New 5* syllabus

For all of ye who tread over water:

It is encouraging that to live on sea weed for a forthnigth is not prescribed. Explicitly.

My take follows:

you would think
that they would have caught the typo “BCU 4 star leader sea kayak” on the guidance notes, before releasing them.

Not a typo

– Last Updated: Jan-05-08 4:42 PM EST –

I do not hold it as an error. They just do it to scare me the most.

“old” vs "new"
In reality, there is no change in the actual assessment. The overhaul of the star system (that is currently being implemented in the UK and will begin in North America during '08) recognized that the 5* assessment was adequate; the major change was due to the acknowledgement that the jump from 4* to 5* was too large. The result is to make the 1-4* assessments more meaningful. The “new” 2* is more like the “old” 3*, the new 3* more like the old 4*, and the new 4* is significanly changed to reflect training for leadership in open sea conditions. Again, the 5* content has not really changed.

The prerequisites for taking the 5* have been changed somewhat.



– Last Updated: Jan-05-08 7:01 PM EST –

I agree with Karl's comment. In truth, the change lies in the aim to implement a standard - something that the guidance notes regard obliquely - as of today, still quite a difference lies in the assesor's discretion.
Being already an asking standard, my guess is that the level of skills and judgement expected will only increase. Which of course, is good.


– Last Updated: Jan-06-08 11:54 AM EST –

Haven't checked out the pre-req's for the 5 star, but suspect that any change was similar to that in the 4 star. For the 4 star, the First Aid requirement changed from a general familiarity and competence in first aid skills to a formal course of at least 8 (not sure on the hours) hours including CPR. They doubled the number of trips required and added an overnight cmaping. They also specify the prior trainings a bit more, indicating a two day four star training.

I figure that for those who have already entered the system, if there is a question about whether some of these things have been done in the first year or so of implementation, it can fall to a coach who knows you to judge whether you are good to go. For example we have a number of the trips required just from trainings. But for someone entering the BCU system new as of 2008, it'll probably be absolutely vital to keep a log all the way thru.

The other thing that I noted, at least on the UK site, was that the specificity of the four star assessment activities is a lot higher. One thing that stands out is that it will no longer be possible to assess 4 star without a group of three or four people, because of the requirements of the leadership component. While it was normally regarded as an assessment that had to be done in a group before, the new standards nail that one in. I also noticed a huge level of specificity in some of the rescue scenatrios including being able to reapir a boat on the water. This is more stuff that, while advised in the prior assessment notes, wasn't consistently mandatory.

Whether the ctiteria in he US will be exactly the same remains to be seen, but what I've heard reported out from at least one symposium so far indicates that the governing body in the UK isn't feeling real flexible about that.

I haven't looked over the 3 star changes, but I'd not be surprised if they were similar. They do add some basic navigation in the sea kayaking 3 star, which is new.