Requirements to Know To Obtain a Kayaking Merit Badge 

Kayaking is quickly becoming a popular watersport! This sport’s popularity has grown in recent years, and the kayaking BSA activity patch has been developed. This is America’s fastest-growing paddlesport, and the kayaking merit badge has just been introduced!

What exactly is a Merit Badge? Do you require one? Is it significant? In this piece, I will go over the Kayaking merit badge and what it entails. 

What Is A Kayaking Merit Badge?

dry bag
kayaking merit badge

The kayaking merit badge is offered for those newcomers who participated in a flat water adventure with no wind, waves, or current and teaches the “basic skills”. This is ideal for folks who enjoy whitewater kayaking. It would be preferable if they completed the whitewater merit badge after completing the kayaking merit badge.

Kayaking Merit Badge Requirement

Carry out the following actions:

Hazards in Kayaking. Discuss with your counselor the dangers you are most likely to come across when kayaking, such as weather and water-related hazards, and what you should do to anticipate, help prevent, minimize, and respond to these hazards. 

  • Weather problems 
  • High waves or swift currents 
  • Drowning 
  • Blisters 
  • Shock with cold water 
  • Hypothermia 
  • Sunburn 
  • Dehydration 
  • Heat stroke or heat exhaustion 
  • Strains and sprains

Preventing and Treating Sunburn


  • Between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., stay out of the sun. 
  • Wear a hat with a large brim, a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, and UV-blocking eyewear. 
  • Use sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30. 
  • Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours or after swimming or sweating.
  • First Aid Treatment. Examine the prevention, symptoms, and first-aid treatment for the following kayaking injuries or diseases: blisters, cold-water shock and hypothermia, heat-related illnesses, dehydration, sunburn, sprains, and strains. 
Weeki Wachee kayaking
kayaking merit badge

Blister Treatment

  • First, wash your hands and, if feasible, put on gloves. 
  • Clean the area to be treated using an antiseptic, soap, water, or whatever works for you. 
  • Sterilize a pin with a flame or rubbing alcohol (be careful, rubbing alcohol is dangerous!). 
  • To preserve as much of the skin as possible, avoid piercing the blister from the top. Instead, slide the pin through the blister’s side. 
  • After the blister has been “popped,” grab some gauze and gently press down on it to assist squeeze out the fluid.
  • Check if the area is clean now. Bandage the wound as best you can and pile on the protective padding. Make every effort to limit further damage to the area. Maintain cleanliness and attempt to relax it for as long as possible. 
  • Tylenol or Motrin can be used to relieve discomfort. 

Cold Water Shock Treatment

  • When a paddler slips into really cold water, he or she suffers from cold water shock. This makes breathing difficult. If this occurs, focus on breathing frequently and try not to panic.
  • The sole therapy is to remove the paddler from the water as soon as feasible. Dress appropriately for the weather and try to stay dry to avoid it. 

Sprains and Strains

  • Remember to use R.I.C.E. therapy. 
  • Rest and avoid painful movements. 
  • Immobilize – Use a splint, sling, or bandage to stabilize the wounded area. 
  • Apply cold packs to relieve discomfort and swelling. Wrap a thin towel around crushed ice or a cold pack and apply for no more than 20 minutes at a time. Reapply after a minimum of 40 minutes. 
  • Elevate the damaged location above the level of the heart if possible to decrease swelling.

Dehydration Prevention and Treatment 

  • Drink plenty of fluids and eat water-rich foods like fruits and vegetables to avoid dehydration. 
  • Drinking extra fluids will correct mild to moderate dehydration, but severe dehydration requires emergency medical attention.

Avoiding Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke 

  • You can avoid heat difficulties by following these guidelines: 
  • Avoid strenuous activity during the hottest part of the day. 
  • Slow slower and allow your body to adjust if you are out of shape. 
  • Make sure you get in shape and adjust to the environment before the event. 
  • Wear layers and clothing that breathes and wicks perspiration away from your skin. 
  • Consume snacks that include a small amount of salt. 
  • Drink plenty of water and continue to do so.
  • BSA Safety Afloat Guideline. Examine the BSA’s Safety Afloat guideline. Explain how this relates to kayaking to your counselor.

Afloat Safety

Before boating with your scouts, ensure everyone knows the Safety Afloat requirements.

