Mountain Water Expeditions Canoe Leader Training

British Canoeing – Leadership Awards

British Canoeing – Canoe Leader Training – Canoe Open Water or Canoe White Water

Would you like the confidence to lead a group of friends or peers on an open canoe adventure?

From January 2021 the new Canoe Leader award will be split into two different areas:

Canoe Leader Open Water

• British Canoeing Canoe Open Water Leader qualification is appropriate for leading others on journeys in large areas of open water that exceed the sheltered water definition, where the paddlers are no more than 500 metres off shore and in wind strengths that do not exceed Beaufort force 4.

Canoe Leader White Water

• British Canoeing Canoe White Water Leader qualification is appropriate for leading others on journeys on grade 2(3) white water or equivalent weirs.

The foundation of good leadership in paddlesports is personal skill, as it allows you to focus all your attention on the group. Once a leader is comfortable in the environment they can easily help and lead others. On our training courses we will help you improve your personal paddling to let you move around the river or lake thoughtlessly. As you do this you will have plenty of time to think about the group and plan what they should do. This will allow you to match the technical skill of your group to the difficulty of the river or lake and then make a safe decision as how to lead them.

Rest assured that at the end of a Mountain Water Expeditions training course your personal paddling and technical understanding will have improved significantly.

We will give you demonstrations of best leading practice and allow you to try them with the support of an extremely experienced coach at your side. We will give you as much freedom to make decisions as you want while always being there to help if necessary.

Friendly, encouraging and approachable. A very systematic approach that makes understanding concepts a lot easier. Lots of hands-on experience to facilitate learning.

 Cai Sim – Clinical Research Practitional, NHS


We feel that two days are needed to allow enough time to cover the Canoe Leader syllabus for each discipline (Open Water or White Water) and adequately prepare students for the full range of activities involved in the moderate water environment in canoe.  However, for those people who feel that they already have a significant amount of the knowledge in the syllabus we run a small number of one day courses for each discipline area. It is not possible to cover all the syllabus in any depth in a day so we would suggest that this is appropriate for students who already hold other outdoor leadership qualifications and perhaps more specifically another Leadership Award.

Generic skills looked at during Canoe Leader Training:

  • What equipment to carry (Personally and as a Canoe Leader)
  • Logistics for river and lake journeys
  • Matching venues and journeys to the skill level of the group
  • Strategies for leading in moderate water and when to use them
  • Communication skills beyond signals and briefing

On the lake (Open Water)

  • Group management and how to use trim adjustments to make life easier and improve group control
  • Effective use of the variety of forward strokes to move efficiently
  • Improvised sailing and the problems that can occur
  • Rescues of solo, tandem and rafted canoes

On the river (White Water)

  • River reading
  • Line choice for different abilities and solo or tandem boats
  • Applying CLAP to the river environment
  • Personal paddling skills and technical understanding
  • Using river features effectively
  • Slowing the canoe to aid manoeuvring  
  • Canoe appropriate rescue techniques
  • Poling and lining
  • Rescues of solo, tandem

Training Prerequisites

British Canoeing Canoe Award standard is the appropriate level of performance for paddlers to begin working towards the British Canoeing Canoe Leader. It is not, however, necessary for the paddler to hold the British Canoeing Canoe Award.


This course is non-residential.

Meeting Place

T.B.C normally somewhere within North Wales or Lake District.

Alan’s ability to iron out faults in my paddling has helped me to go from a basic paddler to one who now thinks with leadership qualities. Thanks to the expertise on offer at Mountain Water Expeditions, I am (hopefully!) looking to complete my Canoe Leader assessment within the next year

Tom Lovejoy – Journalist, NHST Media Group

Course Date(s)

Canoe Leader Training Date[s] Open WaterCourse/ActivityLocationPriceBook Now
19th & 20th November 2022Canoe Leader Training Open WaterNorth Wales£210 MWE-CTA-ENQUIRE
Canoe Leader Training Date[s] White WaterCourse/ActivityLocationPriceBook Now
T.B.CCanoe Leader Training White WaterNorth Wales£210 MWE-CTA-ENQUIRE

What we include

The price of the course includes;

  • Coaching and guiding from experienced and helpful coaches
  • A single point of contact at Mountain Water Expeditions to provide you with consistent support throughout your experience.
  • Pre course information pack with lots of helpful advice, kit lists etc
  • Opportunity to try out a selection of Freebird paddles
  • Canoe pole (if needed)
  • Waterproof Rucksack and inner drybag (if needed)

What we do not include

  • Transport to and from the starting point
  • Personal kit and accident insurance
  • Items of personal canoeing kit for example waterproof clothing, drysuits, wetsuit boots etc
  • Food or drink
  • Canoe (There is an option to hire an expedition standard canoe at £20 per day)


Alan Pinnington.

For further information or to book a place on this British Canoeing Canoe Leader Training courses please email