Become A Raft Instructor

The ACA Raft Instructor Certification Workshop includes two essential components:

  • Instructor Development Workshop (IDW) generally 2-3 days
  • Instructor Certification Exam (ICE) generally 2-3 days

Throughout the course, each candidate will demonstrate their skills as both a paddler and an instructor. Your Trainer will also give you feedback on your teaching ability and will work with you to develop your teaching skills to improve your effectiveness as a paddling instructor.

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be eligible to apply to the ACA for Instructor status and may teach ACA raft curriculum (including Skills courses and Assessments).

In early 2014 the American Canoe Association (ACA) approved the curriculum for Raft Instructor IDW (Instructor Development Workshop) and ICE (Instructor Certification Exam) training. Download the curriculum here: ACA Raft Instructor Criteria 2014.


Here is a sample list of some of the many things we will cover during the ICW;

  • Appropriate group management skills
  • Teaching and Learning theory
  • Knowledge of/ability to teach paddler spacing, parts of a raft, proper life jacket fit, clothing suitable for immersion, proper inflation, care of equipment…
  • River dynamics; eddies, holes, hazards…
  • Responsibilities of the captain
  • Strokes and Maneuvers
  • River Signals
  • Ability to teach and model rescue techniques
  • Group managements
  • …and so much more!

General Requirements for all Instructor Certifications:

  • Be 18+ years (qualified teens 14+may take the ICW with instructor permission, but will not be awarded certification until they reach the age of 18)
  • Meet the appropriate essential eligibility criteria
  • Successfully complete an Instructor Development Workshop (IDW & ICE)
  • Be a full ACA member
  • Upon successful completion, register with the Safety Education & Instruction Council
  • Have and maintain First Aid and age-appropriate CPR
  • Demonstrate a general knowledge of paddle sports and the ACA
  • Demonstrate the ability to appropriately perform and teach all of the following material unassisted in the appropriate venue
  • Demonstrate knowledge and ability to efficiently/effectively plan and implement appropriate instructional sessions and assessments for different learning styles and ability levels, to include:
  • Differentiation of instruction based on the individual learner (student-centered)
  • Use of an appropriate skills progression when teaching complex skill sets
  • Selects of appropriate teaching venue based on ability and desired outcomes
  • Focus on core principals rather than specific techniques
  • Provides appropriate, specific and meaningful feedback
Person: Ages 13+