Canoe Open Water Leader Training

Canoe Open Water Leader Training

£ 200


Advanced & Expert
Lessons & Courses, Certifications
Max. group size: 6
Cancellation: Strict
£ 200

Activity Highlights:

This training will run on 5-6 October and 4-5 December 2023 and 18-19 January 2024. Please contact us to discuss other dates if those on the calendar do not suit. We are happy to put on a course for a small group.

A canoe open water leader will be running trips on windy days on large lakes. They will take groups on great sailing journeys or exciting open water crossings in canoe.

On this course we will look at:

  • Pre-trip information gathering.
  • Trip planning and predicting weather and conditions.
  • Safety briefs.
  • Group control strategies.
  • Sailing set ups.
  • Working with the wind to help.
  • Leading groups in safe but inspirational ways.
  • Towing options.
  • Rescues.
  • Incident management.
  • Personal paddling skill development.

What does this certification allow:

Canoe Open Water Leaders are certified to guide participants across expansive open water areas. These excursions might occur on flatwater, no further than 500 meters from the shore, and in wind conditions up to Beaufort force 4 (13-18 mph), capable of producing 1-4ft waves and numerous white-caps. While leaders have discretion over group sizes, a large group typically consists of six solo canoes or five tandem canoes.

This qualification is applicable across various open waters in the Lake District, such as Windermere and Ullswater, and extends to other locations like Kielder Water in Northumbria, Llyn Tegid (Bala Lake), Llyn Padarn near Llanberis, Lake Vyrnwy in mid-Wales, and numerous Scottish lochs, given the right conditions. Additionally, some tidal estuaries are also suitable under certain circumstances


This course will take place in Cumbria. For the majority of our courses the meeting points / venues will vary depending on weather conditions and water levels. The most commonly used lakes are Ullswater, Derwentwater and Windermere. Favourite spots would include Glenridding at the southend of Ullswater, the river Eden north of Penrith, Middle Derwent near Keswick, Lune near Kirkby Lonsdale, Kent through Kendal and the Leven near Newby Bridge.

The Assessment:

The assessment for this award is bookable on a separate page and is available on 1-2 November 2023 and 29 Feb – 1 March 2024. You can find this at the bottom of this page: Canoe Open Water Leader Assessment.


Please note:

  • 1 day paddlesport leader assessments require 2 to run, 2 day leader assessments require min 3 to run (£300 for 1-1 assessments). To book a 1-1 send a message in the chat or create a booking and put a comment in the notes.
  • Many leader assessment candidates find refresher training extremely valuable in preparation for their assessment.

Submit a booking request to register your interest today, you can ask any questions you may have before paying! 

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Frequently Asked Questions

Canoe open water leaders are qualified to take participants on larger areas of open water. These trips could be on flatwater not more than 500 metres from the bank and in wind strengths that do not exceed Beaufort force 4.

Canoe leaders can make their own decisions about the size of the group but 6 solo canoes or 5 tandem canoes would be seen as a large group.
Force 4 can be 13-18 miles per hour. We can get waves of 1-4ft in height with a significant number of white-caps.

There are no formal prerequisites for leader training but candidates should have a level of personal skill relevant to the environment.

For assessment all candidates must register with British Canoeing.

How it works: 

  1. Make a booking.
  2. The centre will accept your booking, usually within an hour or two.
  3. Pay for the booking to confirm it.

If you have specific questions, please put them in the comments section, and the centre will answer before you pay.

If something isn't right or if there are no dates available, then send us a message in the live chat.

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Cancellation Policy


  • You can cancel until 48 hours before your booking for a full refund
  • If you cancel after that, you’ll pay 50% up to 24 hours beforehand and the full amount after 24 hours 


  • You can cancel until 5 days before your booking for a full refund
  • If you cancel after that, you’ll pay 50% up to 48 hours beforehand and the full amount after 48 hours 


  • To receive a full refund, you must cancel at least 14 days before their booking
  • If you cancel between 7 and 14 days before your booking, you’ll pay 50% of the cost
  • If you cancel less than 7 days before the booking starts, you’ll pay the full amount


  • To receive a full refund, you must cancel at least 30 days before your booking
  • If you cancel between 7 and 30 days before your booking, you’ll pay 50% of the cost
  • If you cancel less than 7 days before the booking starts, you’ll pay the full amount
  • You can also receive a full refund if you cancel within 48 hours of paying, if the cancellation occurs at least 14 days before the booking starts