Stages for little kids learning to scull (age range 5 – 12)
- 1) Light Erg use suggested, but not required. Our boat may also be placed on a flat surface (dock or grass) to show squaring and feathering of the oar, as well as the rest of the stroke, before getting on the water. Instruction from a coach is suggested. Watching sculling in person and on video can help, too.
2) Boat held at dock by the stern (sculling stroke taught and practiced). Teach squaring and feathering of the oar; release and recovery; entry (catch) — all with no pressure.
- 3) Boat tethered –- rope held by adult/coach on dock: child learns to scull out, then to scull and back to the dock, and to turn.
- 4) Sculling without a rope: ONLY after they can scull, turn and back, and only when accompanied by an adult (in a single, double or launch).
Guidelines for Adults Sculling or Paddling Beside a Child in a Little Boat
The adult must be able to scull or paddle (e.g., in a kayak) beside the child. They should scull as close to the child as possible, and close to shore (except near swimming areas).
Adults must be able to direct the child safely and close to shore, and assist if (although very unlikely) the child tips. This may mean:
- Staying in their own boat and directing the child to shore to get back in the boat, or
- Being able to maneuver their boat beside the Little Sculling Boat, so they can control it, or
- Getting into the water themselves in the event the child gets stuck under the Little Boat, and freeing the child as quickly as possible.
In general, adults and kids should and avoid water traffic (other boats or swimmers) and stay close to the shore, except when crossing the river or lake to change directions. (It is likely most kids will only want to go for short trips: 1/2 mile to 2 miles total.) We recommend attaching a bicycle flag to the bow or stern so the Little Sculling Boat™ is more visible to others.
Advancing from a Little Sculling Boat™
Kids, when big enough, can move up to a small adult training single. It is important that the equipment not be too big for the kid, for safety, comfort, and good sculling habits.