Do I Need a License to Kayak in Singapore? & How to Get It

Kayaking in Singapore is a great way to explore the city from a different perspective. Imagine paddling through the Marina Bay area, taking in the sights and sounds of the bustling city while enjoying the cool breeze on the water.

But before you hit the water, it’s important to understand the regulations in place to ensure your safety.

The first thing you need to ask yourself is, do I need a license to kayak in Singapore? If so, how to obtain this license?

You need a license from the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) to own a kayak or to paddle in freshwater. However, you don’t need a license if you only rent a kayak or paddle your own kayak in saltwater. In addition, you need to complete a 1-star certificate to rent a kayak.

Continue reading as we dive into the world of kayaking in Singapore and what you need to know before you set off on your adventure.

Do I Need a License to Kayak in Singapore?

a photo of a woman kayaking to answer do i need a license to kayak in singapore

According to the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), a license is required to own a kayak and paddle in salt water.

However, if you plan to rent a kayak, you won’t need a license, but you will need to complete a 1-star certificate, a basic paddling course covering safety, and basic kayaking rules and techniques. 

Acquiring a license when kayaking in Singapore will ensure that you have the proper training and knowledge to navigate the waters safely, as you will have the skills and confidence you need to enjoy kayaking in Singapore while minimizing the risk of accidents.

Speaking of licenses, I have another guide on whether you need a fishing license, which will be helpful if you want to go kayak fishing, so make sure to check it out.

The Difference Between a Kayak Licence and a Kayak Certificate

Regarding kayaking in Singapore, you should be aware of two main types of documents: the kayak license and the kayak certificate.

A kayak license is required for anyone who owns a kayak and wants to use it in freshwater in Singapore.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) and the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) issue the license. The process of getting a license is pretty easy and can be done through authorized training centers.

On the other hand, a kayak certificate, also known as a 1-star certificate, is required for anyone wanting to rent a kayak from a commercial operator or to participate in kayaking activities organized by local operators such as guided tours.

It is a basic paddling course that covers safety and basic kayaking techniques to ensure you’re qualified to operate a kayak on your own.

Both documents are vital to have because they ensure compliance with regulations and guarantee your safety while kayaking in Singapore.

How to Obtain a Kayaking License in Singapore?

Obtaining a kayaking license in Singapore is a relatively straightforward process. Here are the steps you’ll need to take:

  1. Meet the eligibility criteria: To be eligible for a kayak license, you must be at least 14 years old and be able to swim at least 50 meters in open water.
  2. Find an authorized training center: Several authorized training centers in Singapore offer kayak license courses. Do some research and find one that suits your schedule and location.
  3. Finish the course: The course includes both theoretical and practical sessions, which cover topics such as safety, navigation, and basic kayaking techniques.
  4. Pass the exam: After completing the course, you’ll need to pass a pretty simple written and practical exam to demonstrate your kayaking knowledge and skills.
  5. Apply for the license: Once you’ve passed the exam, you can apply for the license through the LTA or the MPA website. You will need to provide a passport-sized photo as well as pay a fee for the license.
  6. Update your license when you need to: Kayak licenses are valid for five years, and you will need to renew your license before it expires.

With the right training, some preparation, and a bit of determination, you’ll be able to obtain a kayak license in Singapore easily.

Safety Guidelines for Kayaking in Singapore

Kayaking can be a fun and exciting activity, but staying safe while on the water is important.

So, here are some safety guidelines that you should keep in mind when kayaking in Singapore:

  1. Wear a Personal Flotation Device (PFD): Always wear a PFD when kayaking. It’s a legal requirement, and it could save your life in case of an emergency.
  2. Check the weather conditions: Before heading out, check the weather forecast and be aware of any potential hazards such as thunderstorms, high winds, or rough seas.
  3. Let someone know your plans: Tell a friend or family member where you’re going and when you expect to return. It’s a good idea to carry a phone in a waterproof bag and have emergency contact numbers with you.
  4. Carry signaling equipment: Carry a whistle or a horn to attract attention in case of an emergency. Also, carry a flashlight or headlamp if you plan to kayak at night.
  5. Stay in designated areas: Kayaking is not allowed in certain areas, such as shipping lanes, military areas, and restricted zones. Check the local regulations and stay in designated areas, especially when kayaking seawater.
  6. Be aware of other boats: Keep an eye out for other boats, and make sure to give them enough space. Remember, kayaks are considered small vessels, and they must obey the rules of the road just like any other boat.
  7. Know your limits: Kayaking can be physically demanding, so it’s important to know your limits and not push yourself too hard. If you’re feeling tired or unwell, head back to shore.

By following these safety guidelines, you can enjoy kayaking in Singapore while minimizing the risk of accidents and ensuring a safe and pleasant experience.


In conclusion, kayaking in Singapore is a fantastic way to explore the city, but you must comply with the regulations set by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA).

You must obtain a license to own and use a kayak in freshwater. However, if you’re only renting a kayak, you don’t need a license; you need to complete a 1-star certificate, which will ensure you learn basic kayaking techniques to operate a kayak on your own safely.

Following safety guidelines is also crucial when kayaking in Singapore or anywhere in the world, so make sure to wear a PFD, check weather conditions, carry signaling equipment, and follow the rules and regulations set by the LTA and MPA.

Now that you know everything you need to know about kayaking regulations in Singapore, grab your kayak, hit the water, and let the adventure begin!

Kayak your way to Freedom

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