Getting Certified to Use Small Canoes

Our club owns an OC-1 and an OC-2 for use by our club members. These boats have some similarities to the larger OC-6 boats in terms of paddling technique and ocean skills; however, there are also some differences. Most notably, the paddler is solo or with one other person and cannot depend on a larger crew for assistance. For everyone’s safety, our club has developed a certification process to ensure that club members have the appropriate skills for the outings that they undertake.

Certification Levels


The beginner may paddle only inside the harbor.

The skills required to be certified as beginner are:


The intermediate paddler can paddle outside the harbor under the supervision of either:

  • The steers person of an accompanying OC-6; or
  • An accompanying OC-1 or OC-2 paddler who is certified at the advanced level

The intermediate paddler must always stay in vocal range of the supervising paddler.

The skills required to be certified as intermediate are those required for beginner plus:

  • Demonstrate use of a marine radio including making a distress call
  • Demonstrate ability to recover from an OC-1 huli

Once these skills have been demonstrated to a board member they will advance your website account to intermediate level.


Advanced paddlers have mastered the skills that allowed them to paddle solo to all locations which they judge to be safe.

The skills required to be certified as advanced are those required for intermediate plus:

  • Have completed at least one season at intermediate certification
  • Ability to judge harbor mouth conditions to assess safety in entering and exiting
  • Ability to recognize ocean conditions and paddle within a wide margin of safety
  • Have sufficient paddling skills and knowledge to deal with the changing and unexpected conditions that occur outside the harbor
  • Must know how conditions such as swells, wind, currents, fog, etc., will affect the canoe and how to handle the boat as these conditions change

Three current advanced level paddlers must acknowledge you posses these skills to the board of directors in order to advance your website account to advanced level.