for structure in an emergency situations. By it’s nature the course is very ‘hands on’, the training will take place over two days and include a minimum of 10 hours teaching time.