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Paddlesports Safety Facilitator
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The Paddlesports Safety Facilitator (PSF) certification program teaches basic safety and paddling knowledge, as well as simple rescue skills for canoe, kayak, and SUP. The training for this certificaiton incldues a base knowledge module (non-craft specific) plus three complementary modules that focus specifcally on canoeing, kayaking, and stand up paddling (SUP). This certification allows the facilitator to introduce paddlecraft safety and knowledge to the beginner paddler in a land-based setting. Be sure to read the Frequently Asked Questions.


What: This program allows for the opportunity for Paddlesport Safety Facilitator Certification in canoeing, kayaking, and/or stand up paddleboarding (SUP). The training for this certification includes a base module (non-discipline specific) plus three complementary modules that focus specifically on canoeing, kayaking, and SUP.

  • General / Base Module (PDF)
    • Canoeing Module (PDF)
    • Kayaking Module (PDF)
    • SUP Module (PDF)

Who can teach it?: This PSF certification program can be delivered by any ACA Level 3 Instructor (or higher), any ACA Level 1 or 2 Instructor with the PSF Endorsement, or any Instructor Trainer (IT) or Educator (ITE), within their discipline(s) of certification. In order to deliver each of the specific craft modules (canoe, kayak, or SUP), the Instructor, IT, or ITE must be certified or formally assessed within each specific discipline. For example: A currently certified canoeing Instructor Trainer must also hold instructor certification or documented skills assessments in kayaking and SUP in order to deliver all three craft specific modules. Find an instructor or trainer.


Who are the target market(s) for the Paddlesports Safety Facilitator program?: This course is appropriate for the staff of liveries, parks and recreation sites, rental companies, or guide services. The PSF course also is a suitable alternative for the discontinued Small Craft Safety course once offered by the American Red Cross. Therefore, other markets that will use the PSF program include summer camps, youth organizations (such as the YMCA, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, the Boy Scouts of America, and the Girl Scouts of the USA. The course can also be used for any member of the general public that wants to have a comprehensive knowledge base of on-water safety and best practices for enjoyable paddling.


Where is a class held?: Upon successful completion, this certification allows the facilitator to introduce paddlecraft safety and knowledge to the beginner paddler in a land-based setting.  In order to earn certification, the PSF Candidate will attend a course that is conducted on calm, flat water, protected from wind, waves and outside boat traffic, with no apparent current, and within swimming distance of shore.  A classroom or sheltered off-water area must also be available for discussions and presentations.  It is important to note that this certification is intended for dry land instruction only.


Why should I take this course?: This certification will add credibility to yourself as a source of paddlesports safety information, as well as provide official documentation of your skills and experience for your employer, insurance carrier, or resume.


How do I complete the class?: Complete the 1-day course (approximately 4 hours for the base module and 1 hour for each of the craft specific modules). You will also be required to complete a written exam in order to pass the course. In order to receive official credentialing documentation of this certification, you must be an ACA member. 

Helpful Resources:

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The 40th Great Rappahannock Whitewater Canoe Race

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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