ICU Training Centre - Introductoy Courses FAQ's

Do I need to be a very good swimmer?
Not particularly. All you really need is to be confident in the water. You will never have to swim very long distances and the buoyancy aid helps you float.

What equipment do I need?
Just a pair of swimming togs/shorts, a towel and a pair of old shoes to wear on the water. All technical gear will be provided

Can I bring my own equipment?
You are welcome to bring along any watersport gear you have. If the instructor deems it safe and suitable for the session then you are welcome to use it. However, all appropriate gear will be provided – there is no need to bring anything other than the items mentioned above.

Can I wear glasses?
Yes. It is a good idea to attach a string to stop them falling in the water.

Is it dangerous?
There is always a certain level of risk associated with water based activities. Images of elite kayakers on dramatic rapids can make kayaking look very scary! However, this is an introductory course, where everything is highly controlled, with quality equipment and top instructors. Safety is our first priority – and kayaking at this level is no more dangerous than any other recreational sport.

Are the instructors qualified?
Yes. All our instructors undergo an intensive training scheme in coaching, leadership and rescue skills. For more information on this qualifications scheme see here.

How many students to each instructor?
We work on a maximum ratio of 8 students to 1 instructor.

Do I need to be very strong?
No! Canoeing only ever involves moving your own weight around, and the best canoeists are those who use efficient technique rather than raw power.

What happens if the boat capsizes?
You fall out! Capsizing is part of learning to canoe. Getting out of the boat is very straightforward. As you improve you will learn how to use a spraydeck which seals the cockpit and enables you to flick back upright from a capsize. This is called an Eskimo roll. The spray deck has a quick release strap for easy exit.

Is the water clean?
The Liffey at the Strawberry beds is far cleaner than downstream in the city centre. In fact, you barely feel like you are withinin city limits at all. However, paddlers should be aware of certain water borne illnesses that they may contract. In particular, this information on Leptospirosis.

Are there showers?
Yes, the centre is equipped with basic shower facilities and hot water!

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