10 days of intensive sea kayak training

ISKGA Guide Training Course

Dates (1-10 days)

2024 Dates May 8-May 17  


Haines, Alaska


$1250 per person Contact us for individual module pricing  

International Sea Kayak Guide Alliance Guide Training

ISKGA has developed a range of training modules and enhancement courses to benefit commercial sea kayak guides or individuals wishing to develop leadership and advanced paddling skills. These modules are the building blocks to becoming either an ISKGA Coastal or Advanced guide. The modules in this course are the prerequisites to becoming either an ISKGA Coastal or Advanced Guide.

This is a 10 day course which is designed to develop and enhance core skills of the commercial sea kayak guide or individuals who take leadership roles in their paddling groups.  The course is made up of 3 modules as well as an assessment at the end of the course.  The ISKGA Guide Training Course can be taken as a whole 10 day course or can also be attended in individual modules for those who do not have the time or who may have a strong interest in one particular module

Incident Management
4 Days

Module: Incident management: The ISKGA Incident Management course is a four day course. This can be logged as a stand alone two day course with two bolt on modules or alternatively can be run over a four day period.

Day 1 & 2: Developing a logical thought process that works under pressure, rescues-getting the basics right, rescue strategies, controlling your group, leadership under pressure, emotional influences, adrenal effects.

Day 3: Safety & rescue: The surf zone

Day 4: Safety & Rescue: Rock Gardens

Module guidelines

Mind set – Pro-active/passive – Casualty or Victim

Effective identification in the difference between a paddler whom is pro-active with regards to his safety or a paddler who is passive/in-active with regards to his own safety and to be able to assess quickly these actions during an incident in dynamic conditions.

Adrenalin – To fully understand the effects of ‘Adrenal fix’ and how to control these negative/positive influences on the group

Pre fight, in fight and post fight effects of adrenalin should be understood. Trainer should be able to highlight the areas where these influences occur and to highlight the signs, symptoms and actions required to recognise and deal with adrenal overload.

SAFER – Stop, Assess, Formulate, Execute, Review.  To be able to show a working knowledge of the SAFER process.

Candidates should show a logical thought process during an incident not rushing in and instead assessing the situation formulating a plan then executing that plan and reviewing the outcomes.

Lost person protocols – Methods of dealing with a lost person from your group.

Have an understanding of effective protocols for dealing with a lost person whilst on an expedition or during a day/night paddle.  Standard Operating Procedures for the lost person protocol. Meeting points, communication, search patterns, engagement of outside agencies.

First Aid –

Have a wider knowledge of how to apply first aid to an incident until responsibility of an incident is handed over to an outside agency.

Outside agencies – Methods of raising outside assistance during an incident.

Candidates should understanding that although prevention is better than cure, they must be able to recover control of his/her group, harnessing correct delegation and concurrent activity as well as having a working knowledge of being able to engage outside agencies for evacuation purposes.

Scenarios – Candidates should be able to deal with a wide variety of scenarios. During this four day course, day 1 & 2 will deal with developing the logical thought process, the understanding of emotional influences on the group during a crisis and getting the basics right. Day three and four are environmental modules, which are interchangeable, these are the ‘Rock Garden Safety & Rescue’ and the ‘Surf Zone Safety & Rescue’.

Candidates should be able to deal with a variety of incidents on the sea and understand the importance of training.  Incidents to include, lost equipment, damaged Kayaks,(lost hatches, holed kayaks), damaged Paddlers (dislocated shoulder, unconscious person, hyperthermia, spinal injury, heart attack). Panicked and trapped paddlers, hostile followership, lost and separated paddlers, multiple incidents.

Sea Survival

1 Day

This One Day Course follows the ISKGA sea survival syllabus. Jeff developed this course alongside Dave Whiddon, Sea Survival trainer for the RNLI. The course is now being adapted for British Canoeing and is a half day theoretical and a half day practical experience.

This course is often run in North America as the ‘Cold Water Boot Camp’ and is a real wake up call for many paddlers who attend.

The course syllabus serves to arm you against the ‘what if’ scenario and will make you a stronger, wiser ocean Paddler and competent Sea man.


Expedition Skills

3  Days
Group Dynamics

Customer service and group management skills: Leaders should have the ability to lead a variety of personalities and make every effort to encourage all members of an expedition to achieve the aims and objectives initiated in the planning stage to paddle with a positive outcome.

Create and maintain shelter, rescue strategies

Using a variety of techniques, candidates should be able to construct emergency shelter. These skills may have to be utilised in the event of damaged tents or lost equipment. Leaders may use either a tarp or other natural materials, and to understand how best to seek protection from the elements.Rescue: Guides must have a working knowledge of rescue techniques as well as having in place an emergency action plan.


Candidates should be able to demonstrate that they can light a fire using a variety of methods and in a variety of conditions including wind and rain. Demonstrate a suitable ‘Leave No Trace’ dismantling of fire and camp sites


Guides should be able to prepare food that has been foraged from the coastal environment in a hygienic manner and should have the appropriate food hygiene qualification, relevant to their home nation and the laws that govern the area of operations.

Packing a kayak, group equipment

The guide must be able to demonstrate effective loading of a sea kayak to other group members, demonstrating trim for effective kayak handling and a suitable itinerary for individual and group members on a multi day expedition.

Camp selection

An understanding of a suitable camp selection should be demonstrated. Camp locations must take into account the prevailing weather conditions as well as size, shelter, risk management, impact, local laws and group requirements.

Trip planning, single day & multi day

The guide will have the ability to plan multi-day expeditions to allow for individual needs and desires within the group. The guide needs to show that they can utilise environmental factors to achieve expedition goals and they can organise resupply strategies and put in place emergency action plans to facilitate casualty and group evacuations.


As well as personal equipment the guide must be able to provide and arrange group equipment for a client based expedition including spare food and emergency shelter.

Provisioning and foraging

The candidate should have a basic knowledge of wild foods that are available along a journey to supplement provisions and a safe method for acquiring potable water. The guide should be familiar with the food sources that are available in the areas they are operating in and be able to provide adequate nutrition in the event of an emergency to sustain energy levels within the group until they can implement their emergency action plan.

Wild life & ecology

A good level of knowledge of geological history and a knowledge of the different animal species which are encountered in the areas of operating should be demonstrated.In the event of an emergency an effective individual and group rescue plan can be initiated quickly and effectively. Guides must adhere to an established wildlife code, which shows consideration towards the environment and wildlife interaction, minimising disturbance yet still satisfying clients that they too have a right to co-exist in the natural environmen




2 Days


A two day part of the course in which the prospective guide will be assessed and evaluated on the skills built in the previous 8 days as well as the experiences they bring to the course.


Course Instructor

Jeff Allen

ISKGA Advanced Guide & BCU 5* Leader:

Jeff first started kayaking as a young lad in the Cub Scouts, then followed it on throughout his life, in the sea cadets, then the army, but it was seeing the graceful lines of a Valley Nordkap, laid out on the beach in Cyprus, whilst serving with the United Nations that inspired him to take up sea kayaking. Leaving the army in 1987, Jeff’s love of the outdoors took him in pursuit of the ocean, and he moved to Falmouth in Cornwall in 1987.

Since this date Jeff has worked on or near to the ocean. In  the years to follow Jeff established his current business “Expedition Paddler, offering personal coaching, training courses and guiding across the globe. Jeff is a world renowned expedition Sea Kayaker, and has chalked up circumnavigations of Japan, South Georgia and Ireland as well as completing major expeditions in Scandinavia, he has guided and coached professionally for a career since 2001 and is well known for his presentations and talks which he has delivered at many different sea kayak symposia around the world. Jeff specializes in Incident management and rough water rescue clinics as well as running intensive guide training programs at various locations around the world.

In 2009 along with Dave Whiddon RNLI- Jeff developed the first sea kayak specific ‘Sea Survival’ Programme which has now been incorporated into the ISKGA framework.

In 2012 Jeff developed the idea for an independent sea kayaking organisation to be formed, which would represent the needs of the professional/commercial sea kayaking guide, ISKGA was born later that year. 



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