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Sea Kayak Grading System

UQCC Policy: Club Sea Kayak Grading System
(adopted November 2014)

Introduction
This grading system is provided for members' benefit, describing a clear set of parameters designed to illustrate club policy for club sea kayaking events. Through inspection of the grading system and discussion with the particular trip leaders, prospective paddlers should determine whether they and their equipment meet the participation requirements.

For grade 2 and higher events, club members are required to have had their personal club grading assessed by a person who holds an AC qualification of Sea guide or higher. This assessment may be performed on any club paddling activity with prior notice or at a club assessment event. The successful assessment will be recorded in the club records and the member's log.

There is no requirement for assessment for grade 1 events.

Note:

  • Attendance to sea kayak events must be confirmed as directed by the event registration instructions.
  • All graded club events will be cancelled from the club's program if a strong wind warning has been issued by the BOM (greater than 25 knots)
  • Trip leader to participant ratio (refer AC safety guidelines May 2008)
    • 1:6/1:8 at sea, depending on conditions and skill level of participants
    • 1:2 on remote trips with a committing shoreline and surf over 1 metre
    • 1:10 if conditions are forecast stable and paddling close to shore and in smooth waters/all participants can perform assisted rescues
Definitions
Club Event Any event, paddle, or activity scheduled by the UQCC (generally posted on the UQCC web site events calendar and/or in a club email.)
Equipment All relevant items recommended, required, or utilised by a person participating in a club event
Member Any current fully financial member of the University of Queensland Canoe Club Inc (UQCC)
Sea Guide Person who holds the Sea Guide qualification recognised by Australian Canoeing
Sea Kayak As per Australian Canoeing Safety Guidelines. When used in sea conditions, the kayak must be a recognised sea kayak with:
  • Minimum volume cockpit (bulkheads or integrated cockpit) so that the kayak is controllable in sea conditions with the cockpit flooded
  • Positive buoyancy made up of compartments or fixed floatation - it is recommended that empty compartments be filled with buoyancy material that will minimise the amount of water that enters a compartment in the event that its integrity is compromised.
  • Deckline system of at least 6mm in diameter that is secured to the deck with fastenings that will not fail under normal sea conditions, and that are sufficiently spaced to keep the deckline controlled. The deckline system plus cockpit surrounds should provide handholds for the complete length of the kayak
  • *Toggles or other safe handholds as near as practical to bow and stern. If used, hand loops must not allow the full insertion of a hand.
  • Pump or self bailer.
Sea Leader Person who holds the Sea Leaders qualification recognised by Australian Canoeing
Sea Kayak Trip Leader Person or persons duly authorised by the club to lead a club sea kayak event.

Individual Equipment Prerequisites All Grades

ItemGrade 1Grade 2Grade 2.5Grade 3
Well maintained sea kayak with at least 2 bulkheads and fitted deck linesMMMM
Australian or NZ standards approved Personal Floatation Device (PFD)MMMM
Helmet (if surf is involved)MMMM
Sponge/bailerMMMM
At least two litres of waterMMMM
Cag or paddle jacket, warm clothing, sun-protective clothing, hat and sunscreen, all accessible from the cockpitMMMM
Footwear suitable for paddling, swimming and walking on rocksOMMM
Space blanket, Emergency lighting, and duct tape or equivalentOOMM
Spray skirt (use previously demonstrated)MMMM
Tow lineOMMM
Paddle leashO MMM
Hands free pump system (electric or foot)OOOM
Emergency foodOOOM
Signal MirrorOOOM
Paddle floatMMMM
KnifeOOOM
Nourishment for the duration of the tripMMMM
O= Optional; M = Mandatory

Group Equipment All Grades

ItemGrade 1Grade 2Grade 2.5Grade 3
Spare Paddle, First aid kit, Space blanket, emergency lighting, Duct tape (or equivalent)MMMM
Compass & chartsOOOM
EPIRB (not a PLB)OOOM
VHFOOOM
Flares and V-sheetOOOM
O= Optional; M = Mandatory

Grade 1

Description
  • Open to members (at the trip leader's discretion)
  • Paddling in sheltered waters such as the Broadwater, with seas up to 0.5m, 0m surf, with safe launching/landing points.
  • Paddles up to 15km per day, if more than 15km trip leaders mush show in their planning/trip briefing that they have taken the distance into consideration
  • If wind is over 15 knots, trip leaders mush show in their planning/trip briefing that they have taken the wind into consideration
  • Max distance of 1.5NM (2.8km) from shore

Paddler Requirements

  • For beginners with some paddling experience
  • Paddlers should have an appropriate level of fitness, which will enable them to safely paddle the distance specified in the trip plan, and be able to swim 10m wearing a PFD
  • Maintain a cruising speed of up to 4km/hour
  • Demonstrated a sea kayak assisted rescue (unless an alternative is arranged with the leader)
  • Individuals must self assess their, and their equipment's, ability to participate in this level club event and should consult the trip leader if any aspect of their suitability requires clarification.
Trip Leader Requirements
  • Equipment as per grade 1 equipment prerequisites plus, provide a suitable means of emergency communication, first aid kit, spare paddle, tow rope, and must implement the event in accordance with club float plan
  • Skill requirements to be proven by holding existing approved certification, or by successfully completing a Grade 1 trip leader training event.

