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Scottish Canoe Association - quality mark provider

Centres and Providers


There are many Outdoor Centres and activity providers across Scotland. The SCA operates British Canoeing's Quality Mark approval scheme (previously known as Approved Paddlesport Provider or Approved Centre). British Canoeing has responsibility to ensure those participating in the sport know exactly what qualifications; safety procedures and standards of competence are expected from the British Canoeing and from those Providers providing paddlesport activity. Having carried out an approval visit the SCA can recommend such providers. Find an Quality Mark Provider near you using the Club Finder.  

Who should apply?

The Quality Mark approval process is open to both public sector and private sector activity providers / centres.  Providers are generally perceived to work in five main ways including:

  • Activity Holiday Companies -  typically providing one off introductory sessions on very sheltered water
  • Local Education Authority Centres - where the emphasis (but not entire end purpose) being the canoe / kayak as a vehicle for achieving educational personal development.
  • Outdoors Activity Centres  - where the emphasis (but not entire end purpose) being on the introduction of candidates to the skills, techniques and understanding of the sport and its practice, to lead them into competent participation.
  • Specialist Paddlesport Providers - Specialist Paddlesport activity and coaching course providers
  • Paddlesport Hire Companies  - Commercial event companies, leisure companies and sports clubs who offer paddlesport activities on a supervised or unsupervised basis or on a hire of equipment only basis

The reality is that there is invariably overlap, and the implication of this is acknowledged throughout these guidelines



  • Kite Mark of Quality provision for paddlesport
  • Use of British Canoeing and SCA logos - the British Canoeing and SCA logos can be used in promotional material with the words ' British Canoeing Quality Mark Provider'.
  • A dated certificate of scheme membership to display
  • Annual (or biannual) Inspection by an experienced Approval Officer
  • Access to technical advice from the approval officer
  • Free copy of SCA magazine Scottish Paddler. 
  • A listing on the SCA website (20,000 searches on the Quality Mark Provider page per year)
  • Information about Quality Mark Providers included in SCA publications – currently:
    • Scottish Paddler, published quarterly and distributed to 4,500 individuals and organisations
  • Option to host SCA organised courses and events (Quality Mark Providers will be given first option to host or deliver SCA events such as conferences, meetings, training and assessment courses)
  • Quality Mark Provider Representative to provide ongoing communication between SCA Coaching Committee and Quality Mark Providers.
  • Dates of British Canoeing courses listed in Scottish Paddler magazine and courses highlighted in Self Service website. 
  • Flyers inserted free into delegate packs for SCA events (e.g. SCA Coaching Conference and Club Volunteer Weekend)
  • Advice on Child Protection and the Protection of Vulnerable Groups Scheme from the SCA Safeguarding Officer


Length of Approval and Costs

Length of Approval

Quality Mark Approval is normally certificated for a period of 12 months. Following 3 consecutive successful approvals and at the discretion of the home nation governing body, a 24 month approval may be granted.   Additional approval fees are required for 24 month approvals.   The relevant home nation governing body will forward applications to renewing Providers.


The cost of annual approval is currently £320. Eligible providers may opt for a 2 year approval at £430.   VAT is not applicable on these fees. 

How to Apply

New entrants to the scheme can apply at any time. To request an application form, please email SCA Coaching or call 0131 317 7314.

For current Quality Mark Providers application forms for approval will be sent out by the SCA prior to the current certification expiring.

The Senior Person in Charge of canoeing or the Centre Manager must endorse applications.