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British Canoeing - Advanced White Water Leader Training


Course Dates & Booking

Book Now

To book a place on this course, click on a date above to book and pay for the course, then complete and submit the Booking Form. If the following dates are not suitable, or you want to make a private booking for your club or centre, please get in touch.

Course Overview

Want to lead kayakers on grade 4 white water? The British Canoeing Advanced White Water Leader course is the one for you. A step up from the White Water Leader qualification, an Advanced White Water Leader has the ability to lead a group safely and effectively on grade 4 rivers, from steep creeks and waterfalls to continuous rapids. As with all new British Canoeing leadership assessments, you can choose to access the assessment directly without prior formal training, however we can offer a range of training to not only get you ready for assessment but develop your white water paddling.



Our approach to leadership training is based on years of experience guiding and leading across different disciplines, in many locations across the world. It is not a blow-by-blow approach of ‘do this on this rapid’ to pass an assessment, but a logical approach to leading on white water that can be transferred to any river you lead or paddle on, whether it's your well-known local run, or a new river you are exploring. This will allow you to confidently lead paddlers in a safe, fun way on great sections of rivers, whether on an assessment, for work or play. With two decades of experience leading in advanced white water we have loads of tips and tricks to pass on.

Whether it is dynamic leading on read-and-run grade 4 or setting up safety on steep drops and slides, we’ll help you break down the features, benchmark them against the abilities of the individual paddlers in your group and coach you to use this information to lead safely and effectively. We will focus on helping you to develop your own techniques for navigating the rapids and we can help you decide what options you'll give your group on the rapids. We'll coach you to develop your own options for making slick, efficient progress down the river with your group. We’ll also recap rescue techniques and ensure you leave the course with a clear picture of your path ahead.

With a choice of 2 or 3 days, you can chose the option that suits you. We will cover the course over the first two days, with most people choosing to stay on for an extra day to consolidate and continue to practice what they have learnt.

Training Prerequisites

We ask that you are happy paddling in the grade 3/4 environment so that you can focus on developing your skills to look after others. Want to up skill your paddling first? Book onto our Intermediate White Water Kayaking or Intro To Steep Creeking courses to develop your paddling. 


Our aim is to create relaxed, supportive and friendly assessments that reflect a real day guiding clients. For your assessment you will plan and lead a day out on grade 4 white water that fits the ability of the group you'll be leading for the day. Just lead them in a safe, appropriate and fun way, on a river that suits the group and in a way that fits the individuals you are leading, and that will cover 90% of the tasks. Inevitability there will be a few bits we haven't seen, (i.e trapped paddler or boat), so we’ll ask you to demonstrate your abilities in a clearly defined task.

Scottish assessments - Our scheduled assessments are based around Fort William to make use of the most reliable white water in the UK.

Lakes Assessments - There are loads of great advanced white water runs in and around Lake District, but the water levels are too unpredictable to guarantee assessment conditions on a set date, that's why our Lakes Advanced White Water Assessments are run a little differently. How it works; when you are ready for assessment get your registration and assessment check-in sorted with British Canoeing and book on to the flexi assessment date option. When the forecast is looking good for the Lake Districts white water, we’ll get in touch and if you are available then we’re good to go!

Road Trip courses are on set dates but the locations are flexible. We will choose venues to make best use of the water conditions at the time. Options will include Devon, North Wales, Lakes and Dales or Scotland.​

Assessment Prerequisites​

  • Participants must be aged 18+

  • Full, on the water National Association membership. Click here if you live in England, here if you live in Wales and here if you live in Scotland.

  • Register for the course through your membership portal. Click here for registration guidance. 

  • Valid (within 3 years) 2-day First Aid Award recognised by British Canoeing Awarding Body

  • Valid (within 3 years) Safeguarding Training recognised by British Canoeing Awarding Body

  • Safety Award – Advanced White Water Safety and Rescue Training

Kit List

Full personal kayaking kit, including:

  • A white water specific kayak with front and rear airbags

  • Well-fitting white water helmet

  • Paddle

  • Buoyancy aid

  • Spray deck

  • Dry suit or cag and waterproof trousers

  • Thermals

  • River shoes or old trainers (not wetsuit boots)

  • Throw line, 4m tape and two carabiners


Please don't buy new items for the course, it is a great opportunity to try different options and make an informed purchase after. If you need any kit advice or to borrow anything, please get in touch before the course. Kayaks and dry suits are available for hire

What Happens Next?

Once you have completed your training, you'll leave with a clear action plan for your progression to Advanced White Water Leader Assessment. To develop your paddling further, you may be interested in a bespoke coaching session or further courses, including our Scotland Advanced White Water week. When you are ready for assessment please book on the dates available below.

Book Now

To book a place on this course, you must click above to book and pay for the course, then complete and submit the Booking Form. If the following dates are not suitable, or you want to make a private booking for your club or centre, please get in touch.

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