ACA Level 3 Coastal Kayak Instructor Certification Exam

American Canoe Association (ACA) Level 3 Coastal Kayak Instructor Certification Exam is the testing for instructor candidates to become certified instructors to teach paddle strokes and rescues in a dynamic environment.  Level 3 conditions are 10-15 knot winds, 1-2 foot seas, 1-2 foot breaking waves, and 1-2 knots of current).

The ICE provides a supportive environment where each candidate demonstrates their proficiency in the presentation of skills & information and demonstration (proper modeling) of skills necessary for certification as well as display of overall paddle sport knowledge.  During the ICE each candidate will present both on land and on the water topics.  On water sessions include leadership, group management risk management, and skill modeling of paddle strokes and rescues.

At the end of the examination period each candidate will receive verbal feedback regarding their performance and certification level they have achieved.  Written feedback will be sent to each candidate after the ICE.

ACA Level 3 Coastal Kayak Instructor Certification Exam


  • Full ACA membership and membership in the ACA’s Safety Education Instruction Committee (SEIC).
  • To be an ACA instructor you must be 18 years of age.
  • Have completed Level 3 Coastal Kayak Instructor Development Workshop.
  • First Aid and age appropriate CPR.

Class Covers:   Any of T-Rescue, Self Rescues, Re-entry and Roll, Toggle Rescue, Cold Water Rescues, Haul Up, Leg Up, Back Deck Swimmer Rescue, Eskimo Bow Rescue, and Eskimo Paddle Rescue.  Pool classes cover material differently from open water classes. 

Cost:  $260 Per Person

Full ACA membership is $40 and SEIC is $25 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 August 7, 2018.  

Minimum Age:  18 years old. 

Number of Students:  Limited to 10 students.

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

Required Gear: 

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

Optional Equipment:

  • Deck Compass
  • Repair Kit
  • 1st Aid Kit
  • Signal Kit
  • Weather/marine radio


2800 State Park Road
Monroe, Michigan 48162

Sam Crowley

Sam Crowley is an ACA Level 5 Advanced Open Water Instructor Trainer Educator, an ACA Adaptive Paddling Endorsement and Wilderness First Responder. He’s been paddling since 1991 and instructing since 1996. He’s instructed over 100 instructor workshops but is primarily a paddler with many Lake Superior trips in addition to Haida Gwaii in BC, Finland/Sweden and an Ireland circumnavigation. 

For more information on Sam: 

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 paddl