Course for beginners

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The Course for Beginners takes place over four consecutive Tuesday evenings, starting on the first Tuesday of each month.


  • We meet each Tuesday night at 6.30 pm at Shadwell Basin.
    • We normally gather outside the Club Office. This is marked "A" on the site plan.
    • Please sign the list before you get changed.
    • The first week does start with more discussion, but otherwise we should be ready to get on the water by 7pm.
  • We plan to be off the water around 8.30 pm so that people have time to shower and still get to the pub in time to order food.
    • The last week ends with a discussion in the pub, so you will be later getting home.


The course fee varies seasonally and is payable on booking.

  • The fee is not refundable and no credits will be given for missed sessions.
  • For dates, availability and pricing, see the online booking page.

Course Content

The course is based around the syllabus for the BCU One Star (copies will be available) but we will also cover some theory and aim for a game or two.

The overall plan is something like this:

Week 1 General introduction to the club, the kit and getting your kayak to go where you want it to go.

We end the evening with a capsize drill, so be prepared to get completely wet.

Week 2 An overview of different types of canoes and kayaks, with the chance to try as many different types as we can fit into the evening.

You should be able to try a sea kayak, an open canoe, a play boat and white water kayak.

Week 3 A bit of discussion about theory and back into the kayaks for more detailed instruction on getting these things to do what you want them to do.
Week 4 One of our senior coaches will assess the whole group - taking everyone through everything covered in the previous three weeks (including another capsize drill).

After the paddling session, the group meets again in the pub for a short session to cover the theory aspects of the syllabus.

Successful completion of this assessment should lead to you being awarded your BCU One Star award.


We do provide the boats, the paddles, buoyancy aids and a lightweight cagoule (mainly to keep out the wind and splashes - not to keep you dry).

We do not provide wetsuits, shoes or wetsuit boots.

Please read about what you should bring on your first visit and feel free to ask any questions.

After the course

We hope you will enjoy the course and want to do more. There is more information on what to do next.