Unit of competency details

SISOKYS304A - Demonstrate sea kayaking skills in moderate to difficult conditions (Release 2)


ReleaseStatusRelease date
2 (this release)Current 28/Nov/2011
(View details for release 1) Replaced07/Jun/2011

Usage recommendation:
Supersedes and is equivalent to SROKYS003A - Apply sea kayaking skills in moderate conditionsE Updated and equivalent to SROKYS003A Apply sea kayaking skills in moderate conditions 06/Jun/2011

Training packages that include this unit


SchemeCodeClassification value
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 092101 Sport And Recreation Activities  

Classification history

SchemeCodeClassification valueStart dateEnd date
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 092101 Sport And Recreation Activities  18/Nov/2011 
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Modification History

Not Applicable

Unit Descriptor

This unit describes the performance outcomes, skills and knowledge required to apply sea kayaking skills in moderate to difficult conditions. This unit focuses on the application of sea kayaking skills such as capsizing, rolling, navigating, and reading and assessing sea conditions.

Application of the Unit

This unit applies to those working as sea kayaking guides or assistants under supervision in a range of moderate sea conditions with minimum winds11 to 16 knots.

This may include those working for private outdoor adventure companies, volunteer organisations, not for profit organisations, government agencies, or group instructors in outdoor education programs.

Licensing/Regulatory Information

No licensing, regulatory or certification requirements apply to this unit at the time of endorsement.



Employability Skills Information

This unit contains employability skills.

Elements and Performance Criteria Pre-Content

Elements and Performance Criteria



Elements describe the essential outcomes of a unit of competency.

Performance criteria describe the performance needed to demonstrate achievement of the element. Where bold italicised text is used, further information is detailed in the required skills and knowledge section and the range statement. Assessment of performance is to be consistent with the Evidence Guide

1. Plan a sea kayaking activity.

1.1. Identify and plan food and water requirements  according to principles of nutrition  and contextual issues .

1.2. Identify an appropriate activity location according to relevant legislation  and organisational policies and procedures .

1.3. Access relevant sources  to interpret weather and environmental information  and determine activity plan.

1.4. Identify potential hazards  associated with the activity and determine a contingency plan  to manage risks .

2. Select equipment.

2.1. Select sea kayak and equipment  according to contextual issues and organisational policies and procedures, and check working condition.

2.2. Fit and adjust equipment according to manufacturer's specifications to ensure efficient posture, comfort, safety and suitability to the participant and sea kayak.

2.3. Select personal equipment for the activity according to the design and or construction features that make it appropriate.

2.4. Select safety and rescue equipment  appropriate to the activity location.

2.5. Prepare sea kayak for transportation if required.

2.6. Waterproof, pack and fasten equipment that is not required on hand, and prepare sea kayak for launch

3. Control sea kayak in moderate sea conditions.

3.1. Embark and disembark  the sea kayak whilst maintaining stability.

3.2. Apply efficient strokes  and paddling techniques  to cross to manoeuvre the sea kayak across, into and down wind.

3.3. Use waves and moderate to difficult sea conditions  to assist in turning the sea kayak.

3.4. Apply suitable stroke and technique to move the sea kayak sideways, and avoid hazards.

3.5. Manoeuvre the sea kayak to form a raft, when required, and disperse from raft efficiently.

4. Plan and conduct a sea kayak trip.

4.1. Plan a sea kayaking trip including activity site, distance and duration and after reading and assessing the weather and sea conditions.

4.2. Ensure sufficient equipment and personal requirements are in order, according to relevant legislation and organisational policies and procedures.

4.3. Apply navigation techniques  throughout sea kayaking trip.

4.4. Maintain appropriate communication with other paddlers.

5. Roll a sea kayak in surf of up to one metre.

5.1. Determine roll techniques  appropriate to sea kayaking in moderate to difficult conditions.

5.2. Perform a roll and maintain calm whilst upside down in moderate to difficult conditions.

5.3. Regain paddling position promptly, on completion of roll.

6. Apply capsize procedures.

6.1. Exit the sea kayak, when rolling is not possible, in a controlled manner following capsize.

6.2. Maintain appropriate body position in the water to minimise injury and entrapment.

6.3. Demonstrate safe and efficient deep water rescue procedures  in moderate to difficult conditions.

7. Evaluate sea kayaking activity.

7.1. Evaluate relevant aspects  of the sea kayaking activity.

7.2. Identify improvements for future sea kayaking experiences.

Required Skills and Knowledge

This section describes the skills and knowledge required for this unit.

