ACA Coastal Kayak Instructor Development Workshop (IDW)


Guide Training, Instruction


Multi Day







The Process to Obtain Your Instructor Certification

Successfully complete an ACA Level 3 Coastal Kayaking Instructor Development Workshop (IDW) and Instructor Certification Exams (ICE).
– Instructor Development Workshops (IDWs) are intended to develop the skills and knowledge of Instructor Candidates. The IDW is a prerequisite to an Instructor Certification Exam (ICE) for new ACA Instructor Candidates. (3-4 days)
– Instructor Certification Exams (ICEs) test the knowledge, skills, and proficiency of Instructor Candidates. Upon successful completion of an ICE, candidates are awarded Instructor certification. (3-4 days)

This certification process is an intensive hands-on cooperative learning workshop experience that is designed to refine your instructional techniques and familiarize you with the processes and curriculum of the American Canoe Association (ACA). During the Instructor Development Workshop and Certification Exam participants are required to prepare and present lessons to fellow students to demonstrate, among other essential skills, teaching, and paddling abilities.

What to Expect

Every program is unique and designed to maximize each instructor candidate’s experience. During the Instructor Certification program (IDW & ICE) you, as instructor candidates will be assessed in the following key areas:
1. Personal Paddling Skills: Strong basic/intermediate skills, boat control and general professional paddling mode at all times.
2. Teaching Skills: Knowledge of teaching methods and learning styles, and how to use them to give an effective presentation. We are also looking for organized lesson plans, group management techniques, speaking and presentation ability, and attention to details in the classroom, on land and on the water.
3. Modeling Skills: Ability to visually present and break skills down into teachable/learnable parts.
4. Attention to Safety: Use of risk management skills, assessing student skill levels and group control.
5. Group Management: Ability to set up and maintain a suitable teaching location as well as managing a group in the classroom, on land and on the water in both a teaching and guiding situation.
6. Technical Knowledge: Thorough knowledge of all aspects of paddlesports. Everything from teaching safe car-topping procedures, boat design, and common paddling injuries and avoidance to tides, surfing and regional hazards.
7. Coaching: Being able to identify student errors and give positive, corrective feedback.

American Canoe Association Instructor Candidate Pre-Requisites

– Instructor Candidates must be 18 years of age in order to receive certification. (Participants under the age of 18 can participate but are only eligible to receive a certificate of completion).
– All participants must be current ACA Members ($40 annually). If you are not a current member, you may renew or join online prior to the first day by visiting
– At the end of the course, instructor candidates must also become members of the ACA Safety Education and Instruction Committee ($30 annually) in order to receive their Instructor Card.
– All instructor candidates should have a good grasp of essential paddling skills and knowledge prior to enrolling as an Instructor Candidate. Whether your paddling experience is from recreational trips, guided tours, informal instruction, on-the-job training, or a combination of these, you should come to the course looking to increase your knowledge and gain an ability to effectively teach these skills to others. You should not come to the course if you are looking to learn how to kayak, or without a basic to intermediate paddling ability and a desire to teach these skills to others.
– ACA Instructors are required to have and maintain current First Aid / CPR or Wilderness First Aid certification.

During the certification programs, you will get a review of the policies, programs, and certification guidelines of the ACA, and an opportunity to show us your stuff! The ICW is designed to evaluate your knowledge and technical skills as an instructor. It is not a skill-building course — participants should already have broad paddling experience, including rescues, and be ready to add teaching techniques to that experience.

In addition to feedback from your instructor(s) on the process and content of your teaching presentations, all instructor candidates (that’s you!) will also critique and evaluate each other. Instructor and peer feedback are valuable components of this course. On the final day of class, we often bring in a group of novice paddlers so that you can put your new instructional techniques to work in a group setting. This is an invaluable experience as you move forward and prepare to teach.

IDW/ICE participation does not guarantee certification. An ICE candidate may…
– Certify at Level 1, 2, or 3
– Be “continued” as a Candidate (this will be defined during the course)
– Fail the workshop

Person: Ages 16+