BSA Whitewater Merit Badge

The Boy Scouts of America merit badge program is designed to introduce Scouts to subjects that are pertinent to outdoor activities, safety and also topics that Scouts may be interested in pursuing as a career or vocation. Merit badges are awarded to Scouts after completing a series of requirements within an area of study. Merit badges are usually earned in a class setting at troop meetings or at summer camps. Instructors for each topic must be Merit Badge counselor as designated by a Boy Scout council.

Crab Apple Whitewater employs counselors in a unique merit badge course: the whitewater merit badge. The Whitewater Merit Badge program at Crab Apple is a hands-on course with both instructors and participants in different whitewater rafting crafts for the day.

There are a total of 13 requirements to complete the whitewater merit badge. Requirements include:

  • First Aid for whitewater rafting related injuries or illnesses
  • Knowledge of the BSA Safety Afloat guidelines
  • Use of safety equipment on moving water – throw ropes, PFD’s, whistles
  • Canoe or Kayak merit badge (prior completion)
  • Canoe or Kayak gate test
  • Knowledge of scouting rapids and reading whitewater
  • Understanding of the International Scale of River Difficulty
  • Understanding the importance and skills used in communication on the river
  • Knowledge of different types of canoes, kayaks and paddles
  • Packing and understanding all gear needed for a whitewater trip
  • Specific Kayak or Canoe paddling skills
  • Self-Rescue skills, portaging and the whitewater buddy system
  • Knowledge of inflatable craft on moving water
  • Completion of a whitewater trip in canoe or kayak on Class I and II whitewater

The Whitewater Merit Badge is easy to obtain through Crab Apple Whitewater. Crab Apple’s base in Massachusetts sits along a reservoir formed by a downstream dam on the Deerfield River. Morning instruction on the reservoir covers all of the skills needed in a kayak or canoe. Each scout has their own boat to practice and then demonstrate the new skills to the whitewater merit badge counselor. A lunch break gives time for the discussion of classroom topics and visual aids with the counselors. The afternoon is spent kayaking an eight mile Class I and II section of the Deerfield River in inflatable kayaks called “funyaks”. The trip is guided by the Whitewater Merit Badge counselors.

The Whitewater Merit Badge is a unique badge that few scouts obtain. The patch looks great on a scout’s uniform. Look into booking a Whitewater Merit Badge class for your trip at Crab Apple Whitewater in Charlemont, Massachusetts.


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