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Class C Waters


(Published March 2011, last reviewed with no updated 2015)

What are Class C Waters?

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

The National Directory of Waters list waters which have been classified by Counties and Areas. These waters should still be classified before use by the activity leader to ensure that the appropriate rules are followed.

Activities on Class C Waters

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).

This allows for a variety of activities on waters classified as Class C - kayak practice in swimming pools, traditional rafting or canoeing at the local campsite - without the requirement for the leader of the activity to hold an activity permit. 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.

The District Commissioner is responsible for approving all activities. This will usually be by means of an informal system agreed between the District Commissioner and each Group Scout Leader. Activities organised at a County, Region or Country level will need the approval of the County, Region or Chief Commissioner, as appropriate. There are additional requirements for those activities which fall within the scope of the Association’s adventurous activity permit scheme see POR Rule 9.7).

Swimming ability

POR Rule 9.42 outlines the swimming requirements for those wishing to take part in water activities. It's important that the swimming ability of the participants is considered when the activity is planned. This will result in appropriate ratios and supervision being applied.

Planning an activity on Class C waters

When planning an activity on or in Class C waters (As defined in POR) the organiser must:

  • Ensure that the Rules contained in POR are followed.
  • Ensure that a Risk Assessment is carried out (see later).
  • Ensure other users of the water do not constitute a hazard.
  • Meet any local operating procedures (if using, for example, a swimming pool).
  • Ensure that the activity is supervised by someone who has sufficient skill/knowledge of the water activity.
  • Ensure that a safety briefing is given to all participants and people in charge.
  • Ensure that participants do not move into any adjacent waters not classified as Class C (which are thus, at a minimum, Class B1).
  • Be in a suitable position to oversee the area in which the activity is taking place.
  • Be prepared to stop the activity if and when required.
  • Ensure that there is a person who has received emergency aid training and that a first aid kit is available.
  • Have access to a telephone for use in the event of an emergency.

Supervision of the Activity

Activities taking place on Class C waters should not exceed the maximum leadership ratios. You should also consider the overall group size and ensure that if larger groups are operating with multiple leaders that it is clear which young people are within each group and that a clear area of operation is defined.

Buoyancy Aids

Buoyancy aids and life jackets must be worn when required. Read the guidance on buoyancy aids and life jackets.

Approving an Activity on Class C Waters (Commissioners)

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).