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Class C Waters

FS120623 (Published January 2022, replacing March 2011)

The definition of Class C Waters can be found in POR Rule 9.44.


This guidance provides information related to all activities taking place in Class C waters, and should be used to support planning for activities.

All water activities taking place in or on Class C waters must be operated under these guidelines, with the exception of swimming, SCUBA and motorised water activities (as defined in POR Rule 9.45).

What are Class C Waters?

All waters used for Scouting activities must be classified as C, B1, B2, B3 or A in accordance with rule 9.44b. The definition of Class C Waters can be found in POR Rule 9.44.

Rule 9.44b Class C Waters Definition

Class C - safe inland waters which are less than 100m wide where flow causes little effect (including swimming pools);

All waters must be classified prior to their use and the classification may change due to factors such as the time of year and weather.

Types of activity

You can do a variety of activities on waters classified as Class C without the requirement for the leader of the activity to hold an activity permit.

These include:

  • Kayak practice in swimming pools
  • Traditional rafting
  • Canoeing or kayaking at campsites

Just remember that you must be sure this is on Class C waters, otherwise a permit holder is required.

It is required that those in charge of the activity have the appropriate skills and knowledge of the activity taking place and a knowledge of and ability to conduct appropriate risk assessments. Although these activities do not require the activity leader to hold an activity permit the activity leader must still have the appropriate skills and knowledge of the activity taking place and be capable of putting together appropriate risk assessments and activity plans.  

Planning activities on Class C Waters

When delivering activities on or in Class C waters the leader must ensure that:

  • The activity is suitable to the age and ability of the participants. 
  • A clear plan is in place for the activity. 
  • A risk assessment has been undertaken and appropriate measures in place to reduce risk, and that this is documented and clearly communicated to those involved.
  • A safety plan is in place in case of an incident or emergency. 
  • The appropriate adult to young person ratios are adhered to. 
  • There is appropriate supervision by a person who has sufficient skill/knowledge of the activity being undertaken (this may be more than one person depending on the activity and the size and needs of the group). 
  • Someone is present with the appropriate level of first aid training for the environment, and has access to suitable first aid materials.
  • Suitable equipment is used.
  • A safety briefing is given to all participants and people in charge.
  • Participants are briefed, with clear boundaries which everyone understands. 
  • Participants do not move into any adjacent waters not classified as Class C (which are thus, at a minimum, Class B1).
  • Participants are given instruction on how to use any equipment safely.
  • Other users of the water do not constitute a hazard.
  • The activity meets any local operating procedures (if using, for example, a swimming pool).

It is important to ensure that when planning all activities care is taken to consider the following which apply to water based activities:  

Approving an Activity on Class C Waters

The District Commissioner is responsible for approving all activities, further guidance on this is available at FS120015 Approving Activities – Guidance for Commissioners, but the best place to start is checking with your Group Scout Leader (GSL) or District Explorer Scout Commissioner (DESC) what the approval process is for the activities you are planning. Check the rules and guidance for the activities you are undertaking at  

Before approving an activity to take place on Class C waters the commissioner should be confident that there is appropriate safety cover in place with the relevant skills and knowledge to perform rescues and recoveries if needed.

Further Information

Further information should be sought from Assistant Area / County Commissioner (Activities).