Whitewater kayaking
kayaking merit badge

Read More: Kayaks for Sale: The Best Markets To Buy Kayaks

To advance with criteria 3 through 9, you must pass the BSA swimming test. What exactly are these?

  • Jump feet first into deep water above your head. 
  • Powerfully swim 75 yards utilizing one or more of the following strokes: sidestroke, breaststroke, trudgen, or crawl, followed by 25 yards in an easy, resting backstroke. 
  • The 100-yard swim must be accomplished in one continuous swim with at least one sharp turn. 
  • Float after you’ve finished swimming.

Perform the following actions

  • Examine the features of the best kayak life jackets and learn why one should always be worn while paddling.
  • Demonstrate how to choose and fit a kayak life jacket. 

Life vests

  • A Type III PFD, which is a vest-style PFD, is the most commonly used for paddling. 
  • When wearing a life jacket, zippers should be closed, buckles should be fastened, and the jacket should be properly fitted so that when lifted by the shoulder straps, the straps do not go above the ears and the front does not reach the chin.
  • Examine the significance of safety equipment such as a signal device, an additional paddle, a sponge, a bilge pump, a rescue sling, flotation bags, and a throw bag.

Other Safety Devices

  • Whistle for emergency use 
  • If your original paddle is lost or broken, you will have a spare paddle. 
  • In case of injury, keep a first-aid kit nearby. 
  • Use a sponge to keep the inside of the kayak (and thus yourself) dry. 
  • A bilge pump is used to swiftly remove a large amount of water from a kayak. 
  • To keep your belongings dry, use a waterproof bag. 
  • Throw bag for emergency scenarios 
  • Navigational map and compass 
  • Water and snacks to keep you hydrated and energetic
Whitewater kayaking
kayaking merit badge

Carry out the following actions: 

  • Name and describe the primary components of a kayak. 
  • Examine the design differences between recreational, whitewater, sea, and touring kayaks. Include how each type’s length, width, stability, and rocker are incorporated into its design. 
  • Explain how to care for, maintain, and store a kayak.

Discuss the following

  • The proper way to use a kayak paddle. 
  • Paddle components. 
  • The care and upkeep of a paddle. 

Do the following in a fully outfitted kayak with an open cockpit, a sit-on-top, or an inflatable kayak

  • Capsize safely and conduct a wet exit. 
  • Reenter the kayak with the help of a buddy boat. 
  • Perform a kayak-over-kayak rescue. 
  • Display the HELP position. 
  • Capsize the kayak, swim it and the paddle to shore, and, if necessary, empty the water from the kayak.

Use a fully prepared kayak as a solo paddler to demonstrate the following

  • Forward stroke
  • Reverse stroke
  • Forward sweep
  • Reverse sweep
  • Draw stroke

Use a fully prepared kayak as a solo paddler to demonstrate the following

  • Paddle a straight path for 15 to 20 boat lengths, utilizing suitable strokes and keeping the kayak trim and balanced. 
  • Within two boat lengths, spin or pivot from a stationary position 180 degrees (half circle) to the right and left. 
  • Move abeam 10 feet to the right and 10 feet to the left. 
  • In one boat length, come to a complete stop. 
  • Turn the kayak 90 degrees to the right and left while still moving ahead. 
  • Using suitable and effective reverse strokes, move the kayak back three to four boat lengths. 
  • Paddle the kayak in a buoyed fig

Read More: Kayak Types: How to Choose the Right Kayak For You?


These are some of the specifics of earning your kayaking merit badge and learning the fundamental skills, safety precautions, and other information that you should be aware of if you wish to begin your kayaking adventure.

There are various excellent instructors from whom to choose, depending on your country of origin! These kayaking merit badges will teach you the basics that you should know and practice!

In the meantime, I’d love to connect with you on my Facebook, and Instagram accounts for more cool tips and recommendations on paddle boards and kayaks.

I might earn a small commission when you make a purchase through my link, so that I can keep my site running and pay the hosting bill. Read my affiliate policy to learn more.
Best Paddle Board Banner

Download our 60-page SUP Guide

* indicates required
The Best Paddle Board of the Year

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Review written by: Tom

Hi! My name is Tom. During the year I try to be on a paddle board as much as possible. By reading this blog you'll stay updated on everything I test on the water :)