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The Norwegian Sea Kayak Guide & Instructor Association (NHKGIF)

October 2002 at Klokkergården on Rødøy, Helegland, here, Norway’s most experienced sea kayak guides gathered for a series of meetings to discuss the lack of an educational and certifying system for sea kayak guides in Norway.  These meetings brought forth with clarity the need for an educational and certifying body for sea kayak guides working in Norway; as a result of these meetings on Rødøy, Norway’s Sea Kayak Guide and Instructor Association (NHKGIF) was founded and incorporated later that year.  

Over the past 15 years Norway’s Sea Kayak Guide and Instructor Association (NHKGIF) has been continually developing in pace with the ever-growing popularity of commercial sea kayaking and the increasing demands placed on professional sea kayak guides. 

The Federation of International Sea Kayak Guide & Instructors Association (IFSKGIA), an international association that consists of national sea kayak guide & instructor certifying associations. NHKGIF became a member in 2014.

An IFSKGIA certification is the highest internationally recognized sea kayak guide certification. It holds the highest and toughest standards know for sea kayak guides and are set by the IFSKGIA Qualification and Operating Standards committee; is one of the most important tasks of the IFSKGIA because, all those who paddle with a guide will notice the immense difference from our highly qualified NHKGIF guides to those who have little to no qualifications.

To become an IFSKGIA certified guide requires a serious investment of training, course work, and a long guide apprenticeship but without these strict guidelines very few guides would voluntarily put themselves through adequate and tough enough guide training.

Sea Kayak Guide: A person who assumes responsibility or assists with the responsibility on a commercial sea kayak trip in a marine environment for people who have paid for the trip and expect that a responsible trip leader is a part to the price they paid.  

Sea Kayak Instructor: A person who instructs or educates in all the various elements that fall naturally under the activity of paddling a sea kayak at sea on a lake.

 A commercial sea kayak trip is categorized as: a paddling trip in sea kayaks that is longer than 2 km for the launching point and/or includes one or more consecutive days.

NHKGIF will establish and maintain high standards for safety, courses of actions in commercial sea kayaking as well represent certified professional sea kayak guides.

  1. To develop and maintain the highest standards for commercial sea kayaking in Norway and to certify guides and instructors in accordance to these standards.
  2. To develop and promote the interests of professional sea kayak guides and instructors within private, commercial, and government groups and agencies.
  3. To motivate guides to continue professional development through course work and experience sharing seminars.
  4. To enlighten the general public on the inherent risks involved in sea kayaking.
  5. To dictate and promote safety standards for professional sea kayak guides in Norway.
  6. To establish one standard to which all active sea kayak guides and instructors adhere to when operating within the structure of commercial sea kayaking in Norway.
  7. To Certify guides/Instructors who qualify in accordance with the IFSKGIA certification process; NHKGIF certifying system is developed in accordance with the highest international standards set in sea kayaking and as a member of IFSKGIA the NHKGIF is committed to a certifying system that is the most difficult and respected in international sea kayaking.