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Kayaking BSA Award

The Kayaking BSA Award recognizes Scouts and Venturers who have developed the skills for a safe kayaking experience. Kayaking is so much fun! My husband and I own a couple of kayaks and we love to go out paddling on the water. Read more about that and see some photos of us at Empty Nest in the Midwest.

Kayaking BSA Requirements

  1. Before fulfilling the following requirements, successfully complete the BSA swimmer test.
  2. 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 choose an appropriately sized kayak paddle and how to position your hands.
  3. Do the following:
    • Tell what precautions must be taken for a safe trip afloat.
    • Demonstrate how to select and properly fit a PFD.
    • Explain the importance of safety equipment such as PFDs, air bags, grab loops, and helmets.
  4. Demonstrate your ability to aid yourself and others in the event of a capsize:
    • 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.
  5. As a solo paddler, demonstrate the following:
    • Entering and launching a kayak from shore or dock
    • Landing or docking and exiting a kayak
    • Forward stroke
    • Sweep stroke
    • Reverse sweep
    • Draw stroke
    • Rudder stroke
    • Back stroke
  6. As a solo paddler, do the following:
    • 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.

Helps and ideas for this award are found below:

Paddle Sports Troop Program Feature for Scouts BSA

The Paddle Sports program feature helps Scouts learn how to safely enjoy non-motorized trips on the water. Scouts learn about canoeing, kayaking, or stand up paddleboarding.

BSA Swim Test

The BSA swim test is used to determine ability level so that participants can swim in an area which is appropriate for them.

National Outdoor Award Aquatics Segment Requirements

To complete the requirements for the National Outdoor Award Aquatics Segment, a Scout or Venturer must be a proficient swimmer, have some lifesaving skills, complete the mile swim, and spend some time enjoying aquatics adventures such as swimming, paddling, fishing, or scuba diving.


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