Required skills 

  • planning and organising skills to select and allocate sea kayaking equipment
  • problem-solving skills to determine stroke, capsizing and rolling techniques based on weather and sea conditions
  • literacy and numeracy skills to:
  • read and interpret information on a sea chart and to calculate times and distances for the legs of a sea kayaking trip
  • communication skills to interact with other paddlers and rescue crew to maintain a positive and safe environment
  • sea and weather reading and assessment skills, such as the affect of tide, current, wind and local conditions on the sea kayaking activity
  • sea kayak handling skills to apply a range of strokes and paddling techniques to control the craft
  • manage risks and hazards safely in moderate to difficult conditions
  • swimming skills to swim swimming skills to swim 50 metres whilst clothed and wearing personal flotation device that complies with State or Territory maritime regulations
  • first aid, emergency response and rescue skills appropriate to the location to enable initial response to emergencies and personal health care.

Required knowledge 

  • legislation and organisational policies and procedures to enable safe conduct of all kayaking activities
  • minimal impact codes to enable protection of the environment
  • types of sea kayaks and equipment, characteristics and technology used for sea kayaking in moderate to difficult conditions, the advantages and disadvantages of the range of equipment, and factors affecting appropriate selection
  • clothing requirements for sea kayaking such as wet weather gear to maintain warmth and sun protection to minimise sunburn and heat stroke
  • waterproofing techniques used to keep equipment, that is not required on hand, dry during sea kayaking
  • importance of a personal flotation device in keeping a person afloat and their head above water
  • stroke, rolling and capsizing techniques used in moderate sea conditions
  • swimming techniques to swim out of trouble and manoeuvre sea kayak while in water
  • communication systems and signals used in sea kayaking
  • coastal navigation, chart reading and compass use applicable to sea kayaking trips
  • principles of nutrition to maintain health during sea kayaking
  • reading and assessment of the weather at sea to understand the dynamics and impact of the tide, current and wind conditions
  • weather and environmental information to identify forecast conditions and their effect on the activity
  • hazards, obstacles and risks commonly experienced when sea kayaking in moderate to difficult conditions and ways to avoid or negotiate these
  • emergency and rescue procedures appropriate for sea kayaking in moderate to difficult conditions, to ensure risk minimisation to self and group.

Evidence Guide

The evidence guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the performance criteria, required skills and knowledge, range statement and the Assessment Guidelines for the Training Package.

Overview of assessment 

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit 

Evidence of the following is essential:

  • applies relevant process to plan equipment and supply requirements according to the conditions and duration of the kayaking activity
  • applies knowledge of weather and sea conditions to plan and navigate a sea kayaking trip and makes decisions regarding negotiation of hazards and safety of self and group
  • demonstrates control of strokes, capsizing and rolling techniques, and participates in rescues in moderate sea conditions
  • evaluates and reflects on own sea kayaking performance to identify strengths, weaknesses and areas that need improvement.

Context of and specific resources for assessment 

Assessment must ensure participation in sea kayaking activities that are of sufficient breadth and duration to demonstrate competency and consistency of performance.

Assessment must also ensure access to:

  • resources and information, such as weather sources, to plan and select equipment for the sea kayaking activity
  • suitable sea kayaking locations with winds of moderate sea conditions of 11-16 knots and breaking or overtopping waves up to 1 metre
  • sea kayaking, navigation, first aid and safety and rescue equipment
  • a suitable and safe method of transport, if required to drive sea kayak to and from activity location

Method of assessment 

A range of assessment methods should be used to assess practical skills and knowledge. The following examples are appropriate for this unit:

  • observation of the planning and review process
  • oral or written questioning to assess knowledge of relevant legislation and organisational policies and procedures to enable safe conduct of all sea kayaking activities
  • observation of safe participation and demonstration of sea kayaking skills, such as capsizing and rolling a sea kayak
  • third-party reports from a supervisor detailing performance.

