About the Centre

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About Longcraig

On this page: Buildings | Equipment | Staff | Recruitment | Safety

Our Buildings

Longcraig was founded in stages, during the 1970s, by the Edinburgh Scout Association. At first, regular sailing sessions from Longcraig Pier took place – there were no facilities such as showers. All boats had to be brought down from Edinburgh and launched from a trailer. Now, the Centre has improved dramatically: in terms of equipment, facilities, numbers of staff and the number of young people from Edinburgh, the Lothians and worldwide who are taking part in watersports at Longcraig each year. In 1998, a brand new 2-floor activity centre was completed to replace 2 old huts that had previously been used. The new building has many features:

  • a training room providing warm, dry accommodation for teaching sessions
  • a well-equipped workshop to facilitate ongoing maintenance
  • changing rooms with adjoining toilet block
  • kitchen
  • separate staff changing and toilet facilities
  • first aid treatment room
  • office for administration and activity co-ordination
  • lots of specially-designed storage space for boats and other equipment, including a garage for our two safety boats
Buildings at Longcraig Watersports Centre

Our Equipment

Over the years of operation, we have built up a large inventory of watersports equipment suitable for Scout and Guide activities. Because it is not required all the time, we are happy to make it available for hire to responsible persons, and for a reasonable rate. It is not possible to list all the items on this website, but if you are planning a summer camp or water activities not at Longcraig, please contact us to discuss how we can help.  Examples of items which we can supply are :

  • Topper, Vibe and Pico sailing boats
  • Closed cockpit kayaks
  • wetsuits
  • buoyancy aids
  • trailers
  • … and more!
Rafted Kayaks

Our Staff

Longcraig is staffed entirely by volunteers, who have a wide range of qualifications and experience. This includes everyone from the Duty Manager and activity instructors to all administration staff. To be responsible for any group or activity, instructors must fulfil the qualifications and experience requirements as laid down by the Scout Association. As well as this, Longcraig is an affiliated Royal Yachting Association (RYA) as a Training Centre, so additionally has to meet the operating standards of this national organisation. Safety is absolutely paramount at Longcraig – see Safety at Longcraig for more details. The first person you are likely to speak to when booking an activity session is one of the staff at South East Scotland Region HQ which is where availability can also be checked. Training courses, on the other hand, are booked directly with Longcraig – please see Course Bookings for more details. Subsequent arrangements will probably be made with one of our volunteer Admin Staff. They are responsible for much of the “behind-the-scenes” work: from finance, fundraising and publicity, to co-ordinating the staffing rota and bookings. Many of these people are also qualified instructors. The Duty Manager is responsible for co-ordinating the actual activity session on your arrival at Longcraig. His/her role includes liaising with the instructors and assistants at the centre, organising customers into suitable activity groups and having the final say on any safety issues (e.g. weather). There will be a number of Activity Instructors for each activity who are trained to the required standard and have the necessary experience to lead groups of young people. They will have overall control of the activity and its participants. All Activity Instructors must hold a valid Scout Associate Activity Permit and for Guide Association bookings the relevant instructor permits. A Safety Boat Driver is responsible for the immediate safety of all participants. Details about safety are discussed elsewhere, but it is worth noting that a manned safety boat is required at all times during activity sessions or courses. Drivers are qualified and experienced in powerboating and rescue techniques, and are familiar with the characteristics of the water area in which we operate. A crew member will often assist, and during particularly busy sessions two safety boats may be present. Longcraig takes safety of customers and staff very seriously – needless to say we have never had a serious incident in our 30+ years of operating.

Longcraig Staff


Longcraig is run entirely by volunteers, and therefore we are always looking for new staff.

Ideally, you should have experience and qualifications to instruct in your particular activity.
However, we also welcome people who are keen to improve their own skills, while giving some of their time to help with the centre.

Staff should be able to commit one night per week or fortnight, and/or day sessions at the weekend.
But please don’t let this commitment scare you away – we realise it’s your free time, so we do try to be flexible!

In return you’ll get the chance to develop your own skills, mix with people who have similar interests. Established staff are also eligible for financial support for NGB courses.

For more information, please contact us. We’ll be pleased to hear from you and will be happy to chat about how you can get involved.

Supervising activities

Safety at Longcraig


Safety is of paramount importance at Longcraig Scout Centre. As an established RYA and BCU training centre we are required to operate in accordance with their national guidelines. As well as following the guidelines of the Scout Association, all staff must hold appropriate qualifications and skills which are subject to a regular review under Scout Association procedures. Our safety features include the following:

On the water

  • a well-equipped safety boat that must be on the water and running before any activities can start. This is driven by a qualified safety boat driver who has experience of rescue techniques and the local water area.
  • compulsory use of buoyancy aids for all participants and staff
  • Wetsuits (no extra charge) for rafters, kayaers, windsurfers and sailing if required
  • compulsory use of helmets when sailing in toppers, vibes and picos or when rafting
  • VHF radio handsets to allow communication between the safety boat, duty manager, other water users and the Coastguard if necessary
  • a maintenance and replacement programme to ensure that all equipment is safe, seaworthy and capable of regular use
  • first aid room in the centre with a regularly-checked first aid kit
  • a weather assessment before any water activities begin
  • incentives for staff to improve their own skills and experience
  • nearly all staff are qualified first aiders, and we actively encourage others to join training courses
  • our location provides sheltered coastal areas, which can be monitored at all times – particularly useful for Topper sailing where instructors normally supervise from the pier or safety boat

On shore

It should be noted that while on shore, the safety and welfare of participants is the responsibility of the group leader.

General Safety and Child Protection

Many of our staff are active leaders in other areas of Scouting, and consequently have considerable experience in organising and running activities for young people. All instructor courses contain an element of group control, and all new staff are closely monitored during the initial period of their involvement. We are in the process of ensuring that all our staff have participated in the Child Protection workshop, run by the Scout Association. The Scout Association has a clear system for reporting incidents and/or allegations regarding safety, abuse or any other cause for concern for the young people involved in its activities.

Safety boat at Longcraig