Frequently Asked Questions

The program in which you decide to participate will depend most importantly on your comfort level in the water that you may be interested in paddling. The American Whitewater Association ranks water from Class I to Class VI. The WTC program paddles ONLY on Class I, Class II and/or Class III water.

Class I: Flat to gentle moving water with riffles and small waves. There are a few obstructions, all obvious and easily missed with little training. Risk to swimmers is slight; self-rescue is easy.

Class II: Straight forward rapids with wide, clear channels which are evident without getting out of your boat (scouting). Occasional maneuvering may be required, but rocks and medium sized waves are easily missed by trained paddlers. For new paddlers, swimming is expected. Swimmers are seldom injured. Group assistance from experienced paddlers is occasionally needed.

Class III: Rapids with moderate and irregular waves which may be difficult to avoid. Maneuvering in fast current with good boat control in tight passages or around ledges is often required. Large waves, rocks or strainers may be present but are easily avoided. Strong eddy lines and powerful currents are abundant, particularly on large-volume rivers. Scouting is advisable for inexperienced paddlers. Injuries while swimming are rare. Self-rescue is usually easy but group assistance may be required to avoid long swims.

Essentials of River Kayaking is done on flat and Class I water.

River Kayaking is done on flat and Class I/II water.

Whitewater Kayaking is done on Class II/III water.


The basic skills are taught on the first day for both recreational/touring kayaking and whitewater kayaking. The difference is in the type of boat used in the programs and the type of water paddled by these boats.  
The Recreational/ Touring programs (Quick Start your Kayak and Essentials of River Kayaking) are one day instructional courses.   These courses are for flat bottom recreational boats or touring kayaks. The boats are designed to move quickly in a straight line. These boats are for slow moving water where you are not required to maneuver around obstacles quickly. The end goal for the recreational/touring paddler is to feel comfort maneuvering their boat, while enjoying the beautiful environment.
The Whitewater programs (Essential of River Kayaking, River Kayaking and Whitewater Kayaking) are courses taught over 2 days in one weekend. There are three weekends in total if you wish to complete all three courses. The whitewater courses progress from flat > gentle moving water> moving water with rocks.  The courses build on skills learned in the previous course(s). The end goal is for the whitewater paddler to maneuver quickly and easily around obstacles on faster moving whitewater rivers.


No, every one needs basic instruction- strokes, bracing, turning and body mechanics. Essentials of River Kayaking takes place on flat water ( first day) then progresses to faster moving Class I/II river (second day). The first day is required to complete the second day. Both days of training are important so you can build the kayaking skills needed to proceed to the more challenging river of River Kayaking. Once you complete River Kayaking, you can then proceed to learn the skills in the Whitewater Kayaking course to paddle on fast moving whitewater.


No. It is not necessary to take River Kayaking. If Essential of River Kayaking is the only course you complete, you will be able to kayak on slow moving water up to class I/II.  After training, some instructors will paddle with you on class I/II, to develop your skill and comfort level, progressing to the next level.


Once you have completed Essentials of River Kayaking, the instructors will determine if you have the necessary skill levels to continue to the next level, River Kayaking.   If you feel you are comfortable on moving water and the instructors determine you have the skills, then you can participate in River Kayaking!


Just as in the other courses, if you feel comfortable on Class I/II water and the instructors determine you have the skills, you can participate in the Whitewater Kayaking course!


No, River Kayaking requires that you participate and complete Essentials of River Kayaking.


No. It is not necessary to complete all three courses.  
If you complete Essentials of River Kayaking, you can paddle with the club up to Class I water.  
 If you complete both Essentials of River Kayaking and River Kayaking, you can paddle with the club up to Class I/II waters.
If you complete all three courses, you can paddle with the club up to Class I/II/III waters.  
Be realistic about your comfort level and boating ability. Most good paddlers develop their skills gradually so relax and enjoy the experience.


If you have participated in another paddling club’s or outfitter’s program and it is equivalent to a WTC course, then it is up to the discretion of the Wilmington Trail Club Whitewater Training Committee (WTCWTC) to make the decision on what courses you need to complete


 Recreational/Touring/Sea/ program: Boat, paddle and PFD (Personal Floatation Device). Spray skirts may be required depending on water and weather conditions.
Whitewater Program:  Boat, PFD (Personal flotation device), paddle, whitewater kayak helmet (not a bicycle helmet), air bags and spray skirt.


No. Arrangements can be made to rent your equipment. But whitewater boats are rented on a first come/first served basis. Also, to rent a whitewater boat, we will need your height, weight and shoe size so we can match you to the proper boat.


This is fine as long as the equipment meets the proper standards for your particular kayak program.


Call or e-mail one of the following:

Janice Fiore, (856) 467-8932,

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