Safety & Competency Assessment

Please Note: We are unable to provide safety assessment services to competitors. However a number of local competency assessors are available to provide assessment for a fee. These can be found at the bottom of this page

Safety Competency Assessment Overview

All intending paddle competitors – whether novices or veterans – are required to provide evidence of competency to participate. Competency can be established through the following criteria:

  • Recent Avon Descent experience – completion of at least one full day of the Avon Descent within the previous three years.
  • Evidence of current paddling fitness by competing in events of similar distance within the previous 12 months. These events include The Doctor, Bay to Beach, Northam to Toodyay, Fish Marathon, Liffey Descent. Other events may be considered subject to NADA approval.
  • An Australian Canoeing Award System course completion.
  • D Completion of the Avon Descent Safety Skills Assessment – for participants who cannot provide other evidence (a, b or c) of safety competency. The Avon Descent Safety Skills assessment can be gained through recommended paddle trainers, and is valid for three years.


Some of the skills that may be assessed include:

  • Demonstrate defensive swimming techniques
  • Identify the potential hazards when swimming in moving water
  • Adopt the correct body position to minimise injury following craft capsize
  • Demonstrate aggressive swimming techniques
  • Demonstrate the ability to set a ferry angle in order to reach the bank or eddy
  • Demonstrate breaking in and out of eddies in order to get to shore
  • Identify and demonstrate techniques to actively free oneself from river hazards in simulations
  • Demonstrate the ability to wade across a current of mid-thigh depth, alone and using support, in order to self-rescue
  • Demonstrate craft re-entry
  • Identify a variety of different re-entry techniques
  • Elect a method of re-entry after consideration of physical ability, type of craft and situational variances.

Please Note: This is not an exhaustive list. Complete assessment and determination of competency is the responsibility of your chosen assessor.

Safety Competency Assessors



Epic Adventure Training: Phone: 0407 474 659; Email:; Website:


Perth Canoe Works: Unit 1/ 9 Carr Place, Myaree; Phone: (08) 9317 6663; Email:; Website:


Western Paddlesports :Phone: 0411 885 052 Email:; Website:


Kayaks4U: Lot 25 Leighton Place, Halls Head; Phone: 0419 885 710; Website:


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Avon Descent Support Unit Training

The Avon Descent offers a wide range of volunteering opportunities from rescue and recovery to administration, event management, marketing and graphics design and we are always seeking new talent to help us in delivering an amazing event.

If you are interested in volunteering please visit our Get Involved page today to find out more.