Core of Canoe Lifeguards Canoe/Kayak Safety Test

The Canoe Safety Test (CST) is for all paddlers and volunteers irrespective of craft or discipline choice. It was the original safety training course available before the FSRT arrived; the main objective is still to instruct basic safety and rescue skills that can be applied in a sheltered water environment. The difference between the two is that this one is done as a single discipline, so ideal for paddlers who are not looking at coaching or leadership awards but would like to be able to look after themselves or friends.

On completing the course you will be able to rescue swimmers in a variety of different boats, using several different techniques and deal with basic rescue scenarios.

The course aims to provide the student with the key safety and rescue skills required to operate safely in a sheltered water environment and to be able to deal with common emergencies.

This award has two purposes:

  • Firstly, to provide a paddler with the necessary safety awareness which will enable them to ensure the safety of themselves and others.
  • Secondly, to provide a paddler with rescue skills which can be used to help themselves and/or others in difficulty.

This is a fun, practical, get wet course. It is useful for anyone who takes part in paddling on flat water.

This one day course is designed for paddlers and coaches irrespective of their chosen craft. The course will cover the following topics:

  • Group management and communication.
  • Safety and rescue protocols.
  • Bank based rescue techniques.
  • Boat based rescue techniques.
  • Self rescue techniques.
  • Rescuing an unconscious or entrapped paddler.
  • Advice and familiarisation with safety equipment and its use.

This award may be taken in any open cockpit kayak, closed cockpit kayak or open canoe and the certificate will be endorsed appropriately

Assessment of this course is continuous. As you complete each training unit you will need to show the necessary level of competence for each skill before successful completion of the course.

  • You should be a competent paddler before attending this course, holding the Paddle Explore Award or BCU 2*. You will be required to only paddle the craft of your choice during the training.
  • Be able to swim in normal paddlesport clothing suitable for the prevailing conditions.
  • A First Aid Certificate is not a pre­requisite. However, the holding of a First Aid Certificate, such as the BCU Aquatic First Aid, is strongly recommended to all paddlers.
  • Be at least 14 years of age. (Note. The Junior Canoeing Safety Test is the appropriate award for those under 14 years of age.)*

*At present we can not take Under18’s on their own unless a parent or guardian is present.

The following is a list of equipment recommend for the course

  • Tow line OR Tow system
  • Throwline
  • Rescue knife
  • Sling
  • Whistle

We can supply all equipment but strongly recommend that you bring your own craft, buoyancy aid, paddle and helmet. Hot and cold drinks will be provided, bring your own lunch / snacks.

Maximum coach to paddler ratio 1:8 and requires a minimum of 2 persons for the course to run.

Further details of the Canoe Safety Test can be found at:

 Please note that this information has not been updated for some considerable time but the award is an active award!

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