01690 720214

Sea Kayak Leader Enhanced Training

Course Overview

We have designed this five day programme to provide and exceed the training requirements for this award. The course will cover the paddling, leadership and safety skills necessary to prepare you for your four star leader assessment and you will receive a personalised action plan, designed to guide you towards a successful assessment. This course includes the Coastal Navigation Module.

* This course was previously known as 'BCU 4 Star Leaders Award Preparation - Sea Kayak

Experience Required

Three Star skills.

Scheduled Dates

blackBlack = Open for booking

blackGreen = Guaranteed to run (additional places are limited please email us at )

blackRed = Course fully booked


Sorry. We have no dates currently available for this course

Detailed Course Notes

You should be 18 years old to attend this course.


You need to an experienced paddler with 3 star sea kayak skills. Please bring proof with you if you have the 3 star award (or old style 4 star) or proof of BCU approved APL. If you have logbook and would like it signed then please bring it with you.

The syllabus can be downloaded here

Course Content

We will be using local coastal venues, although some travelling maybe necessary to make use of the weather and sea conditions. We may also make use of our purpose built, heated training pool. The course will cover:

Personal Paddling Skills

  • Lifting, carrying and launching/landing

  • Efficient and effective sea paddling skills

  • Forward paddling

  • Forward paddling

  • Reversing and stopping

  • Maintaining direction

  • Changing direction

  • Moving sideways

  • Support strokes

  • Rolling

  • Practical navigation

Rescue Skills, Safety, Leadership and Group Management

  • Boat and shore based safety and rescue skills

  • Incident management and first aid in the 4 star environment

  • Being an effective team leader and team member in rescues/incidents

  • Application of leadership

  • Leadership strategies, judgement and decision making

  • Safety awareness and risk management

  • Group control and management

  • Equipment


  • Equipment

  • Safety (includes coastguard and rescue services)

  • Weather

  • Hypothermia/first aid

  • Access

  • Planning

  • Group awareness and management

  • Navigation

  • Etiquette (include collision regulations and signals)

  • General (and historical)

  • Leadership responsibilities

  • Water features/hazards

This course includes the Coastal Navigation Module.

There will be a small BCU fee payable on completion of this course. please bring a cheque book as we are required to send fee's direct to the BCU and they are unable to accept cash or cards.

Useful Books

The following books may be of interest to you before or after you come on the course.
  • Coaching Handbook - BCU Publication
  • Sea Kayak Navigation - by Franco Ferrero, Pesda
  • Sea Kayaking - by John Dowd, Douglas & McIntrye; Cordee
  • Sea Kayaking - by Nigel Foster, Fernhurst

What's Included In The Price?

Whether you choose to stay with us or you have alternative accommodation nearby, the following items are included in the total cost.

    Free tea, coffee or selected hot drinks for the duration of your visit
    Afternoon tea & homemade cakes
    Kayak or canoe hire
    Secure boat storage (if you choose to bring your own boat)
    Equipment hire
    Free (low-speed) wifi access in the bar & dining room
    In course transport
    Railway station pick up & drop off (please call to arrange)
    Parking with CCTV surveillance
    Free use of climbing wall, gym, MTB skills course & rolling pool

    If you choose to stay with us, these items are also included in the total cost:

    Accommodation the night before your course
    Accommodation during your course
    Breakfast & evening meal
    Bar Lunch/packed lunch

Accommodation For This Course

Plas y Brenin Main House

Your course is based at Plas y Brenin, The National Mountain Sports Centre in Capel Curig, North Wales, LL24 0ET.

If you are staying with us,

If you have chosen to add accommodation onto this course or holiday it is usually in the main house in a comfy en-suite room (normally shared with another guest). Each room has tea and coffee making facilities and all bed linen and towels are provided.

This includes accommodation the night before your first day. Your room will be available from 6pm. On your last day you will need to vacate your room by 10am. It is sometimes possible to arrange to stay an extra night please phone 01690 720214 for availability and cost.

Secure storage facilities, showers and toilets are available for you to use on your departure day once you have checked out of your room should you need them, please ask at reception.

