AC Sea Award Courses

Sea Guide is one of the most demanding Australian Canoeing certifications you can gain - this is a 2 year undertaking if you have no prior sea kayaking experience. You are expected to paddle your own trips and expeditions as well to gain further experience - there are many opportunities worldwide in the sea kayak industry!  

The first step is to undertake the Sea Guide intake weekend, this involves assisting and observing alongside our instructors on our weekend Sea Starter Course - which is an  introduction to sea kayaking course for the community. We run this once a month from October to April,  you can come back and assist as many times you like over a 2 year period until you believe you are ready to undertake your assessment.

Participants are expected to be able to paddle to the standard of the Sea Skills Award.

To compare the conditions and requirements for Enclosed Sea Guide, Sea Leader and Sea Guide download this pdf.

Sea Guide

This course is for people seeking employment where the the group under instruction will leave the immediate launch area such as an overnight or full-day excursion. Holders of the Sea Guide Award are qualified to lead or guide a group of novices on activity and expedition based programs in sea kayaks at sea, defined as outside of estuaries, embayments or other sheltering reefs or islands in moderate conditions:

  • Below “strong wind warnings” conditions (forecast or observed of greater than 25 knots);
  • Assessed in minimum winds of 11 – 16 knots;
  • Areas of exposed coastline that is simple, not involving overfalls, tidal races, difficult landings
  • or open crossings may be included;
  • Crossings of less than 10 nautical miles;
  • Breaking (overtopping) waves (sea) up to 1 m;
  • Surf to 1m. 

Sea Instructor

Holders of the Sea Instructor Award are qualified to instruct, facilitate skill transfer to develop participants (novices to instructors) on activity and expedition based programs in sea kayaks at sea, defined as outside of estuaries, embayments or other sheltering reefs or islands in moderate conditions as defined above. An Instructor will have a deeper understanding of paddling technique and skills development and has been assessed to a higher level than guides.

The Course

Elements covered in the course will include but are not limited to:

  • Equipment
  • Paddling skills
  • Rescue skills
  • Navigation
  • Weather
  • Tides
  • Trip planning
  • Risk management
  • Group control

In addition, for Sea Instructor

  • Teaching models
  • Skill and knowledge transfer

Paddle Craft & Equipment:
This program is specifically for Sea Kayaks. For Sit-on-Top craft please see Coastal Guide.

It is expected that participants will supply their own equipment including kayak, PFD, paddles (including spare), spray deck, helmet and required safety gear. East Coast Kayaking can provide any or all of this equipment - please notify us at the time of booking if you need to hire equipment.  Please detail personal equipment on the checklist on the Participant Information form emailed to you following your booking to determine its suitability.

Paddle clothing needs to be suitable for the conditions and environment - to protect you from sun, wind and cold.

Location: Our Training Centre at 37 Jetty Road, Sandringham, with the practical component on the sheltered waters of Sandringham Harbour. Other locations for your private group / organisation can be arranged - contact us to discuss.
Duration: 9.00am - 4.30pm for three days, Saturdays & Sundays
Cost: $395
Class Size: Maximum 12 participants


Applicants for a Guide or Instructor award should already hold a Sea Skills Award or have demonstrated equivalent skills. This allows the paddler to operate confidently, skilfully and safely within their tested conditions.


Assessment consists of Guiding 3 day journeys and a 3 day Expedition which are our Beyond Basic Courses that we offer the community - Guiding our clients under supervision of our sea kayak instructors

DATES 2016-2017 SEASON


AC Sea Guide Course Intake



Sandringham Harbour
Saturday & Sunday
9am - 4.30pm



8-9 October 2016
12-13 November 2016
3-4 December 2016
14-15 January 2017
11-12 February 2017
4-5 March 2017
1-2 April 2017

Contact us for Skills, Leader, Flat-water Guide / Instructor, Coastal Guide / Instructor, Sea Guide / Instructor or Enclosed Guide / Instructor courses on or 03 9597 0549.