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Cross Currents Sea Kayaking

123 Osborne Ave

Baltimore, MD 21228

Phone: 410.788.1241

Email: CrossCurrentsSeaKayaking@gmail.com

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ACA Certification  Courses


ACA Certification is a two-part process: the Instructor Development Workshop (IDW) and the Instructor Certification Exam (ICE).  In the IDW portion of the course, the trainer(s) will: 1) help you refine and master your strokes and rescues; and 2)  discuss and model effective methods for teaching others kayak-related skills. The candidates then have multiple opportunities to practice their teaching skills.

The final day is devoted to the formal assessment (ICE). Certification is based upon paddling skills (e.g., strokes, rescues), general knowledge (e.g., tides and currents, navigation), as well as group management and teaching skills.  Taking the course does not guarantee that you will be certified.  The duration of the L1/2 IDW/ICE is three days.  For L3, the course is five days.

This year the L1/2 training in April will be delivered as an Instructor Certification Workshop (ICW). That means the IDW and ICE are combined sequentially in one, three-day course.

A candidate’s likelihood of success is greatly enhanced if s/he comes into the instructor training course with personal skills that are already at the level at which they want to teach. So if you want to be an L2 instructor, you should have solid personal skills at the L2 level before starting the instructor course. These courses are about learning how to teach effectively, not learning the skills one day and then trying to teach them the next day!


The L3 course in July is a three-day IDW, i.e., the instructor development portion of the certification process. In order to take the  L3 IDW, you need to have already taken the L3 personal skills assessment OR have equivalent skills. You can also participate in the L3 course for the purpose of getting your L3 personal skills assessment.


This course is an IDW only. If there is sufficient demand, the ICE assessment will be offered later in the summer, after IDW participants have had sufficient opportunity to practice.

This is a great opportunity for those who have considered becoming an instructor or for those who just want to ramp up their own skills. If you are doing the course primarily to improve your personal skills, be clear that you will not be certified as an instructor. However, there is the possibility of receiving an ACA personal skills award at the end of the course. In any event, you will involved in a demanding and comprehensive  training curriculum.  These courses are extremely rewarding and we always have a lot of fun doing them.

Updates for current instructors

All ACA instructors are required to complete an Update course every four years in order to maintain their certification. It does not have to be in the fourth year after you got certified. It can be at any time during the four-year period.  When you do the update does not change your certification "anniversary" date. If your certification expires in June of 2020 - and you do the Update in April of 2019 - your new anniversary date is still June 2024.

You can participate for two of the three days to qualify for the update. The cost is $225. As part of the update, you will be expected to demonstrate the same (or better) skills that led to your initial certification. You can also expect to dramatically expand your skill set during this course.

2019 IDW/ICE Schedule

Session #1:   L2 Instructor Certification Workshop (ICW) and L2 Update

Dates: April 19 -  21,  (Fri - Sun), 2019

Location: Lake Anna, VA

Instructor Trainer: Rick Wiebush

Cost: $325 for IDW; $225 for Update

Note: this IDW is being held at Lake Anna because the water is always about 70 degrees in the "warm" section of the lake. We will have a group house on the lake that will cost about $50- $55 per person per night for a semi-private room.

Session #2:   L3 Instructor Development Workshop and L3 Update
Dates: July 19 - 21,  (Fri - Sun), 2019
Location: Chincoteague, VA

Instructor Trainer: Rick Wiebush
Cost: $325 for IDW; $225 for Update


We will have a group house near the water that will cost about $50- $55 per person per night for a semi-private room

Session #3: L3 Trip Leader Training or Assessment

Dates: Sept. 25 - 26, 2019 (right before the Kiptopeke Symposium)

Location: Cape Charles, VA

Instructors: Rick Wiebush, Jen Kleck

Cost: $260

The purpose of this training is to prepare people who want to lead others in a moderate water environment (ACA L3).  There will be a dual focus during these two days: training or assessment. One group will consist of paddlers who want to take the required L3 trip leader training course (training track).  The other group will consist of those who want to be assessed for certification as an ACA L3 Trip Leader (assessment track). In order to be assessed, you need to have taken the L3 Trip Leader training course (or have equivalent skills). 


There is a major emphasis in this course on leadership skills including planning, communication, risk assessment, and incident management. Skills such as navigation, rescues and towing in rougher water, and launching and landing a group in moderate surf also receive considerable attention. The L3 Trip Leader award is a leadership award, not a coaching award. More details about the ACA L3 Trip leader award can be found here:






We always rent a house in Cape Charles for these special pre-Kiptopeke classes. Housing costs are typically $50 - $55/night for a shared room.



Amazon: Rio Negro

Photo: Rick Wiebush