Canoe Instruction

Canoeing is one of America's most popular outdoor activities. The single-bladed canoe paddle requires more skill and knowledge of more strokes. Most people learn in a tandem but it's better to start in a solo canoe. Any session can be solo or tandem.

For paddling sessions, please wear clothing and shoes appropriate for the water temperatures. Avoid cotton clothing – no blue jeans or hooded sweatshirts. Expect to get wet and to continue paddling. Bring a complete change of clothes for afterwards. Apply sunscreen, and you may need a hat, glasses' strap, rain gear, and insect protection. Bring water and an energy bar. Additionally, you'll want a boat, paddle, life jacket and for some sessions a wetsuit and sprayjacket, drysuit, helmet, or dog. Provide your own gear or contact

Waiver and Checklist

Please print and bring a signed copy of the liability waiver to any session. Note the second page includes a checklist of what to wear and bring as well as COVID19 protocols.

Canoeing 101 Offerings: Quiet Water

Quickstart your Canoe

QuickStart Your Canoe is a three-hour introduction on quiet water for paddlers to practice the skills discussed in SmartStart, with a focus on efficient forward and turning strokes to allow students to maneuver effectively and safely. Simple rescues are shown.

Introduction to Canoeing

Introduction to Canoeing is a six-hour course focusing on skills for any type of kayak, canoe, or board. Paddling strokes are practiced more intensively than in the QuickStart course, and additional strokes are included. Participants perform wet exit and re-entry, tows, and T-rescues. Scout leaders can earn Paddle Craft Safety or qualify as a merit badge counselor. Scouts may complete Canoeing Merit Badge

Canoeing 201 Offerings: small waves or moving water

Safety and Rescue

Safety and Rescue is a 4-hour course for covering essential safety and rescue techniques performed with a minimum of equipment. Either Quickstart or Introduction is a prerequisite.

River Essentials

River Essentials is a day-long course in canoe or kayak on gently moving rivers where flat water rescues can be used. Practice tight turns, efficient side slips, paddling backwards under control, braces, multiple corrective forward strokes, and heeling. Maneuvering and linking strokes in current is emphasized. Schedule this if you're moving up to paddling rapids or just want to practice and improve your skill set.

Touring Essentials

Touring Essentials is an eight-hour classroom and on-the-water course on overnight trips, risk management, group travel and safety, communication options, navigation, gear selection, and packing. It prepares paddlers for backcountry tripping and canoe camping, including route selection, portaging technique, leave-no-trace camping, and food storage. If you're headed to the BWCAW or just a weekend at the park, this class is for you!

Canoeing 301 Offerings: river canoeing

River Canoeing

River Canoeing is a one day course extending River Essentials to paddling on easy rapids in a solo or tandem recreational or whitewater canoe. Learn about river features and hazards, how to scout, what to do when you capsize, about moving water rescues and gear, how to do eddy turns and ferries, and keys to good judgment. Scouts may earn Whitewater Merit Badge.