Also included, if you chosen to add accommodation, are all your meals - breakfast, packed lunch, afternoon tea and freshly baked cakes and a three course evening meal. Please bear in mind an evening meal is not provided on the night before your course or on the last day of your course but our bar will be serving meals from 7.00pm until 8.45pm.

If you are are not staying with us but coming in each day,

If you choose to come in daily for your course or holiday you will need to arrive ready for a 9am welcome talk on the first day. For the rest of your course or holiday you will need to be here for 9.15am. We return from a full day of activity, usually in time for tea and cakes at 5pm (included).

There are more activities from 5.30 - 6.30 on some days of your course or holiday, please check on the first day.

For most of our awards and qualification courses there will be further evening sessions on some days which you need to attend, please check on the first day.

There is an 8pm adventure talk by one of our coaches on Saturday, Monday and Wednesday evenings which you are welcome to come to. Find out more about the upcoming talks here.

On the final day you will be finished by 5pm.

For courses based on-site our bar will be serving lunches from 12pm until 2pm or you are welcome to bring a packed lunch.

If your course is based away from the centre then you will need to bring a packed lunch with you. Each evening our bar serves evening meals from 7pm until 8.45pm if you wish to eat here.

You can arrange to have any of the following meals - breakfast, packed lunch and a three course centre dinner, by contacting our customer services team on 01690 720214 or

follow this link for more details

What Equipment Do You Need To Bring?

  • Personal paddling equipment

  • Footwear to cope with bank and boat

  • Swimming costume/trunks

  • Warm clothes for off the water

  • Warm hat, gloves, neck gaiter/buff, sun hat

  • Towel

  • Waterproof jacket and trousers

  • Bouyancy aid

  • Helmet

  • Drinks bottle

  • Flask

  • Lunch bag/box

  • Personal first aid kit

  • High factor sunscreen

  • Midge repellant

  • Large kit bag (for wet paddling kit)

  • Notebook and pen

  • BCU logbook/paperwork

  • Dry bag

  • Boat

  • Paddle

  • Spraydeck (if kayaking)

  • Safety and rescue kit (you would normally carry)

  • Cheque book for any BCU fees due

The following items are available for you to borrow from our equipment stores free of charge so you don't need to rush out and buy them.

  • Wetsuit

  • Paddling cag

  • Buoyancy aid

  • Helmet

  • Dry bag

  • Large kit bag (for wet paddling kit)

  • Boat

  • Paddle

  • Spraydeck (if kayaking)

  • All safety and rescue kit

For safety and rescue courses only a dry suit will be provided if required

Customer Reviews For This Course

Three Star Course? I'm giving it 5 stars!

David White

This was my second course at PyB - I did the Intro-mediate Course last year (see my review). If you've never stayed at PyB before, here are three things that stick in my memory: (1) All the people who work there - and I mean ALL the people - are friendly, helpful and supportive (it must be a great place to work!); (2) you can borrow just about any piece of equipment you might need (and learn how to use it); and (3) everybody looks forward to the food (you'll be hungry and it's really good). Our coaches for the course were Sid (2 days) and James (3 days plus the assessment). They are both top guys - not just good paddlers, they really understand how to help people learn. Two big things for me were Sid spending time getting us to understand the boat and how to work with it; and James pushing me to use my skills in progressively more challenging situations. I never thought I'd have the courage to commit to a cross-deck-bow-rudder for example; and I came out of one zawn with a big grin on my face after avoiding being trashed in the back by a big set of waves - thanks James! I think the BCU 3 Star Course at PyB is a great package. It's excellent value for money. You'll want to go back for more! A bit of advice: read the syllabus before you come. It's worth knowing what you'll be assessed on so you can identify where you are weaker. You have to demonstrate a successful roll for the assessment - you'll get coaching of course - but you might not be able to learn it from scratch. I'm going to be back for another course next year - perhaps that says it all!

Great course for any white water beginner to intermediate

Heather Rosser

I have been paddling on and off for quite a few years now but never pushed myself beyond grade 3 because of my weak rolling ability. Although my roll is not perfect now, it's a lot better and this course has given me the confidence and knowledge to keep working on it and in future push my overall paddling further. On this course we weren't paddling difficult rivers so allowed the coaches and me to strip my paddling back to the basics and others in the group to build confidence on moving water. I saw some bad habits start to slip away and hope to continue with this. The best thing about the course was the coaches (Andy and Chris). Not only did they help me improve my kayaking but also gave us advise as coach's. They were flexible and adaptable to the group and individual needs. They got the vibe of the group right and then set their coaching styles. They aimed to improve us as paddlers and coaches, not just to gain our 3 star and they succeeded.

