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alright, i am kidding...please no assaults from the aca folks! it's dry british wit - standard in the bcu. (for instance, after a guy cracks a big ole gash in the back of his explorer after launching offa big ugly rock - "well, that wasn't textbook, could've gone better but you are on the water. off with you then")

i think only a few folks in the club have certification in both organisations (jed, mike sabin...buddy?)

the bcu delineates kayaking into different components and then has training and certification to different levels within each. as you achieve one, you can take the next certification. very methodical and thorough. i always assumed that the aca was similar but probably with their minor differences. same thing only different sort of thing...maybe mike or jed could fill in the differences?

my only experience has been with the bcu and for what it is worth, it has been very good. the coaches are skilled and the breadth of knowledge very impressive. the training is thorough and the standards for the certifications, exacting. training and cert., are cancelled if the weather/conditions are too flat to hold either. for sea kayaking it starts with basic boat handling, strokes and then progresses to boat handling, strokes in conditions to all of that in some even more challenging enviroments while leading a group and exhibiting grasp of route, group dynamic and risk management. my personal favorite was the mandatory landing on a crazilly inhospitable chunk of rock and then launching again! ha! good times, good times.

all appropriate gear, some basic first aid and a rudimentary understanding of knots are all part of the training process.

link to the bcu is attached.


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Both are excellent organizations, have much to offer and their programs are demanding. An ACA certification is an instructor certification. If you are ACA certified it means you have the paddling and teaching skills required to teach the ACA curriculum in a particular paddling discipline at a particular level. Only having an ACA cert myself, it is my understanding that in the BCU system, you may seek to have your individual paddling skills certified in their Star system without going for an instructor rating. If you want an instructor certification, you can also get it as a BCU Coach which requires certain Star prerequisites.

So, if you are looking to teach you can look to either organization to certify you for that purpose. If you are simply looking for a certification of your individual paddling skills the ACA does not offer that.

The requirements for both are available on their respective web sites.


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