Watersmith, through our own certification from the American Canoe Association (ACA), can work intensively with aspiring professional kayakers to help them assess their skills and earn their own certifications.

Select your own journey from our offerings below.

Certifications & Assessments

Coastal Kayaking Trip Leading Training and Assessment

The ACA's certification course for trip leaders has very high, exacting standards. Watersmith Kayaking prides itself on upholding these standards. We know that the people we assess may be responsible for the safety and lives of others.

For this reason, we don’t “rubber stamp” course participants who are candidates for this certification. Attendance and participation alone are not guarantees of certification. Candidates must demonstrate the skills, abilities, knowledge and judgment as prescribed by the ACA and must understand the crucial role a trip leader plays.

ACA Overview

ACA course outline (this is a guide for the instructor, actual course itinerary may differ)

  • Class length:  16 hours (2 days)
  • Class size:  3-10 students
  • Class cost:  $250.00 per student

Coastal Kayaking Skills Assessment

Kayakers, businesses, clubs and other organizations often need to know an individual's paddling skill level. The ACA Coastal Kayaking Skills Assessment provides an objective standard for evaluating those skills.

As well as performing the assessments themselves, Watersmith offers comprehensive training designed to prepare students for assessment. The ACA strongly recommends that assessment candidates participate in formal training with an ACA-certified instructor prior to their evaluation.

Level 2 training

Class length: 3 hours
Class size: 3-6 students
Class cost: $65.00 per student


Level 3 training

Class size: 3-6 students
Class length: 4 hours
Class cost: $75.00 per student


Level 4 training

Class size: 3-6 students
Class length: 8 hours
Class cost: $135.00 per student


Level 2 assessment

Group size: 1 candidate
Assessment length: approximately 1 hour
Assessment cost: $40.00 per student


Level 3 assessment

Group size: 2-4 candidates
Assessment length: approximately 2-3 hours
Assessment cost: $60.00 per student


Level 4 assessment

Group size: 2-4 candidates
Assessment length: approximately 3-4 hours
Assessment cost: $70.00 per student


Coastal Kayaking Instructor Certification

Are you interested in teaching others how to kayak? To teach professionally, you’ll need to become ACA certified. The process begins with an Instructor Development Workshop (IDW), which helps instructor candidates learn to teach paddling skills they already possess.

Candidates should have mastered the paddling skill level at which they wish to be certified before they participate in the IDW. While most people learn a great deal about paddling during a workshop, the intent and design of the session is to teach candidates to teach.

Step two in the certification process is the Instructor Certification Exam (ICE). This is exactly what it sounds like: candidates are assessed based on their teaching, modeling and paddling skills, and by written exam. ACA criteria for certification are specific and as objective as possible.

Here, shown level by level, are the ACA instructor certification criteria and class requirements.

Level 1
Level 2
Level 3
Level 4

  • Class length:  2-6 days
  • Class size:  up to a 5:1 ratio, not to exceed 10 candidates
  • Class cost:  Level 1, 2 days, $250.00 - Level 2, 3 days, $330.00 - Level 3, 5 days, $500.00 - Level 4, 6 days, $600.00