Amazing time at PYB!

Charles Philpot

Can't really fault anything to do with the course. Everyday was well structured, we we told of what we would be doing in advance, comfortably got through the material and passed the whole course in 4 days, leaving us with 1 day of pure white water kayaking and I managed to squeeze in a bit of playboating :)
Instructors were amazing, knowledgeable and helpful. Staff at the centre were really good as well and the facilities and bar were excellent.

I did pick up that the centre is trying to be more environmentally conscious and I have a couple of recommendations - make the menu less focussed on meat and dairy products and more focussed on plant foods, but also instead of wrapping sandwiches in cling film possibly encourage people to bring tupperware or their own sandwich bags to cut down on waste.

I will definitely be returning!

Charles :)

Brilliant week of paddling!

Anne-Fleur van Diem

Loved this week of paddling to gain my 2 star. I had done a bit of paddling beforehand and didnt quite know what to expect. We had two incredibly knowledgeable instructors with around 50-60 years of experience between them which showed in the way they managed to bring us all up to 2 star standard in a matter of days which we could then work on during our the remaining 2 days of training. PYB really doesnt disappoint in location, food (its famous for it) and accommodation but the real value for money is the fantastic tuition by their very skilled and experienced instructors. Wouldnt go anywhere else and in fact, I am already planning my next course!

What a fantastic week!

Nicole Stewart

My first ever stay at PyB despite driving past it for the last 30 years. Olly and Adam were great. I was in Olly's group out on the water and he was just a pleasure to be around, taught me loads, was very good fun and made the week.

Our room was ideal. Clean, quiet. No concerns there.

The food was amazing value for money but variable. For example on the first night the choice of carbs was either chips or dry bread rolls. Not great. Other nights were better. Portion size was a bit hit and miss depending on who was serving you. And when you've been active all day, that's very important.

Breakfast was good, likewise the packed lunches.

I would recommend PyB to anyone. All the staff were utterly delightful and made you feel very welcome. The hire kit was great and plentiful - no complaints there at all.

Thanks for a brilliant week everyone, especially Olly.


BCU 3*

Paul Stewart

I've been driving past Plas Y Brenin for nearly 30 years but never been on a course there. Now realise what I've missed. The centre was a brilliant base for days out on the water and the kit was first rate. But what really made the experience exceptional was the instruction. Relaxed, fun, challenging and rewarding all at the same time. What more can I say. "Thanks"

Amazingly fun


Really enjoyed the week, highlight of my year

This course is really amazing and very well led and instructed !!!

Christopher James prior

I have to say this was a really good course that well well set out from start to finish chris our instructor was very kind considerate and well knowledges in paddling . I attended a white water sea and surf course her nearly 12 years ago whic he led and it was just amazing !! The standard of leadership and instructional shill had exceeded my expectations of the course and help up the good name pyb has for its courses. Chris is an inspiration to us all and should be commended for his efforts ! His ability to break it down and cater for everyone's needs and different styles of leaning especially a dyslexic like my self , makes him as great a coach as he is ! I will be attending more paddling courses in the future especially if chris is leading it !! Thanks plas y brenin for yet another great course and fun week. Hope to see you soon in October/November for level 2 coach training .

Yours sincerely

Christopher James Prior

Outstanding course

Nick Hinchliffe

As a self taught kayaker many years ago I had very little idea what I was really doing. This course was a tough week that gave me the skills to build on in both kayak and canoe and to understand why I was doing things. The instruction was always challenging yet supportive allowing the group to progress at different levels. The highlight was seeing a porpoise whilst canoeing in the Menai straits.
If you are not sure, just book this course, you will have a blast and come away with a whole new world to explore !

