Bell boating

Includes: bell boating Outdoors, Adventure, Sports, Water

Activity time:
1 meeting


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Boating for beginners

A bell boat is like two canoes rolled into one. It's a great team sport created specifically to remove the fear of taking part so it's perfect for paddle-sport beginners!


A bell boat is a twin-hulled open canoe that seats either 8 or 14 girls, plus the helm.

To take girls bell boating, you will need to find a reputable local provider.

Planning checklist

Safety notes

When offering this activity to participants under the age of 18, and in sea, tidal or inland water that is more than 50 metres from land, the provider must be licenced by the Adventurous Activities Licencing Authority.

You can verify the quality of a provider by checking it has one of the following endorsements: Adventuremark or LotC Quality Badge for Adventure.

AALA and the above endorsements are not applicable in Northern Ireland, where you should ask your local Outdoor Activities Adviser to recommend an approved provider.

Instructors should hold one of the following qualifications:

British Canoeing Bell Boat Helm Award

British Canoeing canoe/kayak coach qualification along with knowledge of the philosophy and handling techniques of bell boats.

If alternative qualifications are held, please seek advice from your Outdoor Activities Adviser or British Canoeing, or contact [email protected] to ensure the instructor’s qualification is appropriate to the nature of the activity.

To do bell boating girls must be able to:

  • swim 50 metres
  • keep afloat for five minutes in the clothes normally worn for the activity.

Girls may fulfil these rules wearing a buoyancy aid or life jacket when either is required for the activity.

If a girl has a medical condition that will affect her ability to swim, ensure that you inform the instructor and make provision to allow her to participate safely.

The Leader must:

  • make sure that safety rules and alarm signals have been explained to the girls, and the need for instructions to be obeyed immediately
  • make sure the required buoyancy aids/life jackets are used
  • follow water safety guidelines and ensure that the responsible adult helpers are familiar with them.

Water should be inspected for signs of visible pollution, for example rubbish, blue green algae or chemicals.

Make sure girls and parents are aware of the dangers and symptoms of Weil's disease and what action to take if infection is suspected. On the day of the activity participants should be advised to cover cuts and grazes with waterproof plasters to help prevent infection.

Read our guidance on water activities.

Section Number of girls per adult
Rainbows 5
Brownies 8
Guides 12

How many adults are needed?

Use this calculator to find out the ratio of girls to adults that is required for this activity

2 adults needed


  • An Activity Information and Consent form is required to participate in this activity - PDF | Word
  • A Risk Assessment form is required for this activity - PDF

Remember - you can use one consent form for multiple activities