Guide to Scout Authorisation

Getting Authorised to take Scouts Canoeing:

A Guide



As you would expect authorisations are graded to reflect the difficulties one could expect. This guide is targeted at what, by experience, we believe might be useful for leading a small group of Explorers around the islands of Loch Lomond or paddling on the sea close to the shore  with easy landing and limited tidal flows.  These are identified as B1 waters. Even then the assessor must be confident that you as a leader will not operate in potentially dangerous situations such as high winds, can cope if winds do rise unexpectedly on a trip and can control the group in all circumstances.

To operate at this level a leader (as opposed to supervisor) authorisation for B1 sea and inland water is demanded. To obtain that you need to show

  • Paddling skills equivalent to 3 Star.
  • Foundation Safety and Rescue Training
  • Leadership skills associated with being a Scout Leader
  • A satisfactory assessment

We also believe a BCU Level 1 Coach Course is extremely useful if you want to instruct Scouts.

Getting the Skills

  • Basic Knowledge: If you are a novice then the place to start is a Basic Skills Course. Helensburgh Canoe Club runs 10 week courses for adults and youngsters over 14 that involve 1 evening a week  (a Tuesday  7.30 to 9) and 3 day paddles (Saturdays or Sundays as determined by group/weather normally 10-2. At this stage you may be ready for a 2 Star Assessment.
  • Experience: From 2 Star to 3 Star is primarily a question of experience and endurance which is best achieved on club trips. Ideally you should do an overnight trip, camping or bothying if it is mid-winter. If you are interested in Sea Kayaking the club runs a follow up course to Basic Skills for Sea Kayak Expeditions which involves 3 pool sessions, 5 lecture/planning sessions, an outdoor assessment and a long paddle. The emphasis is on safety and survival at Sea.
  • Rescue Skills: Foundation Safety and Rescue is a day long course that is required for all, and again will be organised by the Club in the early spring (when the loch is not quite so cold).

You are now ready to work with youngsters under the guidance of an authorised instructor, getting some experience of what they can do and the games and activities that make the training enjoyable. If you can get on a level 1 Coach Course this is ideal (but not a necessity).

Finally you will need to be assessed for your Activity Authorisation by a paddle sports advisor (probably Grant Dolier for Lochgoilhead Scout Centre).

As an aside the club also runs a course to develop white water skills, based at Pinkston White Water course on the last Sunday evening of the month.



The Basic Skills Course is £40 and includes use of equipment. In addition you will need to join the Canoe Club (£30). THE FSRT course is about £40 for the day and formal 2 Star certification is £20. If you want to  progress past 2 Star and FSRT (Foundation Safety ) and do a Coach Course and 3 Star then you will need to join the SCA. (£30).

If you want to seek financial support then you could sign on for a year long training package at £150.



The next Basic Skills course starts on Tuesday 25th August. Contact Euan Forrest ( to reserve a place. For further information contact Robin Pooley (ADC Cubs) or Geoff Riddington (GSL 1st Helensburgh) . Grant Dolier is the Regional Coaching Officer and can answer questions on the Scottish Canoe Association, the Star scheme, FSRT and the Coaching Scheme


Getting Your Scouts on the Water

With commitment, by next summer you could be authorised. You can borrow scout canoes etc from the 1st Helensburgh and normally a member of our team will be there to give you confidence.   From then on there will be no looking back.


Geoff Riddington, Robin Pooley, Euan Forrest and Grant Dolier