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Discover paddle power as we explore rivers, lakes or the deep blue sea on a kayaking adventure.

Try this activity at one of our adventure centres

Once you’ve mastered the basic paddle strokes on land, take to the water in your own personal kayak. Using a variety of games, your instructor will help you develop your skill and precision moving through the water.

Go kayaking with Scout Adventures

What to expect

Modern kayaks are made from plastic or fibreglass and are paddled with a two-bladed kayak paddle. Most kayaks are enclosed, with just a hole to fit the kayaker in, but some are open. You can get kayaks for up to four people and they can be paddled in all sorts of water, from slow-moving rivers to white water torrents, to the open sea.

Kayaking is a great way to get active, explore the outdoors and spend time in different natural environments. You could cruise through a forest one day and paddle along the coastline the next, so it’s a brilliant adventure with something for everyone.

What you’ll learn

Kayaking more will help improve your poise and balance in the water, and as you paddle more, your paddling technique will become more efficient. You’ll soon be able to move gracefully and quickly across the water, making each one of your strokes count and not expending too much energy. Techniques to learn include rotating the paddle as you go (for efficient strokes), how to steer, and how to slow down.

Fun facts

Kayaks were invented by Inuit peoples of the Arctic region. The first kayaks were created thousands of years ago from driftwood, whale bones and animal skins. They were used for hunting and fishing, as they were perfect for sneaking up on things in the water.

Handy hints

  • Bag it up. Take along some extra plastic bags or bin bags to put your wet clothes and shoes in and save your towels.
  • Group up. Some kayaks are designed for up to four people, which could make your first experience much easier.


You must always:
Be safe outdoors:
  • Check the weather forecast
Be safe in water:

Everyone should be able to swim 50m wearing the clothing or equipment for the activity. Non-swimmers will need additional support.

Water can be dangerous - be aware of the risks.

The category of water depends on how safe the water is. Use our waterways directory to check.

Be sure to manage the group when near water, keeping everyone safe. 


Make sure that all equipment is fit for purpose and in good condition:

Everyone must wear a life jacket or buoyancy aid

The instructor must make sure boats are seaworthy

There are regulations you must follow if you are hiring a boat


Joint activities with other organisations:
This activity can be led by you or someone else in Scouts:
  • The activity leader must have an adventurous activities permit with the right level and permissions for your group

    • You don't need a permit for activities on Class C waters (safe, inland water less than 100m wide).

    • Where the group is entirely members over the age of 18 the permit scheme does not apply, please follow the rule 9.8 adult groups.

You can go to a centre or use an activity leader who is not part of Scouting:
You must find a suitable provider who meets the following requirements :

Activity Permit Scheme


Class C Waters

Canal and River Licences

Safety Boat Guidance


Kayaking was a great way to get active in the outdoors and can mean different things to different people. What did you enjoy most about kayaking? What is one thing you learned while kayaking? What would you do differently next time?

We take different things from some activities and adventures, from learning new skills to learning how to cope with stressful situations and work with new people. There’s no right thing to take away from kayaking as everyone’s experience will be different.