North Wales Sea Kayaking | Environmental & Level Definitions

North Wales Sea Kayaking | Anglesey Adventures

North Wales Sea Kayaking Levels

Which course is for me?

 

The information below outlines environmental definitions provided  British Canoeing and will give you an indication on your level of ability when choosing a sea kayaking course to suit your requirements.

Very Sheltered Water (Level 1)

Quiet canals with easy bankside access and egress; small lakes, which are not large enough and do not have difficult landing, where problems could occur if there is a sudden change in conditions; gentle, slow moving rivers. The definition implies weather conditions that are not in themselves likely to cause problems. At any point, the paddler should not be more than 50 metres from the bank.

 

Enclosed swimming pools are also defined as very sheltered water environments.

 

Note:  The definition implies normal conditions and care is advised when water and air temperatures are low.

Sheltered Water (Level 2)

             

Ungraded sections of slow moving rivers where the group could paddle upstream against the flow (not involving the shooting of, or playing on, weirs or running rapids). Areas of open water (e.g. lakes and lochs) where the paddlers are no more than 200 metres offshore and the wind strength does not exceed Beaufort force 3, avoiding the group being swept/blown out of the safe working area. Slow moving estuaries (less than 0.5 Knots)

 

Examples: Small enclosed bays, enclosed harbours where there is minimal possibility of being blown offshore, defined beaches with easy places to land throughout, no tide races, overfalls or surf.

 

Note:  The definition implies normal conditions and care is advised when water and air temperatures are low.

Moderate Water (Level 3)

Sea: A stretch of coastline with some areas where it is not easy to land but there will always be straight forward land points a maximum of two nautical miles apart. Crossings not exceeding two nautical miles. Up to 2 Knots of tide (but not involving tide race or overfalls). Wind strengths do not exceed Beaufort force 4.  Launching and landing through surf (up to 1 metre, trough to crest height).

 

Surf: Sections of sandy beaches free from significant hazard (e.g. rocks and strong rips) and easy access. Gentle, sloping and spilling waves, preferably peeling. Not pitching or dumping. Wave height should be no more than double overhead when seated in a kayak in the trough of the wave (head high for a stand up surfer).

Advanced Water (Level 4)

Sea: Any journey on the sea where tidal races, overfalls or open crossings may be encountered and which cannot be avoided; sections of coastline where landings may not be possible or are difficult; sea state 4 and winds above Beaufort force 4; launching and landing through surf (up to 1.5 metres trough to crest height).

 

Surf: Reefs, points, offshore breaks and sandy beaches, which may have significant hazards (e.g. rocks, strong rips, etc.) and may be remote and/or have difficult access. Waves may be powerful, steep, pitching, fast, hollow and heavy. Up to and above double overhead when seated in a kayak in the trough of the wave (or head high and above for a stand up surfer).

 

Surf Height:

Double overhead = double the height of the surfer when seated in a kayak in the trough of the wave (head high for a stand up surfer), see image opposite: