ACA Level 2 Coastal Kayak Instructor Certification Workshop

American Canoe Association (ACA) Instructor Certification Workshops (ICWs) are the next step for individuals wishing to teach paddling technique and skill refinement. An ACA instructor certification course consists of both an Instructor Development Workshop (IDW) and an Instructor Certification Exam (ICE). When the IDW and ICE are combined into a single event it is titled as “Instructor Certification Workshop” (ICW). Participants attending an IDW, or ICW, will have the paddling skills, technical knowledge, and rescue ability commensurate with the course level prior to attending.

The ICW is designed to refine and polish the paddling skills of the participants to provide a clear model to present to students. Additionally, the ICW will explore teaching techniques appropriate to paddlesports, as well as group management, leadership, and assessment skills. Candidates will be evaluated on their technical skills, their teaching skills, and their interpersonal skills. Successful candidates will be certified as an ACA Instructor at the appropriate level and will be certified to teach ACA courses of instruction up to their level of certification. Persons desiring to become ACA Instructors should thoroughly review the instructor criteria, as well as the courses up to the level of certification being sought, which are detailed on the ACA website (

Attendees at an IDW or ICW are required to be full members of the ACA at the start of the course. Upon successful completion of the ICE/ICW, membership in the ACA’s Safety Education and Instruction Council is required to receive certification. Attendees are also required to obtain the ACA Instructor’s Manual (available in the eStore of the ACA website) and to maintain first aid and CPR certification. Instructors must be 18 years of age. Persons within 12 months of their 18th birthday may attend an instructor certification course, and if successfully completes the course will have their certification “deferred” until their 18th birthday.

The L2: Essentials of Kayak Touring courses are designed to teach paddlers to safely and enjoyably kayak on lakes, calm protected ocean environments, and other flatwater settings (protected water near shore with winds up to 10 knots, waves up to one foot (0.3 meters), and current up to one knot).

At the conclusion of the ICW successful candidates will be “passed” at the workshop level, passed at a lower level with an action plan to complete to upgrade to the next level, or be “passed” at a lower level. The final certification depends on the performance in the above identified areas of competence.

ACA Level 2 Coastal Kayak Instructor Certification Workshop


  • Full ACA membership.
  • Must complete an appropriate level skills course, assessment course or have equivalent skills.
  • First Aid and CPR.

Cost:  $475 Per Person

The $25 ACA membership and $35 SEIC membership are additional.  You will receive links to pay & join as part of the course materials sent ahead of time.

Participants are responsible for their own travel, food, and lodging during the course.

Registration:  Requires pre-registration by May 24, 2019. 

Number of Students:  Limited to 10 students.

Cancellation Policy:  Fees are refundable up to 30 days prior to the ICW.

Required Gear: 

  • Sea Kayak with Bulkheads and Deck Lines
  • Paddle
  • Life Jacket
  • Spray-skirt
  • Paddle Float
  • Bilge Pump
  • Tow Rope
  • Whistle
  • Hand Held Compass
  • Wet Suit or Dry Suit
  • Water Shoes (No Bare Feet or Flip Flops)


Riverside Kayak Connection – The on water portion will be at a launch near Wyandotte, MIchigan and will be determined based on conditions.


John Browning

John Browning started sea kayaking in 1990, it was love at first dip of the blade. In the mid-90's he began to pursue certifications with the BCU, and earned the BCU 4* award, and Coach 2 (sea) in 1998. In 2000, John completed the ACA Adaptive Paddling, Advanced Level, course. In 2002, earned the ACA L4: Open Water Coastal Kayak Instructor award. In 2007, earned the ACA L4: Open Water Coastal Kayak Instructor Trainer award. He has been actively training instructors in the U.S. as well as in China and South East Asia, while developing new paddlers, as well as more experienced paddlers, on the Great Lakes, and through courses on Tybee Island, Georgia.

Since September 2016, John has conducted five Coastal Kayak Instructor Certification Workshops (ICWs) in mainland China, six ICWs in Hong Kong, and two in Malaysia.

He currently serves on the Safety Education and Instruction Council (SEIC) as the Chair of the Coastal Kayak Committee, a position he has held for the past 5 years.
Certifications Currently Held:
ACA L4: Open Water Coastal Kayak Instructor Trainer
ACA L2: Essentials of River Kayak Instructor
ACA L2: River Canoe Instructor (Tandem)
Emergency Medical Technician
American Heart Association Basic Life Support Instructor

John Tatro Bio Photo

John Tatro

John Tatro's enthusiasm for kayaking is just another facet of his love of the outdoors.  A native of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, he grew up surrounded by water and took to it at an early age.  John started with multi-day & whitewater canoe trips, and raced in both solo and tandem events. He also enjoys backpacking, and has hiked Isle Royle, parts of the Appalachian Trail, and the North Country Trail. When on quiet back country rivers he can be found fly fishing and relaxing around a campsite.  He is a self-diagnosed paddling addict and gear hound, and his love of the outdoors and kayaking is contagious.  John especially enjoys paddling in open water and surf.

John is a certified ACA-certified Level 4 Sea Kayak Instructor and a BCU 4-Star paddle.