Mile Swim BSA

Scouts who swim a mile under the supervision of a certified BSA Aquatics Instructor may be presented with the Mile Swim BSA award. The patch is meant to be worn on swim trunks, on the left side.

The award may be earned by members of Scouts BSA, Venturers, and their adult leaders.

Mile Swim BSA Requirements

  1. Explain how regular exercise contributes to good health and why swimming is one of the best forms of exercise.
    • Exercise lowers several risk factors for heart disease, including high blood pressure, being overweight, and high cholesterol.
    • Exercise also results in stronger bones.
    • Swimming is to some degree superior to other forms of exercise because it is a full-body exercise.
    • It also avoids the risk of damage to joints and other parts of the body that may result from activity such as running.
    • See the printable copy below for more details.
  2. Tell what precautions and procedures a swimmer and escort must follow for distance swimming over open water.
    • You must follow all of the requirements of Safe Swim Defense.
    • Courses over extended distances in open water must conform to Safe Swim Defense guidelines regarding hazards such as submerged trees, currents, or boat traffic, as well as water quality, depth, and clarity.
    • See the printable copy below for more details.
  3. Under the supervision of a currently qualified certified aquatics instructor, BSA or equivalent, participate in 4 hours of training and preparation for distance swimming (1 hour a day maximum).
    • The participant must first prepare before swimming a continuous mile.
    • Four conditioning sessions of an hour each are appropriate.
  4. Swim 1 mile over a measured course that has been approved by the trained instructor who will supervise the swim.
    • After preparing, you can attempt to swim the mile.
    • Normally this is done at summer camp.
    • You might swim many short loops in a swimming pool, or a longer circuit in a lake.

Go the extra mile with the related ideas and achievements at the bottom of this post.


Print The Requirements

This also includes more detailed answers for requirements 1 and 2.

Video Explanation

See and here more about how to earn this award with this video.

national outdoor awards aquatics

National Outdoor Award Aquatics Segment Requirements

A Scout who completes the Mile Swim has already completed one of the requirements for this award. To complete the requirements for the National Outdoor Award Aquatics Segment, a Scout or Venturer must be a proficient swimmer, have some lifesaving skills, complete the mile swim, and spend some time enjoying aquatics adventures such as swimming, paddling, fishing, or scuba diving.

Swimming Program Feature

Swimming Troop Program Feature for Scouts BSA

The Swimming program feature helps Scouts learn how to safely enjoy fun and physical activity in the water. Scouts also need to know how to swim to enjoy other aquatics activities such as boating and paddling.

BSA Swim Test

BSA Swim Test

The BSA swim test is used to determine ability level so that participants can swim in an area which is appropriate for them.

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