Swimming Merit Badge

Swimming Merit Badge for Boy Scouts

Our first year Boy Scouts almost always work on Swimming merit badge at summer camp. At our council camps, it is always integrated into the program for first year campers. This works well because the requirements for this badge overlap with the aquatics requirements for Second Class and First Class.

Some of them seem to have difficulty with the part where they have to make a flotation device out of their clothes.  Fortunately, our older Scouts are always willing to offer lots of advice about what worked for them. It’s not unusual to see the older guys lending clothes out which they think will work well.

Either the Cycling merit badge OR the Hiking merit badge OR the Swimming merit badge is required for the rank of Eagle Scout. Scouts who earn more than one of these badges may count the additional badges as electives.

Swimming Merit Badge Requirements

  1. Discuss the prevention of and treatment for health concerns that could occur while swimming, including hypothermia, dehydration, sunburn, heat exhaustion, heatstroke, muscle cramps, hyperventilation, spinal injury, stings and bites, and cuts and scrapes.
  2. Do the following:
    1. Identify the conditions that must exist before performing CPR on a person. Explain how to recognize such conditions.
    2. Demonstrate proper technique for performing CPR using a training device approved by your counselor.
  3. Before doing the following requirements, successfully complete Second Class rank requirements 8a through 8c and First Class rank requirements 9a through 9c.
    • (8a) Tell what precautions must be taken for a safe swim.
    • (8b) Demonstrate your ability to jump feet first into water over your head in depth, level off and swim 25 feet on the surface, stop, turn sharply, resume swimming, then return to your starting place.
    • (8c) Demonstrate water rescue methods by reaching with your arm or leg, by reaching with a suitable object, and by throwing lines and objects. Explain why swimming rescues should not be attempted when a reaching or throwing rescue is possible, and explain why and how a rescue swimmer should avoid contact with the victim.
    • (9a) Tell what precautions must be taken for a safe trip afloat.
    • (9b) Before doing the following requirement, successfully complete the BSA swimmer test: Jump feet first into water over your head in depth, swim 75 yards in a strong manner using one or more of the following strokes: sidestroke, breaststroke, trudgen, or crawl; then swim 25 yards using an easy, resting backstroke. The 100 yards must be swum continuously and include at least one sharp turn. After completing the swim, rest by floating.
    • (9c) With a helper and a practice victim, show a line rescue both as tender and as rescuer. The practice victim should be approximately 30 feet from shore in deep water.
  4. Demonstrate survival skills by jumping feet first into deep water wearing clothes (shoes, socks, swim trunks, long pants, belt, and long-sleeved shirt). Remove shoes and socks, inflate the shirt, and show that you can float using the shirt for support. Remove and inflate the pants. Swim 50 feet using the inflated pants for support, then show how to reinflate the pants while still afloat.
  5. Swim continuously for 150 yards using the following strokes in good form and in a strong manner: front crawl or trudgen for 25 yards, back crawl for 25 yards, sidestroke for 25 yards, breaststroke for 25 yards, and elementary backstroke for 50 yards.
  6. Do the following:
    1. Float face up in a resting position for at least one minute.
    2. Demonstrate survival floating for at least five minutes.
    3. While wearing a properly fitted personal flotation device (PFD), demonstrate the HELP and huddle positions. Explain their purposes.
    4. Explain why swimming or survival floating will hasten the onset of hypothermia in cold water.
  7. In water over your head, but not to exceed 10 feet, do each of the following:
    1. Use the feet first method of surface diving and bring an object up from the bottom.
    2. Do a headfirst surface dive (pike or tuck), and bring the object up again.
    3. Do a headfirst surface dive to a depth of at least five feet and swim underwater for three strokes. Come to the surface, take a breath, and repeat the sequence twice.
  8. Do ONE of the following:
    1. a. Demonstrate snorkeling and scuba diving knowledge:
      1. Demonstrate selection and fit of mask, snorkel, and fins; discuss safety in both pool and open-water snorkeling.
      2. Demonstrate proper use of mask, snorkel, and fins for underwater search and rescue.
      3. Describe the sport of scuba diving or snorkeling, and demonstrate your knowledge of BSA policies and procedures relating to that sport.
    2. OR Demonstrate the following competitive swimming skills:
      1. Racing dive from a pool edge or dock edge (no elevated dives from racing platforms or starting blocks)
      2. Racing form for 25 yards on one competitive stroke (front crawl, back crawl, breaststroke, or butterfly)
      3. Racing turns for the stroke that you chose in 8b(2), OR, if the camp facilities cannot accommodate the racing turn, repeat 8b(2) with an additional stroke.
      4. Describe the sport of competitive swimming.
  9. Following the guidelines set in the BSA Safe Swim Defense, in water at least 7 feet deep, show a standing headfirst dive from a dock or pool deck. Show a long shallow dive, also from the dock or pool deck.
  10. Do the following:
    1. Explain the health benefits of regular aerobic exercise, and explain why many people today do not get enough of the beneficial kinds of exercise.
    2. Discuss why swimming is favored as both a fitness and a therapeutic exercise.
    3. Write a plan for a swimming exercise program that will promote aerobic/vascular fitness, strength and muscle tone, body flexibility, and weight control for a person of Scout age. Identify resources and facilities available in your home community that would be needed for such a program.
    4. Discuss with your counselor the incentives and obstacles for staying with the fitness program you identified in requirement 10c. Explain the unique benefits that could be gained from this program, and discuss how personal health awareness and self-discipline would relate to your own willingness and ability to pursue such a program.

2 Responses to Swimming Merit Badge for Boy Scouts

  1. Anonymous April 22, 2012 at 8:42 PM #

    your page really helped me to get this merit done that I’m working on
    Thanks
    jared angle

  2. will June 6, 2013 at 5:52 PM #

    i am a tenderfoot scout and i am going to my first year at summer camp soon
    i need the answers to it
    can you please give them to me
    PLEASE!!!

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