The section for recreational- and tourpaddling of the Finnish Canoe Federation has made recommendations on minimum contents regarding paddlecourses directed towards beginners. The objective is to harmonise and guarantee the tutoring of the same basic skills in courses given by memberclubs of the the association. This recommendation is primarily directed towards classes given by the clubs.

Other parties are free to follow it. If the class follows the recommendation then a certificate can be issued in which the course is said to follow the course content recommendations of the Finnish Canoe Federation. The recommendations must also be printed on the flip-side of the certificate.

Each club may add other parts depending on their waters, equipment and type of activities.

Shorter or simpler courses can be called paddle introductions or demonstrations.

A class should be minum 10 hours divided at least on two days. The major part of the time should be used for skills excersizes.

Coach-trainee proportion is rekommended to be 1:5 ie. one coach and five trainees. The proportion should be at least as specified by the Maritime authorities.

Equipment varies depending on the boats used by the club and the waters.

Paddle basic course objectives:

sufficient skills for training paddling on yourself. Only experience will make you a paddler.

Skills (focus on the club paddlewaters and equipment)

Entering and exiting the kayak/open canoe at the shore and jetty

Attaching and releasing the spraydeck on a kayak

Good paddling posture, maintaining balance and relaxing

Forwards paddling

Backwards paddling


Sideways movement in at least one way

Basic bracing

Steering of the boat using paddle strokes, rudder, skeg, weight adjustment and stern rudder using the paddle

Voluntary: Capsize the boat and swim ashore or rescuing according the example given by the instructor

Rafting on the water and exiting the raft

Ability to use rudders, skegs and adjusting footbraces

Making a safetycheck on the boat before embarking, especially floatation

Learn proper use of the gear, maintenance and good carrying practices


Basic knowlede on paddling and equipment, their adjustments and selection according to circumstances

  • Your own clothing and sparecloting to protect against cold and sun
  • Equipment: boats, personal floatation aids, spraydecks, paddles, floatations in canoes and kayaks, helmets

Understanding and knowledge of safety:

  • assessment of your own strength and skills in relation to circumstances
  • information on leaving for a paddletour left ashore (club book, person..)
  • paddling in a group
  • wind, waves, currents and weather
  • fairways and other boaters
  • understanding of differing environments like moving water and variations in different sea 
  • demonstration of a suitable resque using the used equipment
  • Food and dringkingliquids (at its simplest a  bottle of drinkingwater, meals )
  • Hypotermia – preventive measures in clothing and short cure instructions
  • Everymans rights, where paddlign is allowed or forbidden, setting ashore and environmental knowledge
  • Presenting the club activities and types of paddlesport. For example presenting racing, whitewater and touring.

Safetymeasures - objective safe feeling

Appropriate number of instructors (1:5) and at least the proportion mentioned by the maritime officials safety documents for kayakers (one instructor for 10 boats or 16 paddlers) and skills

  • Excersizes on sheltered waters
  • Ensuring swimming skills of the participants
  • It is good to tell instructor about health conditions affecting states of consiousness and balance
  • Requirements on equipment as specified by the finnish maritime authorities safety instructions
  • Paddler distances, maintaining communication. Communication on water both within the group and between instructors within reach of speech (whistle, paddle signs agreed). 
  • Group "agreement" is part of the safety 
  • Visibility and identifying instructors (PFD's, caps etc.)
  • Instructor safetyequipment and advance usage instructing
  • Resque plan clarifyed to the participants
  • Safetyboat as necessary
  • Finnish maritime authorities safety iinstructions are primary leads

SKaL/Virkistys- ja retkimelontajaos 26.5.2000.