Keel Haulers Canoe Club

Self Rating System

Click this for Automatic scoring system By Peter Staehling, Try this first it's cool!

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 member of the club 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 club trips.

Total your score 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 canoe team is the average of the two paddler's ratings. Then compare your rating to the approximate river rating chart . 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.


0 Points

1 Point

2 Points

3 Points


Cannot swim

Weak swimmer

Average swimmer

Strong Swimmer


Run slower than 10 Minute mile

Run mile in 7-10 minutes

Run mile faster 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

Total Points :







0 Points

1 Point

2 Points 

3 Points

Open Boat

Open Canoe

Canoe with painters & bailer

Keel-less, thigh straps, extra floatation


Decked Boat

No spray skirt or foot brace

Fully equipped but no floatation

Fully outfitted, short boat with easy to exit cockpit

Fully outfitted, creek boat with walls

Total Points :







0 Points

1 Point

2 Points 

3 Points

In Rated Boat

Basic Paddling skills

One year of Whitewater, Paddled 10 days/yr Class II 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 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 and 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 hydraulic and brace in Class II

Can surf large hydraulic and brace in Class III with small drops

Can surf without 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 I

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


Total Points :





Physical: Equipment: Experience

Total Points: :





Total points for each category & compare your total with River Rating System. River Ratings

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