The SKGABC upholds high standards of qualification for all of its guide certification levels.  Candidates progress through training and certification exams from Level 1 to AOG, Level 2, Level 3, and may go on to gain additional qualifications including Guide Trainer, Guide Examiner, and Class 4 Waters Endorsement.  
Read more about levels of certification.

Highly qualified individuals with professional kayak guiding certification and experience from an outside agency may apply to the SKGABC Certification Committee for permission to challenge an SKGABC Level 1, AOG, Level 2, or Level 3 exam.  Successful applications to challenge an SKGABC exam from an outside agency are rare, and are only approved for individuals found by the Certification Committee to be "of undisputed competence".  More information on such applications can be found below.

SKGABC exams are challenging -- physically and mentally -- even for experienced, approved outside candidates who have never taken an SKGABC-specific training program.  For those rare outside challenge candidates, reading up on the SKGABC manual and exam preparation documents, attending an SKGABC Exchange to brush up on skills and systems, taking an exam prep course if one is offered, and getting plenty of practice performing rescues and rough water skills are highly recommended for successful completion of the exam.

The SKGABC does not grant automatic certification at any level; we personally examine all of our candidates.  Any certification achieved through these exceptions must be gained through successful completion of an SKGABC exam.

Paddle Canada Instructors

The SKGABC has a mutual agreement with Paddle Canada (PC) for recognition of their Sea Kayak Instructor certification in lieu of completing an SKGABC training course. Paddle Canada Instructors may therefore challenge an appropriate level SKGABC exam simply by providing proof of PC instructor certification, without going through a special application process.

  • Paddle Canada Level One Instructor Certification may be substituted for a SKGABC Level One Guide course
    Level 1 Exam challenge cost: $300 ($250 30-day earlybird rate).
  • Paddle Canada Level Two Instructor Certification may be substituted for a SKGABC Assistant Overnight Guide (AOG) course
    AOG Exam challenge cost: $550 ($500 30-day earlybird rate).

More information on certificate transfers with Paddle Canada

To complete SKGABC Certification as a Paddle Canada Instructor:

  • Complete initial SKGABC Membership Application
  • Submit SKGABC membership fee - $60/annual
  • When your initial membership application is approved, you will receive an email.  Log in and complete your online profile, and upload supporting documentation:
    • Proof of Paddle Canada Level One or Level Two Instructor certification
    • VHF License (Restricted Operator Certificate (Maritime))
    • Current CPR-C
    • Current First Aid Certification
      • For Level 1 Guide: minimum 16 hr First Aid
      • For AOG: minimum 40 hr Wilderness First Aid
  • Once the above process is complete, contact for special registration in a L1 or AOG exam.

Other Sea Kayak Guiding Agency Certifications

Individuals holding another outside agency's certification (e.g. BCU, ACSKG, NZKI) may put together an application to the SKGABC Certification Committee for permission to challenge a L1, AOG, L2 or L3 exam. The Executive Director will be your contact person and support you in your application.

  • Complete initial SKGABC Membership Application, and submit $100 certification committee application fee*
  • Email the Executive Director at with what level exam you would like to challenge, and copies of the following documentation:
    • all outside agency kayaking certifications
    • ROC-M license (VHF radio operator license)
    • Current CPR-C
    • Current First Aid Certification, according to what level exam you wish to challenge:
      • For Level 1 Guide: minimum 16 hr First Aid
      • For AOG & Level 2: minimum 40 hr Wilderness First Aid
      • For Level 3: minimum 80 hr Wilderness First Aid
    • Cover letter and resume outlining your professional and personal kayak guiding experience, and explaining why and how you have all the appropriate experience and training to be able to challenge the exam.
    • Your logbook in SKGABC format, showing commercial guiding experience according to what level exam you wish to challenge (see: certification requirements)
    • 1-2 letters of reference from your supervisors/employers in a kayak guide capacity who support your application.
The Executive Director will start a file for you as you submit all documents.  When your application is complete she or he will pass it on to the Certification Committee, who then has up to three weeks to respond. 
*There is a non-refundable fee of $100 for all certification committee applications from external transfer applicants.  This includes one year's SKGABC membership fees for the applicant, and also supports the admin time that is devoted to processing the application.