Superb Experience

Graham Smith

Before I write my review, I think it relevant to mention that I have spent a significant amount of my employed life working in the adventure travel industry as an expedition leader.
The centre: PYB is in a stunning location, with all amenities on site and of a high standard. I liked all of the photographs about the place. The meals were great and there was always more than enough food. The room was neat and tidy.
The Coaches: Dave Luke led us for 2 days - He was charming, charismatic and showed his lifetime of experience. He explained things in a straight forward way, which made it easy to understand the subtle improvements he was looking for.
Chris Evans led us for the final 3 days - Once again his experience, and his own natural fluid paddling style were used to demonstrate how we could make things easier for ourselves.
I would rate both coaches as exceptional.
Other staff: All of the staff who produced the meals, served beer, and ensured we had a good time were polite, happy, and very helpful. I would like to highlight one person - Josie the Irish lass. She was exceptional - Always smiling, happy to serve behind the bar, happy to help me do some rolling in the pool in the evening, and happy to help other staff when they were busy.
Overall Impression: I was sad to leave, and I am already trying to find a way to get back to PYB as soon as possible.

Brilliant Course


Thought this course/Module was very well structured and delivered. It was fun and the Instructors kept us totally engaged at all times. Totally recommend it to anyone thinking of furthering their coaching skills.

Great Course & Great Food


Have just completed this course in Nov '13. Had a really good time. Our coach, Adam Harmer was really good, he was patient and very insightful and obviously very skilled. The food as usual was fantastic and the newly refurbished rooms are very nice.

Excellent instruction at a great place

Emily Seccombe

The instructor on our course was amazing and the group was relaxed and friendly. The food at Plas y Brenin was great - especially the afternoon cakes everyday. One of the advantages of this course over other places is that we had lots of access to the pool for practicing rolling, as well as the on site flat water. The equipment was also all very good. In the evenings there was a couple of talks, an open mic evening and we had a throw bag session one night so we had activities to do all the time. All the staff at the centre were very helpful and the catering staff were especially friendly. I would definitely recommend this course to other people looking to do their BCU 3 star white water kayak qualification as the instruction was of the highest standard and that's what really matters.

What's not to like!

Simon Ford

My first PYB course. Impressive facilities, friendly staff, knowledgeable instructors, fantastic weather, a UK wimbledon champion. What's not to like.
The first day was all classroom based with Sid, with a good mix of listening and doing exercises. The supporting documentation was excellent and it was used to assist the instructor - not the other way round as is often the case.
For the other two days good weather meant we didn't experience particularly challenging conditions, but doing multiple rescues in tide-races was a good and confidence inspiring exercise.
Adam was great at making sure the syllabus was covered as far as was practical given the weather.
All in all it was an enjoyable and valuable few days and I would recommend PYB as an ideal venue.

Instruction, coaching and confidence......

Malcolm Wade

My 5 days at PYB on the 3* Complete Course was extraordinary. With 3 delegates, we were luck to have 3 instructors so there was never a moment of inattention. The training, coaching and instruction from Pete, Andy and Sam was highly effective and inspired confidence to 'have a go'. Technical proficiency was evident but the coaching from all three was superb. They were able to diagnose cause and effect with alarming ease and help ingrain good habits to replace the bad ones.
The syllabus was extensively covered and the ability to practice skills in all environments was ever present.
I was struggling to perform a flat water roll and it was really getting to me. On the final day, Pete spent an hour with me after lunch on the River Dee at Llangollen and coached me with my skills. His ability to see what I was doing right and not so right were confidence building and delivered with consummate professionalism.
On the first day I would never have thought that I would be running the Serpent's Tail on the Friday!
Thank you Pete, Andy and Sam - this was one of the best courses I have ever attended and has inspired me to do more!
A great week - you are all a credit to the Brenin - thanks you.

Not found what you were looking for?

You can hire one of our coaches instructors or guides from only £250 per day. They'll tailor the day to suit your aims and aspirations perfectly.
You can enjoy one to one coaching for that cost or if you get together as a group, depending on the activity, you can split that cost between up to 6 of you. If you are a group we can run any of our courses on a date that suits you and your friends. Or you could just write your own agenda for a week or weekend and we'll price it up for you - with or without accommodation. What's more, just like out normal course fees, our private instructor hire charge covers all your equipment too. Click on the link below to fill in a request form and one of our coaches will call you back (or e-mail if you'd prefer) to discuss things in detail with you.

Fill in a Callback Form

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