Introduction to Sea Skills

Qualification Definition

The holder of this qualification has demonstrated the skills and knowledge to personally paddle a Kayak in Coastal conditions:
  • Outside of estuaries, harbours, embayments or other sheltering reefs or islands
  • Areas of exposed coastline that are simple, not involving overfalls, tidal races, difficult landings or open crossings
  • Maximum of 1.5 nautical miles from shore
  • Wind conditions below Fresh Winds(17kn)
  • Breaking (whitecapping) waves (sea) up to 0.5m
  • Surf to 0.5m


All skills to be performed in Moderate Winds(11-16kn) at Sea. Surf related skills to be performed in 0.5m of surf
Prepare appropriate craft and equipmentThroughout assessment participants use appropriate equipment for the environment.
This equipment promotes personal safety and is prepared in a way to not impede on safety
Secure craft for transport, secure equipment to craftParticipants transport craft to and from venue, method is safe for craft and participant. (or able to demonstrate method they would use)
Equipment placed on or in craft is secured in a manner that does not impede safety and is accessible when required
Launch and land craftParticipant launches and lands craft in surf in a safe repeatable manner with assistance if required
Perform paddle strokesDemonstrate individual strokes to manoeuvre the craft:
  • Forward and reverse paddle
  • Forward and reverse sweeps
  • Draw strokes (feathered and sculling)
  • Stern rudder
  • Bow rudder
  • Stopping
  • Support using back of blade
For each stroke the minimum performance requirements are:
  • Correct hand placement on paddle
  • Sufficient wrist movement to enable correct blade placement
  • Adequate paddle depth in water to achieve effective stroke
  • Correct paddle blade angle throughout stroke
  • Correct paddle entry and exit points with respect to craft and body position
Form into and disperse from a raftA raft is formed in a timely manner (no wasted time) and promotes safety to all involved
Perform self and assisted rescuesSelf rescue:
  • Swim 25m in paddling gear
  • Paddle float re-entry
Assisted rescue (rescues are performed as rescuee and rescuer):
  • T rescue
Rescues are performed in a timely manner (no time wasted) and promotes safety to all involved and is deemed to work in all conditions
Accept a towCalm is maintained.
Craft kept in a straight line while towed.
Craft kept stable and balanced
Perform a towDemonstrate:
  • Single tow
  • In-line tow
  • V tow
  • Short tow
  • Contact tow
Tows are performed using quick release system that floats if disconnected.
Tows are performed to promote safety to all.
Complete an activityActivity plan/brief is followed to meet time management requirements and activity goals. Plan is adjusted if and when required
Maintain position in windy conditionsUse Transit bearing to determine drift
Capsize in surfParticipant to capsize craft in surf, wet exit and swim craft to shore.
Capsize is performed with spray deck attache.
Calm is maintained
Individual Situational AwarenessParticipant is able to monitor personal wellbeing as well as environmental elements that may effect all participants
Paddling SpeedAble to maintain an average speed of 3kph for 1 hour


Knowledge level: General
Knowledge and maintenance of craftKnowledge of the features of the craft. Must include but not limited to:
  • Construction
  • Materials
  • Design
  • Flotation
  • Water line
  • Bow designs
  • Rocker
  • Volume
  • Cockpit
  • Hull shapes
  • Bulkheads
  • Handling characteristics; tracking, edge behaviour
  • Grab handles
  • Foot support
  • Deck lines
  • Storage/carrying methods
  • Equipment stowage
  • Field repairs
Select appropriate equipment and clothingClothing and equipment is selected with consideration of sun sense and other environmental influences
Throughout assessment participants use appropriate equipment for the environment.
This equipment is prepared in a way to not impede on safety
Store, operate and maintain appropriate safety and communication equipmentEquipment to include but not limited to:
  • Lifejacket (level 50)
  • Sufficient food and water
  • Spray deck
  • Spare paddle
  • Mobile phone
  • Tow line
  • Sling/rescue ladder
  • Pea-less whistle
  • PLB
  • Safety knife
  • First Aid kit
  • Helmet(when in surf or around rocks)
  • Hand pump
  • Paddle float
Able to show or explain simple repair kit and the purpose of contents
Navigational aidsKnowledge of but not limited to:
  • Latitude and Longitude/Grid reference
  • Measuring distance
  • Scale
  • Position fixing; e.g. dead reckoning, 3 point fix
  • Transits
  • Aiming off
  • Grid North versus Magnetic North
  • Contour lines
  • Navigational markers: Lateral, cardinal and special markers
  • Port and Starboard
  • Tides: High, Low, Spring, Neap, Tidal range, Rule of twelves, Secondary ports, 50/90 rule
  • Tidal flow arrows
  • Effects of wind and tide
  • Paddling speed
  • Eddies
  • Types of coast line
  • Water Depth
  • Land features such as Spur, Ridge, Saddle, Gully, Knoll, and Plateau
  • Able to complete a Navigation sheet
Interpret weatherAble to gain appropriate Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) weather forecasts (e.g. from MetEye) and warnings, and interpret how weather can influence and affect a paddling location.
Knowledge of, but not limited to:
  • Winds
  • Beaufort Scale
  • Funnelling
  • Fetch
  • Effects of wind on paddling; windward, leeward
  • Swell
  • Seas
  • Rebound
  • Tidal currents
  • Precipitation
  • Sources of extended marine weather forecasts
  • Telling signs of bad weather approaching
Minimal environmental impactFollows PA Minimal Impact Guidelines
Maintain a log bookUnderstands the purpose and contents of a log book
Knowledge and use of PA's Paddle Log app
Prepare a Float PlanUnderstands the purpose and contents of a Float Plan
Knowledge and use of PA's Paddle Prep app
Rules of SeaKnowledge of but not limited to:
  • Give way rules


Maintain effective communication with a groupParticipant stays within communication distance of the group. Communication is limited to Verbal, Whistle, Visual
Communicate in a positive manner within a paddling group to help establish and maintain an enjoyable, safe experience for all group members.
Act on constructive feedback


On water activities to be carried out in a variety of locations and conditions
Minimum log book requirementIn the previous three years:
  • Five Sea activities of a minimum of three hours duration

Assessment Tasks

The following tasks should be completed prior to final assessment. Links to these tasks are made available by clicking the View Resources button adjacent to your course enrolment on the Paddle Education site.
QuizRelevant knowledge quiz(zes) completed by participant and results viewed