Trip Descriptions

  Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4
Paddling will be on very sheltered water with easy access to the shore. Paddling will be on lakes, sheltered rivers, harbors, tidal estuaries, etc. Paddling may involve limited exposure to open ocean with access to sheltered water or landing near at hand (less than one mile). Paddling may involve significant exposure to open ocean with limited access to shelter. May require paddling in open ocean for several miles to reach shelter.

Maximum Conditions

  Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4
Wind Some 10 knots 15 knots 25 knots
Waves/Chop Minimal 1  foot 2 feet 4 feet
Surf Minimal 1 foot 2 feet 4 feet
Current Minimal 1 knot 2 knots 4 knots
Distance 2 miles 10 miles 15 miles 20+ miles


  Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4
Paddle None Forward, reverse, sweep Level 2 skills.
Correcting and boat handling strokes.
Solid bracing.
Level 3 skills.
Strong bracing skills. Surf skills.
Tidal current skills.
Rescue None Wet exit Wet exit, paddle float self rescue, partner rescue Level 3 skills
Rescues and tows.
Reliable roll or very strong bracing.
Pace None None 2-3 knots 4 knots
Other None None Basic trip safety
Basic navigation
Trip planning Environmental conditions
Charts, navigation, VHF, environmental conditions, trip planning and emergency   procedures
Desirable   Experience None Basic class in kayak safety and paddle strokes Level 2 trips or equivalent.
Class in rescues and tows
Level 3 trips or equivalent.
Level 3 classes.
Classes in trip planning, safety, and navigation.