Each scout that signs up for the Kayaking Merit Badge Class MUST have previous kayaking experience i.e. kayaking 3 or more times proficiently in a single kayak(not tandem)

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  1. Do the following:
    1. Explain to your counselor the hazards you are most likely to encounter while participating in kayaking activities, including weather and water-related hazards, and what you should do to anticipate, help prevent, mitigate, and respond to these hazards.
    2. Review prevention, symptoms, and first-aid treatment for the following injuries or illnesses that can occur while kayaking: blisters, cold-water shock and hypothermia, heat-related illnesses, dehydration, sunburn, sprains, and strains.
    3. Review the BSA Safety Afloat policy. Explain to your counselor how this applies to kayaking.
  2. Before doing requirements 3 through 8, successfully complete the BSA swimmer test: Jump feetfirst into water over the head in depth. Level off and swim 75 yards in a strong manner using one or more of the following strokes: sidestroke, breaststroke, trudgen, or crawl; then swim 25 yards using an easy, resting backstroke. The 100 yards must be completed in one swim without stops and must include at least one sharp turn. After completing the swim, rest by floating.
  3. Do the following:
    1. Review the characteristics of life jackets most appropriate for kayaking and understand why one must always be worn while paddling. Then demonstrate how to select and fit a life jacket for kayaking.
    2. Review the importance of safety equipment such as a signal device, extra paddle, sponge, bilge pump, and throw bag.
  4. Do the following:
    1. Name and point out the major parts of a kayak.
    2. Review the differences in the design between recreational, whitewater, and sea or touring kayaks. Include how length, width, stability, and rocker are involved in the design of each type.
    3. Review the advantages and disadvantages of the materials most commonly used to make kayaks. Explain the care, maintenance, and storage of a kayak.
    4. Using the trucker�s hitch and bowline, demonstrate how to secure a kayak to a rack on a vehicle or a trailer, or to a rack on land.
  5. Discuss the following:
    1. How to choose a kayak paddle.
    2. The different materials from which paddles are made, parts of a paddle, and the care and maintenance of a paddle.
  6. Using a properly equipped kayak with an open cockpit, a sit-on-top, or an inflatable kayak, do the following:
    1. Safely capsize and perform a wet exit.
    2. Reenter the kayak with assistance from a buddy boat.
    3. Demonstrate a kayak-over-kayak rescue.
    4. Demonstrate the HELP position.
    5. Capsize the kayak, swim it and the paddle to shore, and empty water from the kayak with assistance, if needed.
  7. As a solo paddler, use a properly equipped kayak to demonstrate the following:
    1. Forward stroke
    2. Backstroke
    3. Forward sweep
    4. Reverse sweep
    5. Draw stroke
    6. Stern draw
  8. As a solo paddler, use a properly equipped kayak to demonstrate the following:
    1. Paddle a straight line for 25 yards, make a sharp turn, and return 25 yards in a straight line.
    2. Spin or pivot 360 degrees to the right and 360 degrees to the left.
    3. Move abeam to the right 10 feet and to the left 10 feet.
    4. Stop the boat in one boat length.
    5. Paddle a buoyed course of a length determined by your counselor that includes two right turns and two left turns performed while under way.


Scouting Literature

Boy Scout Handbook; Fieldbook; Aquatics Supervision; Kayaking BSA; Camping, Canoeing, First Aid, Lifesaving, Rowing, Scuba Diving, Small-Boat Sailing, Swimming, Water Sports, and Whitewater merit badge pamphlets.


  • American Canoe Association. Essentials of Kayak Touring. Menasha Ridge Press, 2005.
  • American Canoe Association, Dillon, Pam, and Jeremy Oyen, eds. Kayaking. Human Kinetics, 2009.
  • Burnham, Bill, and Mary Burnham. Kayaking for Everyone. Globe Pequot Press, 2010.
  • Whiting, Ken. Recreational Kayaking: The Ultimate Guide. The Heliconia Press, 2008.

Organizations and Web Sites

American Canoe Association 
108 Hanover St.
Fredricksburg, VA 22401
Telephone: 540-907-4460
Web site: www.americancanoe.org



Complete the following with your troop prior to attending our Kayaking Merit badge class: (Please read/review Kayaking Merit Badge Requirements)
1. Show that you know first aid for injuries or illnesses that co-occur while kayaking, including hypothermia, heat reactions, dehydration, insect stings, tick bites, and blisters. 
2. Do the following:

a. Identify the conditions that must exist before performing CPR on a person. Explain how such conditions are recognized. 
b. Demonstrate the proper technique for performing CPR using a training device approved by your counselor.

3. Before doing the following requirements, successfully complete the BSA swimmer test:
Jump feet first into water over the head in depth. Level off and swim 75 yards in a strong manner using one or more of the following strokes: sidestroke, breaststroke, trudgen, or crawl; then swim 25 yards using an easy, resting backstroke. The 100 yards must be completed in one swim without stops and must 
include at least one sharp turn. 

Kayak Morris will provide the knowledge and experience for the following: 
Discuss the following: 
 BSA Safety Afloat and tell how it applies to kayaking activities. 
 Explain the importance of safety equipment such as PFD’s, air bags, grab loops, and helmets 
Do the following: 
 Describe various types of kayaks and how they differ in design, materials, and purpose. 
 Name the parts of the kayak you are using for this exercise. 
 Demonstrate how to select and properly fit a PFD. 
 Demonstrate how to choose an appropriately sized kayak paddle and how to position your hands. 

Wearing the proper PFD and appropriately dressed for the weather and water 
Demonstrate your ability to aid yourself and others in the event of capsizing your kayak: 
 Capsize your kayak in water at least seven feet deep, perform a wet exit if necessary, and swim 
the boat to shore. 
 With assistance, if needed, ready the capsized craft for use. 
 Show how to approach a capsized paddler in your kayak and tow him to shore. 
 While upright in your kayak, right a capsized kayak, empty it of water, and assist the paddler aboard without returning to shore. 
Demonstrate the following skills: 
 Entering and launching a kayak from shore or dock. 
 Landing or docking and exiting a kayak. 
 Forward stroke  Back stroke 
 Sweep stroke  Reverse sweep 
 Rudder stroke  Draw stroke 
Demonstrate the following maneuvers: 
 Paddle forward in a reasonably straight line. 
 Move the kayak sideways to the right and to the left. 
 Pivot 360 degrees to the right and left. 
 Stop the kayak. 
Discuss the following types of kayaking: 
 Olympic Sprint  Olympic Slalom 
 Kayak Touring  Marathon 
 Whitewater  Freestyle 
 Kayak Surfing  Kayak Fishing 
Scout Name: _________________________________
Troop: _______________________ 
Instructor Signature:__________________________________ Date:__________________