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Resources include the Kayaking merit badge worksheet in PDF format Adobe Acrobat PDF and Word format Microsoft Word DOC document, links, and cross-references to related badges and awards.
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This is the Kayaking merit badge for Scouts, Lone Scouts, and qualified Venturers or Sea Scouts.
There is also a Kayaking BSA award.

Kayaking merit badge
Status: Elective
Created: 2012
Discontinued: no
BSA Advancement ID: 149
Requirements revision: 2012
Latest pamphlet revision: 2016


This merit badge can be earned concurrently with the Kayaking BSA award but earning one does not automatically qualify the Scout as earning the other.

The Worksheet contains information on, and can be used for, either or both the Kayaking merit badge and the Kayaking BSA award, and indicates which requirements correspond in whole or in part to requirements for the other award.

Kayaking merit badge requirements

  1. Do the following:
    a. 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.
    b. 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.
    c. 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:
    a. 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.
    b. Review the importance of safety equipment such as a signal device, extra paddle, sponge, bilge pump, and throw bag.
  4. Do the following:
    a. Name and point out the major parts of a kayak.
    b. 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.
    c. Review the advantages and disadvantages of the materials most commonly used to make kayaks. Explain the care, maintenance, and storage of a kayak.
    d. 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:
    a. How to choose a kayak paddle.
    b. 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:
    a. Safely capsize and perform a wet exit.
    b. Reenter the kayak with assistance from a buddy boat.
    c. Demonstrate a kayak-over-kayak rescue.
    d. Demonstrate the HELP position.
    e. 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:
    a. Forward stroke
    b. Backstroke
    c. Forward sweep
    d. Reverse sweep
    e. Draw stroke
    f. Stern draw
  8. As a solo paddler, use a properly equipped kayak to demonstrate the following:
    a. Paddle a straight line for 25 yards, make a sharp turn, and return 25 yards in a straight line.
    b. Spin or pivot 360 degrees to the right and 360 degrees to the left.
    c. Move abeam to the right 10 feet and to the left 10 feet.
    d. Stop the boat in one boat length.
    e. Paddle a buoyed course of a length determined by your counselor that includes two right turns and two left turns performed while under way.

The official source for the information shown in this is:
Boy Scout Requirements, 2018 Edition (BSA Supply SKU #641568)

View the change list (history) of these requirements. The text of these requirements may be locked. In that case, they can only be edited
by an administrator.
Please note any errors found in the above requirements on this article's Talk Page.


Worksheet A FREE workbook for Kayaking is available here! (PDF or Word) with the maps, charts, links, diagrams, and checklists you need! Or click here to print just the Kayaking requirements. usscouts.org has PDF and Word versions of workbooks for Scouts BSA ranks and merit badges, Cub Scouting ranks and adventures, and STEM Nova awards.

Kayaking merit badge is an option for the National Outdoor Badge for Aquatics.
The Kayaking merit badge is an option for the Start Your Engines! and Up and Away STEM Nova Awards.
  1. Kayaking is a popular summer camp merit badge.

Requirement resources

First Aid
1. Hypothermia - Heat Reactions - Dehydration - Insect Stings - Tick Bites - Blisters
2. CPR

3. Swimming
BSA Swim Test: Diving also has the feetfirst jump in - Sidestroke - Breaststroke - Trudgen Crawl - Backstroke - Swimming Turns - Floating

4. The BSA Safety Afloat policy you need is in the workbook (PDF Adobe Acrobat PDF or Word Microsoft Word DOC document).
5. See the blank canoe and paddle diagrams in the Canoeing merit badge workbook (PDF Adobe Acrobat PDF or Word Microsoft Word DOC document)
5a-c. Major parts of a canoe completed diagram is in the Aquatics Troop Program Feature. See the blank canoe diagrams in the Canoeing merit badge workbook (PDF Adobe Acrobat PDF or Word Microsoft Word DOC document)
5d/e. The parts of a paddle completed diagram is in the Boating-Canoeing Troop Program Feature. See the blank paddle diagrams in the Canoeing merit badge workbook (PDF Adobe Acrobat PDF or Word Microsoft Word DOC document)
7. Canoe stroke diagrams are in the Boating-Canoeing Troop Program Feature.
6-10. ExpertVillage.com Lesson Videos: Canoeing Safety· - PDFs - Paddles - Getting In/Out - Paddling - On The Water

Related awards

Aquatic-related awards

See also

Scouts BSA portal
Venturing portal
Sea Scout portal
General Merit Badge information

External links

Personal tools