group of kayakers on the sea with snowy mountains in background

Environment Modules

ISKGA Environmental Modules have been designed to increase a guide’s experience and knowledge in a variety of different environments.

At present these modules include Paddling in Ice, Hostile Environments, working with the environment and Winter Skills and survival .

These are stand alone courses and are not part of the core guide programme. It is recommended that before an ISKGA guide leads commercial groups in any of the below environments a guide seeks to gain knowledge and experience of that environment. We recommend a guide contacts the specified Module Provider to book onto a course with them or for technical advice in these areas.

Winter Paddling and Survival Skills
Minimum Duration 
5 Days

A 5 day course to develop an understanding and application of the skills required to safely and successfully lead and manage a sea kayaking group in a winter environment including paddling through ice, winter survival skills and incident management. This course is specifically aimed at sea kayakers and guides who plan to lead groups in a winter environment and as part of their Continuing Professional Development. It is designed to complement instructing and guiding qualifications and is delivered in a way that is fun and memorable with minimal use of scientific terms and jargon.

Day 1 Managing the winter environment and paddling in Ice

Day 2 Self and Group rescue techniques in ice and leadership scenarios

Day 3 Winter Survival Skills

Day 4/5 Winter Survival Skills

Course Outline

Consideration of the winter environment

Theory based session including:

  1. Weather & Tide forecasting, application and planning for paddling.
  2. Implications of the winter environment upon eqpt and additional eqpt/adaptations  required.
  3. Ice formation and implications for safe travel on and through ice.
  4. Cold weather injuries including Hypothermia/Frost bite and Nip/Immersion Shock.

Practical Paddling in Ice/Snow

Practical session including:

  1. Application of winter equipment.
  2. Getting to know Ice (sliding/digging/drilling and cutting) to understand its properties.
  3. Safe movement over Ice in and out of kayak.
  4. Leadership principles over ice.
  5. Access/Egress over ice.
  6. Leadership Techs in Ice choked bays.

Self Rescue and Group rescue techniques

Practical Session including:

  1. Specific ‘Kayak Eqpt’ rescue techniques on ice.
  2. Self rescue techniques on ice.
  3. Group rescue Techniques on ice.
  4. Leadership Scenarios.

Winter Survival Principles

Theory based session including:

  1. Basic Survival Principles adapted to winter environment.
  2. Review/introduction of basic safety principles for cutting tool safety/fire lighting/management in a winter environment.

Winter Survival Exercise

Practical session including:

  1. Shelter Building.
  2. Fire starting/management for cooking/heating.
  3. Water production.
  4. Foraging.
  5. Ice Fishing.
  6. Emergency Signaling.
  7. Extraction including building Snowshoes/use of bushcraft resources.
  8. Overnight experience using ‘Sea Kayak Grab bag/contents of BA’.

Courses will be administered by ‘Sweden Outdoors Coaching’.  Planned courses will be run in Sweden, however, there is potential to run the course in a location of your choice if numbers permit.

Working with the Environment
Minimum Duration 
1 Day

A Professional Course for Outdoor Instructors and Guides on marine and coastal life

Course Authored and presented by: DR Lou Luddington

Module Aims:

The aim of this course is to provide ISKGA Guides with essential knowledge about some of the marine and coastal life that thrives in the British coastal environment in which they work. Developing an awareness of the diversity of marine life that thrives along the coasts as well as any codes of conduct in place to protect it, will enhance the quality of trips and expeditions that they may run and encourage an appreciation of the marine environment in general.

This course is specifically aimed at sea kayakers and guides in the UK as part of their Continuing Professional Development. It is designed to complement instructing and guiding qualifications and is delivered in a way that is fun and memorable with minimal use of scientific terms and jargon.


  • The coastal environment
  • Physical conditions and tides
  • Zonation, what is it and what causes it?
  • Local codes of conduct, conservation areas and designations protecting habitats and wildlife
  • Marine Life
  • Ecology and life cycles of key animals and plants commonly seen whilst sea kayaking:
  • Sea birds, marine mammals, sharks = the Megafauna!
  • Jellyfish and their allies
  • Life between the tides- from lichens and barnacles to seaweeds and grazing snails, we will take a look at the strategies used to thrive in the zone where land and sea collide
  • Identification skills
  • The use of simple biological keys to identify some common seaweeds will focus attention on the finer details of intertidal life
  • Encouraging mindfulness
  • By taking time to be quiet and mindful of the surrounding environment we can build a sense of awe and appreciation for the natural world
  • A short exercise of scene setting in the intertidal zone where we imagine what life is like for life that thrives there during the extremes of seasonal weather conditions
  • Tips for incorporating some coastal ecology in to sessions
  • ‘Drip feed’ of information through out
  • Focused sessions within the session
  • Creating your own top 5 or 10 facts to share


By the end of the course students will:

  • Know about codes of conduct, conservation areas and designations protecting local habitats and species
  • Have gained an overview of life in the marine and coastal environment relevant to their activity
  • Have detailed knowledge of a ‘top 10’ fact about marine and coastal life
  • Have begun to draw up their own ‘top 5 or 10’ facts
  • Be able to use a simple biological key to identify some common seaweed’s in order to focus their attention on features that may help them to remember names and facts, for example the serrated edge of serrated wrack.
  • Know what zonation is and why it occurs and be able to tell the state of tide from the water level relative to the key zones
  • Be able to use a short mindfulness exercise as a way of connecting their group/clients with their natural surroundings
  • Have a plan of action to incorporate their new knowledge in to regular sessions
  • Scheme of work/structure
  • 1 or 2 day course involving short classroom sessions and longer practical sessions whilst sea kayaking

Delivery methods

The course will follow a workshop style of delivery, combining short classroom sessions to introduce the topic followed by practical sessions sea kayaking.

Learning approaches

By using a combination of talks and classroom sessions to introduce topics and facts, followed by practical sessions to reiterate and build on this information and finally a fun pub-style quiz to finish, a variety of learning styles are catered for on the course.


Slide show of top 10 facts about marine and coastal life, outdoor learning flash cards, pub-style photo quiz to finish course

Administration & operation

Courses will be administered by Luddington Marine and operated at venues convenient to course participants where there are classroom facilities close to relevant activity venues.


Courses will be run by Dr Lou Luddington, a marine biologist and outdoor practitioner with 10 years’ experience delivering talks and workshops to fellow outdoor practitioners on marine life through the Pembrokeshire Outdoor Charter Group  and ISKGA Centers around the UK