Common Questions

Membership   :     Star Tests   :    Canoe Safety Test   :   Coach update/Revalidation


Who can join the WCA?

Anyone who lives in Wales can register as a member of WCA?  If you live in England you should contact BCU, Adbolton Lane, West Bridgford, Nottingham NG2 5AS.  Tel: 01159 821100.  website: email: 

How can I join WCA?

You can send for a membership form, you can pay by credit or debit card over the 'phone, or you can send a cheque for the appropriate amount giving your name, address, 'phone number and email address to the WCA office.

Can I register my family as a group?

WCA does not offer a group membership for families.  However if one adult is registered as an individual member, then his / her partner and / or children can register as  individual 'family' members at a reduced rate per person.

How much does it cost?

Current membership fees are shown below.  If you intend to take coaching qualifications or to compete, then you must have one of the 'Comprehensive' memberships.  If you are a recreational padder, then you can join as a 'Basic' member.






Youth (under 18)



Family (per person)



Introductory Youth membership


What is Introductory Youth membership?

Under-18s who are registering with WCA for the first time, can take advantage of a reduced membership fee of £6.00.  At the end of their first year, if they wish to renew, they must register under one of the other categories.


What are the current star test fees?

  • For 1 and 2 star test, the fee is £3.00.

  • For 3, 4 and 5 star tests, the fee is £6.00 for members of WCA / BCU / SCA / CANI and £12.00 for non-members.  

Where can I find the star test syllabus?

The syllabus can be found on  BCU website:  It is in the Coaching section under Personal Performance awards.


What is the current canoe safety test fee?

£6.00 for members of WCA / BCU / SCA / CANI and £12.00 for non-members


What is update and revalidation?      :      Who needs to update?

How do I up date?      :      What happens if I donít update?

What is update and revalidation?

The world is changingÖ..if you have any practical qualifications, no matter what theyíre in, Be it plumbing, welding, medicine, coaching, knitting (not sure about this last one!), you will at some point need to revalidate them.  In order to revalidate your awards you will need to show that you are up to date with current best practice. This is known as ďupdatingĒ.  In many areas this has to be done annually, in others every two years, but within paddlesport coaching itís every three years.

Who needs to update?

Everybody with a coaching qualification from Level 1 to Level 5 needs to show that they have updated their knowledge to current best practice every three years.

How do I up date?

There are lots and lots of ways. Let me try to explain a few:

  1. Train for a new coaching qualification at the same level but in a different discipline. As the provider of any training has to be fully conversant with current best practice they can update you as part of a training course.
  1. Be assessed for a new coaching qualification at the same level but in a different discipline. An assessor will be looking for current best practice so if you pass youíve shown that youíre up to date; if you donít pass the assessor will be able to tell you where you fell short and thus they can update you.
  1. Be trained or assessed for a coaching award thatís at a higher level than your current award. Updates you in the same way as 1+2.
  1. Be trained or assessed for a WCA 5 star award. As the 5 star syllabus covers leadership, and safety this will update you coaching awards.
  1. Attend a WCA update event. These are held within the threes WCA regions Ė North, South-East and South-West and are organised by your Regional Coaching Organiser.

If you attend any course that fits in to the description above you will be revalidated automatically on the WCA computer.  This happens when the course provider submits the paperwork and Pat updates our records.  Your new date for revalidation will be shown on your membership card when you renew membership.

But these are not the only ways to revalidate!

 It is also possible to show that you have updated your knowledge and thus want to have your qualifications revalidated by means of a SELF ASSESSMENT FORM. This form is available from the WCA office or you can download it from the BCU website. (

On this form you have to show (with evidence) that you have updated in 3 key areas. These 3 key areas are:

  • Coaching
  • Water Safety
  • The Background to Coaching Ė Health and safety, child protection, risk assessment etc

 How might you provide this evidence?

  • Coaching Ė If you have attended any workshop or series of workshops, a training course or similar event thatís focus was coaching or an aspect of coaching e.g. assessing, observation skills, use of video, nutrition, stretching and warming up etc This may even have been as part of a larger qualification such as an A level, HND or Degree.  As coaching is generic these workshops do not have to be paddlesport related but they can be.
  • Water Safety Ė In this area you need to show that you have undergone further PRACTICAL training in water safety.  As a level 2 you might choose to retake your Canoe Safety Test or attend a Palm River Safety Initiative event. Above Level 2 you might attend a White Water Safety and Rescue course, or an SRT course.  You might do a Bronze medallion, Beach Lifeguard award, in-house training in the use of a swimming pool, attend a sea symposium workshop that looks at rescue in over-falls etc.  As long as the workshop shares current best practice with regard to an aspect of water safety it does not even have to relate directly to your coaching discipline!
  • The Background to coaching Ė This area is not as difficult as you might at first think.  Does your club review its risk assessments?  If you were involved then that will do.  Have you attended a HSE meeting at work that looked at safe lifting and carrying?  Again this is all relevant.  Do you attend your local Coaching Panel meetings because this is where the elements in the background and developments in the pipeline are discussed?  Other areas that you might cover outside of canoeing but are directly related Ė child protection, negligence and the law, disability and inclusive strategies; all of these serve as the background to our coaching.

The best way to fill in the self assessment form is not at the end of 3 years but to have one in your logbook and fill it in as and when you fulfil the requirements.  When itís full send it in and start again.  This way updating is a continuous on-going activity, not a hoop to jump through every 3 years.

 What happens if I donít update?

First of all let's clear up any worries - if you donít update, you do remain insured and you donít lose your coaching awards.  However, you wonít be able to do any work for the WCA/BCU, ie assess for star tests, or other awards if you have assessor grades. Your sessions may not be as good as they could be and your paddlers may be being hindered by being trained using outdated techniques.  Finally you may also find it hard to defend yourself against any charge of negligence if you canít show that your coaching was and is current best practice.

I hope this has answered all of your questions, if not give me a bell or drop me a line Iím here to help! 

Nigel Midgley
0797 1783080


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