On the weekend (24-26 June), six of us attended the NSWSKC’s AC Sea Guide training weekend held at Currarong, Jervis Bay, NSW. Facilitated by Rob Mercer, we were instructed in all manner of things that AC Sea Guides are meant to be.
Operating at the AC Sea Leader level, I have the luxury of my trip companions being vetted to a very reasonable standard, that of Sea Skills. My trip companions own their own kayaks and gear, have a solid capabilities to execute a large variety of kayaking strokes, can roll in surf and have generally done a number of sea trips and often even expeditions.
If I become an AC Sea Guide however, I will be allowed to take anyone. The most dramatic of which is that I can run paid commercial trips for novices. Gina S explained to us in her evening presentation that the only vetting for paid commercial clients is that they have paid. In all other respects, Gina explained that the clients may well be challenged in areas like fitness, coordination, understanding English and even totally misunderstanding what sea kayaking meant when they signed up for it in their holiday brochure.
I must assume nothing about my paddling companions. Or do so at my peril (and theirs!)
As a Sea Guide taking novices in my paddles, Rob explained that our own abilities need to be that much higher. A great for instance is that novices might need demonstrations of paddling strokes. My instructional ability, even at a basic level, didn’t form a part of the AC Sea Leader qualification but it does for AC Sea Guide.
On water, Rob set us tough challenges set to test our communication and instructional skills and examine our own capabilities to rise to the higher standard of the Guide. Some of these challenges were set in and around rocky structures and it seemed to be almost like a scene from Larry Gray’s Skinning Chickens as we bumped and whacked into rocks and removed layers of gelcoat.
It is now down to each of us to reflect on the gravity of being an AC Sea Guide and, if we so choose to continue with it, practice and get ready for an assessment weekend in September.