By completing the requirements for the Swimming merit badge, Scouts learn to safely enjoy activities in the water. They learn about water rescue methods and swimming strokes. Then they show that they have the skills to safely participate in aquatics activities.
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 Resources
Help with Answers for Swimming Merit Badge Requirements
Find specific helps for some of the Swimming merit badge requirements listed below. Some of these resources will just give the answers. Others will provide engaging ways for older Scouts to introduce these concepts to new Scouts.
Swimming Merit Badge Requirement 1: Safe Swim Defense
Requirement 1 Helps and Answers
Safe Swim Defense provides the steps which a BSA unit must take to safely participate in an activity which involves swimming. Learn more.
BSA regulations state:
BSA groups shall use Safe Swim Defense for all swimming activities. Adult leaders supervising a swimming activity must have completed Safe Swim Defense training within the previous two years.
Learn how to avoid and treat hypothermia.
To prevent dehydration, drink plenty of fluids and eat foods high in water such as fruits and vegetables.
You can usually reverse mild to moderate dehydration by drinking more fluids, but severe dehydration needs immediate medical treatment.
- Slip – on sun-protective clothing (make sure it covers as much skin as possible).
- Slop – on SPF (sun protection factor) 30 or higher broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen. Apply 20 minutes before going outdoors and reapply every 2 hours.
- Slap – on a broad-brimmed hat that protects your face, head, neck and ears.
- Seek – shade.
- Slide – on wrap-around sunglasses with UVA and UVB protection
- Get out of the sun.
- Take frequent cool baths or showers to help relieve the pain.
- Use a moisturizer that contains aloe vera or soy to help soothe sunburned skin.
- Consider taking ibuprofen to help reduce any swelling, redness and discomfort.
- Drink extra water.
- If your skin blisters, allow the blisters to heal.
- Take extra care to protect sunburned skin while it heals.
Learn how to recognize the symptoms and treat these dangerous conditions.
A muscle cramp is a sudden and involuntary contraction of one or more of your muscles.
Muscle cramps are a common condition, especially among athletes. Common causes are dehydration, lack of proper warmup, mineral deficiencies, and over-exertion.
If you get a cramp, stretch and apply an ice pack.
This animation explains what hyperventilation exactly is. What is the cause of hyperventilation and what are the possible symptoms? And how do you stop it?
- Call 911 or emergency medical help.
- Keep the person still. Place heavy towels or rolled sheets on both sides of the neck or hold the head and neck to prevent movement.
- Avoid moving the head or neck. Provide as much first aid as possible without moving the person’s head or neck.
- Don’t roll alone. If you must roll the person you need at least one other person. With one of you at the head and another along the side of the injured person, work together to keep the person’s head, neck and back aligned while rolling the person onto one side.
Stings can cause severe reactions in some people. When they happen, they’re emergencies. Seek immediate emergency treatment.
About 2 million Americans have allergies to the venom of stinging bugs. If a person is allergic to bee stings, they may also be allergic to yellow jackets, wasps, and hornets. Many of these people are at risk for life-threatening allergic reactions. A person who knows they have a severe allergy should carry an epipen with them and ensure that other people know about the allergy.
Swimming Merit Badge Requirement 2: BSA Swimmer Test
Requirement 2 Helps and Answers
- Jump feet first into water over the head, level off, and begin swimming.
- Swim 75 yards in a strong manner using one or more of the following strokes: side, breast, trudgen, or crawl. Swim 25 yards using an easy, resting backstroke.
- The 100 yards must be completed without stops and must include at least one sharp turn.
- Rest by floating long enough to demonstrate ability to rest when exhausted.
Swimming Merit Badge Requirement 3: Swimming Strokes
Requirement 3 Helps and Answers
Swimming Merit Badge Requirement 4: Water Rescue Methods
Requirement 4 Helps and Answers
How to Do a Reach Rescue
- Brace yourself by lying down or grasping something on shore so you are not pulled in yourself
- Extend your free hand to the victim to pull them
- To extend your reach, use a paddle, pole, shirt or towel
How to Do a Throw Rescue
- Select an item which floats.
- It does not have to have a line attached, although that is better.
- Throw the item to within the victim’s reach, but do not hit the victim in the head, which could cause injury.
- Allow for wind and current when aiming your throw.
- If you miss, try again by pulling the item back in (if it is attached to a line) or by throwing another item.
Why Avoid Contact with a Drowning Victim?
The victim may panic and try to hold on to the rescuer. This can drag the rescuer down also.
Swimming Merit Badge Requirement 5: Water Survival
Requirement 5 Helps and Answers
Why Swimming or Survival Floating Will Hasten the Onset of Hypothermia
Because your body is extended, more of it is exposed to the cold water, causing you to lose heat faster. The HELP position protects the body’s three major areas of heat loss – the groin, head, and rib cage/armpits. Huddling also lessens the loss of body heat.
Swimming Merit Badge Requirement 6: Surface Dives
Requirement 6 Helps and Answers
This video shows feetfirst and headfirst surface dive techniques.
Swimming Merit Badge Requirement 7: Headfirst Dives
Swimming Merit Badge Requirement 8: Health Benefits of Swimming
Requirement 8 Helps and Answers
The Health Benefits of Swimming
- Builds endurance and cardiovascular fitness
- Improves muscle strength
- Is a good full body workout
- Helps maintain a healthy weight
- Helps develop a healthy heart and lungs
- Minimizes impact on joints
- Is relaxing
This 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. It includes some general information and some more specific ideas for meetings and troop activities.
To complete the requirements for the National Outdoor Award Adventure 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.
Up and Away is the Scouts BSA Nova Award for investigating fluid dynamics. The Swimming merit badge can be used to complete some of the requirements for this STEM award.
This is a game which can be used while developing swimming skills.