Water Activities

Water activities are very popular with both the youth and adult membership of Scouting, some of which can be taken part in all year-round.

This page gives basic information on the most popular and accessible water activities on the Island, with links to all the relevant Scout Factsheets, and links to information on other water activities.

There are a number of leaders who hold various water activity permits, most of which are involved with one of the many Sea Scout Groups on the Island.  Details of some of the permit holders can be found in Wight Pages which is available from your Group Scout Leader or relevant Commissioner, or contact the County Water Activities Adviser, Jon Curtis.

Class C Waters

Definition of Class C Waters

Class C Waters are non-tidal and are: Inland lakes, lochs or other stretches of placid water which are less than 100 metres wide throughout the region being used and where surface turbulence is limited to the regular waves produced by wind action.  This also includes rivers or canals which are again less than 100 metres wide in the region that is being used.

In certain circumstances, such as high wind, a stretch of water that has been classified a Class C may not, on the day of activity, be so.

Activities on Class C Waters

Any water activity (except Powerboating) can be approved by a non-authorised Leader providing that the activity is under the immediate control of a responsible person (who could be the Leader, in person).  The responsible person supervising the activity must have sufficient skills/knowledge of the activity being undertaken.  Further information, including the rules regarding activities on class C waters, can be found in the factsheet Class C Waters (FS120623), which should be consulted before attempting to run any activity in an area of water designated as Class C.

Corf Scout Camp

The stretch of water to the east (right hand side) of the jetty in Corf Lake is designated as Class C Waters


Canoeing is a way of travelling over water through the use of a canoe, a small craft which is propelled by a paddle. The Canoeing Permit refers to open canoeing, a craft that does not have a deck enclosing the occupant(s) and which was designed to be propelled using a single bladed paddle, usually from a kneeling position.

Kayaking is a way of travelling over water through the use of a kayak, a type of canoe designed to be paddled from a sitting position using a double ended paddle.  Kayaking within the permit scheme includes models generally referred to as closed cockpit kayaks and open cockpit kayaks, and also includes closed cockpit canoes.


Pulling is propelling an open craft primarily by the use of oars where there is fixed seating, and usually includes a coxswain and a crew, although small boats may be used solo.  Scout Groups usually operate Pulling craft.

Rowing is the act of propelling an open craft through the use of oars, where the seat is designed to move. There can be a number of crew in each boat and it can be done with or without a coxswain to keep them on course and in time.

Rafting (Traditional)

Traditional Rafting is the use of a man made raft, often constructed through the use of barrels, poles and rope using pioneering techniques, to travel across water. The raft is usually powered by single bladed paddles, however other methods of propulsion, such as a sail, can also be used.


Dinghy Sailing refers to the type of boats used, small sailing boats, not the type of waters sailed on. Dinghies are no longer than 20 feet, and have no built in accommodation. The direction and speed of the boat are controlled by the use of sails and underwater foils.

Offshore Sailing refers to the type of boats used, not the type of waters sailed on.  Offshore Sailing boats are displacement yachts and usually include built in accommodation. They are powered primarily by sail.


Whenever swimming is organised as an activity for Members of the Movement it is essential that there is one person in overall control of the activity.  The safety rules governing swimming changed in the new edition of POR issued in February 2010.  At present it is necessary to have a Pool qualified Lifeguard when using swimming pools, and a Beach qualified Lifeguard when using open water or at the beach.  This change in rules has caused concern amongst some leaders and as a result they are currently under review.  The latest information on the review can be found on the National website at www.scouts.org.uk.

Other Water Activities

There is a whole host of other water activities that Scouts can take part in including:

Dragon Boating, Jet Skiing, Narrow Boating, Powerboating, Rowing, Wind Surfing, Snorkeling, White Water Rafting, Scuba Diving, Sculling, Water Skiing, Sub Aqua, Surfing and Coasteering.

Further information on these activities can be found in the activities A to Z.

Applying for a Permit

Information on what needs to be done to gain a Water Activities Permit, and the application process, can be found in the Assessment Checklist Documentation of the relevant Permit type under the Assessment Documentation subtitles on the right hand side of this page.