Holistic assessment with other units relevant to the industry sector, workplace and job role is recommended, for example:

  • SISOOPS303A Interpret weather for marine environments.
  • SISOOPS204A Use and maintain a temporary overnight site
  • SISOKYS406A Plan and navigate a sea kayaking inshore passage
  • SISOKYS302A Demonstrate sea kayaking skills

Range Statement

The range statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Bold italicised wording, if used in the performance criteria, is detailed below. Essential operating conditions that may be present with training and assessment (depending on the work situation, needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts) may also be included.

Food and water requirements  may include:

  • menu planning and preparation
  • range of foods.

Principles of nutrition  may include:

  • food groups
  • dietary guidelines
  • individual food requirements and allergies.

Contextual issues  may include:

  • weather conditions, including times
  • season
  • transport
  • location
  • trip distance and duration
  • group objectives
  • group size.

Relevant legislation  may include:

  • occupational health and safety
  • permits or permission for access
  • environmental regulations
  • marine regulations.

Organisational policies and procedures  may include:

  • occupational health and safety
  • use and maintenance of equipment
  • communication protocols
  • emergency and safety procedures
  • minimal impact codes
  • camp fire regulations
  • code of ethics.

Relevant sources  may include:

  • Bureau of Meteorology
  • media
  • land managers or agencies
  • coastal patrol or coastguard
  • volunteer marine rescue
  • local knowledge.

Weather and environmental information  may include:

  • satellite images
  • daily and weekly forecasts
  • maximum and minimum temperatures
  • weather warnings
  • event warnings
  • river levels
  • synoptic charts
  • high and low tide predictions.

Hazards  may include:

  • temperature extremes
  • slippery or unstable terrain
  • dangerous animals and insects
  • stinging trees and nettles
  • dense vegetation
  • group management hazards
  • slippery or unstable shore
  • poor posture, poor technique
  • poor carrying techniques
  • loose or insecure craft when being transported.
  • other craft.

Contingency plan  may include:

  • alternate routes
  • exit points
  • spare equipment in case of delay, loss, illness, injury or damage.

Risks  may include:

  • hypothermia
  • heat exhaustion
  • injuries
  • exhaustion
  • lost party or party member
  • equipment failure.

Equipment  may include:

  • personal flotation device
  • paddle with leash
  • spray deck
  • wet suit or wet weather gear
  • ropes
  • tie down straps
  • safety and first aid equipment
  • pumps
  • sponges
  • paddle float.

Safety and rescue equipment  include:

  • tow lines
  • pumps or bailers
  • paddle float
  • sponge
  • communication equipment:
  • flares
  • radios
  • waterproofed mobile phones
  • V sheets
  • Emergency positioning indicating radio beacon - EPIRB

Embark and disembark  may include:

  • off beaches
  • jetties and pontoons
  • in tidal current
  • in small surf.

Strokes  may include:

  • forward and reverse
  • J
  • sweep
  • draw
  • support

Paddling techniques  may include:

  • use of trunk rotation
  • correct posture
  • use of leg drive
  • hand placement on paddle
  • blade placement in water
  • blade depth in water
  • paddle blade angle throughout stroke
  • paddle entry and exit points
  • movement of top hand through the stroke
  • lean or edge of the craft
  • smooth transfer between different strokes
  • edging or leaning.

Moderate to difficult sea conditions  may include:

  • areas of exposed coastline with currents, difficult landings, or open crossings
  • open crossings with wind speeds of 17-21 knots
  • wave heights of at least 1.0metre
  • surf up to 2.0metres
  • distances beyond 4 nautical miles from the nearest shore.

Navigation techniques  may include:

  • using a sea chart
  • reading charts on open water
  • calculating times and distances for the legs of a sea kayaking trip allowing for sea conditions
  • taking navigational fixes from known landmarks using a chart and compass
  • understanding of transits and distances off
  • following a bearing, and allowing for sea conditions.

Roll techniques  may include:

  • sweep
  • brace
  • C to C
  • Pawlatta or extended paddle

Deep water rescue procedures  may include:

  • capsize and rescues, as rescuer and rescuee
  • towing a rescuee with and without support
  • being towed as a rescuee
  • rolling
  • paddle float rescue.

Relevant aspects  may include:

  • objectives
  • planning process
  • activity site
  • weather
  • equipment selection
  • clothing selection
  • food selection
  • instructional content
  • instructional technique
  • directing techniques
  • rescue techniques employed.

Unit Sector(s)

Outdoor Recreation

Competency Field

Sea Kayaking

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