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Inflatable Water Craft

We are blessed to have a canoe Trailer and canoes - the Scouts have asked for some personal water craft like SUPs or Kayaks. Not wanting to buy a 2nd trailer, we are considering inflatables but have no experience with them and how well they last. Please share any advise.

Be sure you look at the age-appropriate guidelines for scouting activities and the guide to safe scouting. It says that Personal Watercrafts are only at “approved council programs only” for scouts bsa/venturing/sea scouts. but also has a section for some of the items you listed. I haven’t found anything yet about inflatables.

Hmm - I have always interpreted that entry to be Jetskis


yeah on chart all these are Paddle Sports

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Yea, I was reading the form trying to figure out something for my unit when I saw your question. It seems that they left it a bit vague on that guideline sheet and didnt scour the guide to safe scouting yet. I could be wrong though.

I tend to agree with @DonovanMcNeil that my understanding of the BSA’s entry was jet skis and similar powered vessels, rather than canoes or kayaks (inflatable or otherwise).

The definition I recall learning (not via BSA) about personal watercraft was any vessel on which the passengers/operators are carried on top by sitting, standing or kneeling, rather than being carried within the hull. I don’t recall it specifying powered vessels, although that was certainly the context in which I was learning. I recall thinking that the definition as stated to me meant a stand-up paddleboard and a sit-on-top kayak were PWC, whereas as “standard” kayaks or canoes were not. I chalked it up to yet another failure to be adequately specific in the regulatory language and moved on.

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don’t you love how the bsa is extremely vague on stuff sometimes haha.

Used both inflatable Kayaks (self bailing) and personal (single person with cargo) pontoons on the Yampa and North Platte rivers in Colorado. These rivers do not typically have snags or root wads that may puncture the flotation bladders.

Used a larger pontoon (4 person with cargo) on the Current river in Missouri. The bladders were made of very thick material and resilient to most abuse from snags and wads. I would not want to test them against direct straight on encounter with a sharpened limb, however. Some pontoons and Kayaks have multiple air chambers to prevent it from sinking when one chamber is punctured.

So bottom line, use of inflatables is determined by the condition of the water course and resiliency of the bladder .

Note: Pontoons do not flip sunny side up very easily, so they are safer. You do not need to know how to do the Eskimo roll with an inflatable Kayak. They do no roll and the self bailing feature keeps them upright in most situations.

Personal inflatable Kayaks and pontoons are great fun and they let you get up close and personal with the river!

Need to mention our attempt at running 100,000 cubic feet per second, 30 foot standing waves in the Cataract Canyon on the Colorado river in a 25 person triple pontoon boat. We aborted the run at the last opportunity in Spanish bottom. Many people were puking over the sides from fear on that one. If we weren’t puking our SPF (sphincter pucker factor) was certainly very high.

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