Self Rating System

The "Keel-Haulers Self-Rating System" presented below is only intended to provide a general guideline for the paddler and should not be considered a substitute for a realistic evaluation of one's own paddling skills. Each person is responsible for his or her own safety and for determining whether he or she has the skills necessary to run any of the rivers in the accompanying "River Classifications" list or to participate in any river trips.

Rate yourself for each category to arrive at your own personal rating. Your score should take into account the type of boat you are paddling and the partner (if any) you are paddling with. The score for a tandem team is the average of the two paddler's ratings. Then compare your rating to the river rating chart which will automatically appear when you press SUBMIT. If your score is more than 3 points lower than the river you are considering, second thoughts should be given to the risks involved to yourself and other members of your group

The Self Test was designed by John Kobak, the automatic scoring Code was written by Pete Staehling

Self Rating Test
Can't swim
Weak swimmer
Average swimmer
Strong swimmer
Runs slower than 10 minute mile
Run mile in 7-10 minutes
Run mile in less than 7 minutes
Upper Body Strength
Cannot do 15 pushups
Can do 15 pushups and 1-5 chinups
Can do 30 pushups and 6-10 chinups
Can do 50 pushups and 15 chinups
Open Boat
Open Canoe
Canoe with painters & bailer
Keel-less, thigh straps, extra floatation or Outfitted Inflatable
Decked Boat
No spray skirt or foot braces
Fully equipped but no flotation
Fully outfitted, short boat with easy to exit cockpit
Fully outfitted, creek boat with walls
Experience in Rated Boat
Basic Paddling skills
One or Two years of Whitewater, Paddled 10 days/yr Class II-III or better
More then Three years of Whitewater, Paddled 25 days/yr Class III/IV
Reading Water
Cannot read water well
Can pick route in Class II rapids
Can lead in Class II and scout best route in Class III
Can confidently lead in Class III and scout best route in Class IV/V
Boat Control
Can control canoe from one side/Kayak in a straight line
Can maneuver in Class II avoiding big obstacles
Can maneuver in Class III, knows how to work with current
Finesses in boat placement on all types of water
Does not play
Timid, plays a little
Plays a lot in Class III water
Plays in Class IV with confidence
Eddy Turns
Some difficulty in Class II
Makes turns in and out of eddies from either side
Makes turns in and out of medium size eddies in Class III
Can catch small eddies in continuous Class III-IV
Cannot ferry
Can ferry upstream & downstream in Class II
Can ferry upstream and downstream in Class III/IV
Never heard of it
Can boof in class III
Can execute critical boofs in Class IV
Hydraulic Playing & Bracing
Some difficulty in Class II
Can play in small hydraulics and brace in Class II
Can surf large hydraulics and brace in Class III with small drops
Can surf without a paddle and brace in Class IV with 4 foot vertical drops
Rescue Ability
Self rescue in flat water
Can rescue self and others in Class II
Can rescue self and others in Class III
Can assist in rescues in Class IV

Rolling Ability
Cannot roll
Can roll in pool and 50% of time in Class II
Can roll 3 out of 4 times in Class III
Can roll 4 out of 5 times in Class IV

Bonus Points - Paddling group
Alone or weaker group
Advanced Group of Paddlers
Expert Group with rescue gear and spare paddles

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