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For Certified Instructors
Welcome to the ACA Instructor Resource Center!

We appreciate your commitment to safe and enjoyable paddlesports and look forward to helping you as you continue to share your knowledge and passion with paddlers of all levels and abilities!

Here are some answers to the most frequently asked questions from certified instructors:

Q: What exactly can I teach?
ACA Instructors are certified to teach any and all of the content that is included in the sample skills course outlines and skills assessment courses for their own level of certification, and all the levels below. For example, a Level 3: River Kayaking instructor can teach the Level 3: River Kayaking skills courses, the Level 3: River Kayaking skills assessment, and the corresponding courses for Levels 2 and 1.

Q: Can I certify other instructors?
If you are an ACA Instructor, you CANNOT certify new instructors. ACA Instructors can teach the following courses within their respective discipline and up to their level of certification:

  • Skills Courses
  • Skills Assessments

Only ACA Instructor Trainers can certify new instructors; Instructor Trainer can also teach the following courses within their respective discipline and up to their level of certification:

  • Skills Courses
  • Skills Assessments 
  • Instructor Certification Workshops
  • Instructor Updates 
  • Instructor Endorsements

Q: How many students can I have in my course?

Instructor to Student Ratios (as outlined by the skills course outlines):
  • Canoe - Solo: 5 students : 1 Instructor; 10:2 with a qualified assistant
  • Canoe - Tandem: 6 students : 1 Instructor; 12:2 with a qualified assistant
  • Kayak - 5 students : 1 Instructor; 10:2 with a qualified assistant
  • Raft - 6 students : 1 Instructor; 12:2 with a qualified assistant
  • Safety & Rescue - 5 students : 1 Instructor; 10:2 with a qualified assistant
  • SUP - 5 students : 1 Instructor; 10:2 with a qualified assistant
  • *Level 5: River Canoe & River Kayak Course Ratios: 3 Students : 1 Instructor; 6:2 with a qualified assistant

Q: How do I obtain ACA Insurance to cover my courses?

Submit the appropriate ACA Course Registration Form to the Safety Education & Instruction Department. You can complete this registration form online, via email, or fax.

To request insurance through the ACA General Liability Insurance Policy, an ACA Instructor or Instructor Trainer must be in good standing, which includes:

  • Current ACA Membership & SEIC dues
  • Appropriate level and discipline of ACA certification for the course
  • Appropriate First Aid & CPR certification (proof is required and should be submitted with insurance request) 

Q: What next? How do I report my course when it is over?
If you used the ACA insurance Program, be sure to submit:

  • All membership and insurance fees collected at the event
  • Original copies of the signed ACA approved waivers (Adult & Minor) for all participants(including yourself)
  • Appropriate Final Course Report Form:

If your course did not use the ACA Insurance Program, please submit:

You can also report your course using our EZ Skills Online Reporting System.

Q: Do my students receive cards from the ACA Office?
If you conducted a skills course, you can issue your students participation cards.

If you conducted an assessment course, the ACA Office will issue assessment cards to each student who is an ACA member (or joins during your course).

Q: How do I advertise my course on the ACA Calendar?

If you would like assistance 'getting the word out' about your courses, the ACA can post your course dates, location, and other details to our online calendar, so anyone looking for instruction in your area can find you!This instructor benefit is absolutely free!

To request that your course be put on the calendar, you need to submit the appropriate registration form:


What must I do to keep my certification current?

By the end of the 4 year certification period, December 31st, the following minimum maintenance requirements must be met in order for the certification to be renewed for an additional 4 years:

  • Maintain annual ACA membership and SEIC registration
  • Instructors must teach and properly report a minimum of two classes every four years. At least one class should be at the highest level of certification.
  • Successfully complete an Instructor Update during the certification period. Instructor Updates can be accomplished by one of the following methods:
  • Participate in an Instructor Update course at your highest certification level
  • Assist with an IDW or ICE at the highest level of certification (with the pre-approval of the facilitating IT) and complete a review of ACA Policies & Procedures with the IT
  • Complete an approved Endorsement (check with the SEI Department beforehand)
  • Co-teach a skills course at your highest level of certification under the supervision of an IT in that discipline and complete a review of ACA Policies & Procedures with the IT

What kinds of prodeals am I eligible for, as an ACA instructor?

Visit for a list of companies and deals!

How do I become more involved?

ACA’s Discipline Committees constantly review and edit the ACA’s instructional curriculum, develop new tools for instructors, and stay connected to industry trends and standards. If you’d like more information about how to get connected to a Discipline Committee and the Safety Education & Instruction Council (SEIC), visit:

Q: I have more questions! Who do I contact?
Contact the ACA's Safety Education & Instruction (SEI) Department. We are here to help you!

Additional Information

ACA Mission

Founded in 1880, The American Canoe Association (ACA) is a national nonprofit organization serving the broader paddling public by providing education related to all aspects of paddling; stewardship support to help protect paddling environments; and sanctioning of programs and events to promote paddlesport competition, exploration and recreation.

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ACA | Canoe-Kayak-SUP-Raft-Rescue
503 Sophia St. Suite 100
Fredericksburg, VA 22401
Phone: 540-907-4460
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