Stand up paddleboards can be spotted on many American waterways, appear as program features at Scout camps, and will be a highlight at the 2013 National Scout Jamboree.

The BSA Outdoor Program Group, in association with BSA Health and Safety, has approved a new award to prepare Scouts to safely enjoy this rapidly expanding paddle sport.

An application and brochure for the BSA Stand Up Paddleboarding award will be available this summer. Information on stand up paddleboarding, or SUP as it is popularly known, has also been added to the latest edition of Aquatics Supervision.

The award introduces Scouts to SUP basics on calm water, including skills, equipment, self-rescue, and safety precautions. In addition to life jackets, required by Coast Guard regulations, state codes, and BSA Safety Afloat, the brochure discusses other important safety equipment, such as a leash and footwear, and the differences between paddling on calm water, on flowing water, and in the surf.

The safety information and the skill instructions were developed in cooperation with the American Canoe Association.

Unit leaders should update their online training in Safety Afloat in preparation for this year’s boating season, whether their units are enjoying the water by earning the new SUP award or in other craft.

May 18–24 is National Safe Boating Week. Free resources are available at