BSA Supply No. 35965
Canoeing or kayaking through whitewater rapids can be a thrilling experience. Safe whitewater fun requires each participant to understand the the equipment and techniques and to have a firm respect for the power of nature's waterways.
- Do the following:
- Review with your counselor the first aid for injuries or illnesses that could occur
while working on the Whitewater merit badge, including hypothermia, heat reactions,
dehydration, insect stings, blisters, bruises, cuts, and shoulder dislocation.
- Identify the conditions that must exist before performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation
(CPR) on a person. Explain how such conditions are recognized.
- Demonstrate proper technique for performing CPR using a training device approved
by your counselor.
- Do the following:
- Review and compare BSA Safety Afloat and the American Whitewater safety guidelines
and demonstrate your understanding of these principles by answering questions from
- Identify and explain the use and importance of safety equipment on moving water.
Include in your explanation a discussion about throw ropes, whistles, and how to
choose and properly fit PFDs (personal flotation devices) and helmets.
- Before doing requirements 4 through 13, earn the Canoeing merit badge if you will
be using a canoe to earn this merit badge. If you will be using a kayak, earn the
Kayaking BSA Award.
- Do ONE of the following:
- If you are completing these requirements as a tandem canoeist, demonstrate basic
canoe-handling skills by completing the Scout gate test within 160 seconds while
paddling tandem with a buddy. Then demonstrate the following strokes: cross forward,
cross draw, bow pry, Duffek, high brace, and low brace.
- If you are completing these requirements as a solo canoeist, demonstrate basic solo
canoe-handling skills by completing the Scout gate test within 160 seconds. Then
demonstrate the following strokes: cross forward, cross draw, stern pry, Duffek,
high brace, and low brace.
- If you are using a kayak to complete these requirements, demonstrate basic kayak-handling
skills by completing the Scout gate test within 160 seconds. Demonstrate the following
strokes: Duffek, high brace, low brace, and sculling draw. Then do the following:
- Move the kayak forward in a reasonably straight line for 10 yards.
- Move the kayak sideways to the right and to the left.
- Pivot 360 degrees to the right and left.
- Stop the kayak.
- Do the following:
- Explain the importance of scouting before committing to running a rapid, and discuss
good judgment when evaluating a stretch of river or a particular rapid.
- Explain the terms downstream V, riffle, strainer, eddy, eddy line, pillow, ledge,
bend, shallows, falls, low-head dam, current, rock, drop, horizon line, wave, standing
wave, hydraulic, and sleeper.
- Explain how to scout and read a river while ashore and while afloat, and discuss
the importance of hazard recognition.
- Demonstrate your ability to read the river where you are practicing and demonstrating
your whitewater skills.
- Explain the International Scale of River Difficulty and apply the scale to the stretch
of river where you are practicing and demonstrating your whitewater skills. Identify
the specific characteristics of the river that are factors in your classification
according to the International Scale.
- Explain the importance of communication during every whitewater outing. Explain
and then demonstrate using the following river signals: "Run right," "Run left,"
"Run down the center," "Stop," "Are you OK?" and "Help!"
- Do the following:
- Explain the differences between flatwater and whitewater canoes. Identify the different
materials used in modern whitewater canoe construction and the advantages and disadvantages
- Describe the various types of kayaks and how they differ in design, materials, and
- Identify the advantages and special uses for kayaks and decked canoes in moving
- Discuss the construction, safety, and functional features of paddles used in whitewater
- Discuss the personal and group equipment necessary for a safe whitewater outing
and how and why it is used. Explain how to pack and protect these items.
- Wearing the proper personal flotation device (PFD) and being appropriately dressed
for the weather and water conditions, perform the following skills in moving water
in a properly equipped whitewater craft of your choice (tandem canoe, solo canoe,
or solo kayak). If a tandem canoe is used, the skills must be demonstrated from
both the bow and stern positions.
- Launch and land.
- Paddle forward in a straight line.
- Sideslip, both sides.
- Ferry upstream and downstream.
- Eddy turn.
- Peel out.
- Explain and demonstrate:
- Self-rescue and procedures when capsized in moving water, including a wet exit if
- Safe rescue of others in various whitewater situations using a throw rope
- Portaging--when and how to do it
- The whitewater buddy system using at least three persons and three craft
- Discuss the use of inflatable rafts on moving water. In your discussion, explain
the special safety precautions that should be taken when using an inflatable raft
and the risks of "tubing" on moving water.
- Participate in a whitewater trip using either a canoe or kayak on a Class I or Class
II river. Help to prepare a written plan, specifying the route, schedule, equipment,
safety precautions, and emergency procedures. Determine local rules and obtain permission
from landowners and land managers in advance. Explain what steps you have taken
to comply with BSA Safety Afloat and the American Whitewater safety guidelines.
Execute the plan with others.
Boy Scout Handbook and Fieldbook; Kayaking BSA Award application; Canoeing, Rowing, and Small-Boat Sailing merit badge pamphlets
- Bennett, Jeff. The Complete Whitewater Rafter. International Marine/Ragged Mountain Press, 1996.
- --------. The Essential Whitewater Kayaker. International Marine/ Ragged Mountain Press, 1999.
- Blaine, Mark. Whitewater: The Thrill and Skill of Running the World's Great Rivers. Black Dog and Leventhal Publishers, 2001.
- Bechdel, Les. River Rescue: A Manual for Whitewater Safety. Appalachian Mountain Club Books, 1997.
- Foster, Tom, and Kel Kelly. Catch Every Eddy, Surf Every Wave: A Contemporary Guide to Whitewater Playboating. Outdoor Centre of New England, 1995.
- Grant, Gordon. Trailside Guide: Canoeing. W. W. Norton & Company, 2003.
- Harrison, Dave. Canoeing: The Complete Guide to Equipment and Technique. Stackpole Books, 1996.
- Jackson, Eric. Whitewater Paddling: Strokes & Concepts. Stackpole Books, 1999.
- Krauzer, Steven M. Trailside Guide: Kayaking. W. W. Norton & Company, 2003.
- Mason, Bill. Path of the Paddle: An Illustrated Guide to the Art of Canoeing (revised and updated by Paul Mason). Firefly Books, 1999.
- Mason, Paul. Thrill of the Paddle: The Art of Whitewater Canoeing. Firefly Books, 1999.
- Nealy, William. Kayak: A Manual of Technique. Menasha Ridge Press, 1986.
- Ray, Slim. The Canoe Handbook: Techniques for Mastering the Sport of Canoeing. Stackpole Books, 1992.
Canoe & Kayak
10526 NE 68th St., Suite 3
Kirkland, WA 98033
Toll-free telephone: 800-692-2663
Web site: http://www.canoekayak.com
P.O. Box 775450
Steamboat Springs, CO 80477
Toll-free telephone: 888-774-7554
Web site: http://www.paddlermagazine.com
Organizations and Web Sites
American Canoe Association
7432 Alban Station Blvd., Suite B-232
Springfield, VA 22150
Web site: http://www.acanet.org
P.O. Box 1540
Cullowhee, NC 28723
Toll-free telephone: 866-262-8429
Web site: http://www.americanwhitewater.org
301 S. Tryon St., Suite 1750
Charlotte, NC 28282
Web site: http://www.usack.org
United States Canoe Association
53 Ross Road
Preston, CT 06365
Web site: http://www.uscanoe.com