Grade 2
(Grade 2 assessment form and current Grade 2 paddlers are located here)

Description

  • Open to members (Grade 2 assessed) and qualified (and insured) visitors (at Trip leader's discretion).
  • Seas to 1m and surf to 0.5m
  • Paddles up to 20km per day, if more than 20km trip leaders must show in their planning/trip briefing that they have taken the distance into consideration
  • If wind is over 20 knots, trip leaders must show in their planning/trip briefing that they have taken the wind into consideration.
  • Max distance of 5NM (9.2km) from shore
  • Maintain a cruising speed of up to 5km/hour
Paddlers Requirements
  • Paddlers are required to have been assessed as competent to grade 2 level
  • Paddlers must be capable of performing self rescue, assisted rescue, bracing, towing, entry and exit through small surf
  • Conditions may require using the paddle to stern rudder
  • Some familiarity with charts and navigation is desired.
  • Paddlers should be able to swim 20m wearing a PFD
  • Paddlers should have an appropriate level of fitness, which will enable them to safely paddle the distance specified in the trip plan with frequent breaks and at least 1 stop during the paddle
Trip Leaders Requirements
  • Equipment as per grade 2 equipment prerequisites plus, provide a suitable menasa of emergency communication, first aid kit, spapre paddle and must implement the event in accordance with club float plan.
  • Grade 2 Trip leaders should have a sea skills qualification or equivalent
  • The equivalence may be application to candidates with extensive sea kayaking experience and demonstrated skills in leadership, paddling, and rescue techniques
  • A dispensation from the formal sea skills qualification may be issued by UQCC to prospective trip leaders fulfilling the described criteria.

Grade 2.5

Description
  • Open to experienced members and qualified (and insured) visitors (at the Trip Leader's discretion) in open waters, with seas to 2m and surf to 1m
  • These events may require launching and landing through the surf with some time spent in the surf zone (e.g. paddling on the surf side of South Stradbroke island, when seas meet the specified sea and surf criteria)
  • Paddles up to 25km per day, if more than 25km trip leaders much show in their planning/trip briefing that they have taken the distance into consideration.
  • IF the wind is over 20 knots, trip leaders must show in their planning/trip briefing that they have taken the wind into consideration
  • Max distance of 5NM (9.2km) from shore
  • Maintain a cruising speed of up to 6km/hour
Paddlers Requirements
  • Paddlers must have tested their skills in rough conditions (ie up to 2m seas), know their limits and be self-reliant
  • Paddlers must be able to self-rescue (cowboy, paddle float rescue and/or re-enter and roll) reliably and quickly in rough conditions
  • Paddlers need to be able to swim 20m in choppy conditions wearing a PFD
  • UQCC may conduct training days covering skills, such as surf negotiation and rescues relevant to grade 2.5 club paddles. If your skills in this areas have not been demonstrated to the club, it may be required that you attend on of these days to validate your skills and safety awareness, and/or participate in, at the same venue, a tutorial covering the basic skills and responsibilities involved in grade 2.5 paddles
Trip Leaders Requirements
  • Equipment as per grade 2.5 equipment prerequisites plus, provide a suitable means of emergency communication and must implement the event in accordance with club float plan.
  • Trip Leaders must hold a minimum of Sea Leader qualification and be authorised by the UQCC committee.

Grade 3
Description
  • Open to qualified members and qualified (and insured) visitors (at the trip leader's discretion) in open waters, seas to 2.5m and surf to 1.5m
  • These paddles may require launching and landing through the surf with some time spent in the surf zone.
  • Paddles up to 30km per day along open coastlines and rocky headlands. If more than 30km trip leaders must show in their planning /trip briefing that they have taken the distance into consideration
  • If wind is over 20 knots, trip leaders must show in their planning/trip briefing that they have taken the wind into consideration
  • Max distance of 5NM (9.2km) from shore.
  • Maintain a cruising speed of 6km/hour
Paddlers Requirements
  • For proficient paddlers holding AC Sea skills award
  • Extensive experience and skill, including kayak surfing and rolling are required
Trip Leaders Requirements
  • Equipment as per grade 3 equipment prerequisites plus, provide a suitable means of emergency communication and must implement the event in accordance with the club float plan
  • Trip Leaders must hold a minimum of Sea Guide qualifications, and be authorised by UQCC inc.