Swimming Merit Badge
- Show that you know first aid for injuries or
illnesses that could occur while swimming, including hypothermia,
dehydration, heat reactions, muscle cramps, stings and bites, cuts and
scrapes, spinal injuries, and hyperventilation.
- Do the following:
- Identify the conditions that must exist before
performing CPR on a person. Explain how to recognize such conditions.
- Demonstrate proper technique for performing CPR
using a training device approved by your counselor.
- Before doing the following requirements, successfully
complete Second Class rank requirements 7a-7c and First Class rank
Second Class rank requirements:
(7a) Tell what precautions must be taken for a safe swim.
(7b) Demonstrate your ability to jump feetfirst 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.
(7c) Demonstrate water rescue methods by reaching 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.
First Class rank requirements:
(9a) Tell what precautions should be taken for a safe trip afloat.
(9b) Before doing the following requirements, successfully complete the
BSA swimmer test:
Jump feetfirst 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.
- Demonstrate survival skills by leaping into deep
water wearing clothes (shoes, socks, swim trunks, long pants, belt, and
long-sleeved shirt). Remove shoes and socks, remove and inflate the
shirt, and show that you can float using the shirt for support. Remove
and inflate the pants for support. Swim 50 feet using the inflated pants
for support, then show how to reinflate the pants while using them for
- 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.
- Do the following:
- Float faceup in a resting position for at least one
- Demonstrate survival floating for at least five
- While wearing a properly fitted personal floatation
device (PFD), demonstrate the HELP and huddle positions. Explain their
- Explain why swimming or survival floating will
hasten the onset of hypothermia in cold water.
- In water over your head, but not to exceed 10 feet,
do each of the following:
- Use the feetfirst method of surface diving and
bring an object up from the bottom.
- Do a headfirst surface dive (pike or tuck) and
bring the object up again.
- Do a headfirst surface dive to a depth of at least
5 feet and swim underwater for three strokes. Come to the surface,
take a breath, and repeat the sequence twice.
- Do ONE of the following:
- Demonstrate snorkeling and scuba diving knowledge:
- Demonstrate selection and fit of mask, snorkel,
and fins; discuss safety in both pool and open-water snorkeling.
- Demonstrate proper use of mask, snorkel, and fins
for underwater search and rescue.
- Describe the sport of scuba diving or snorkeling,
and demonstrate your knowledge of BSA policies and procedures
relating to that sport.
- Demonstrate the following competitive swim skills:
- Racing dive from a pool edge or dock edge (no
elevated dives from racing platforms or starting blocks)
- Racing form for 25 yards on one competitive
stroke (front crawl, back crawl, breaststroke, or butterfly)
- Racing turns for the stroke you chose in 8b2, OR,
if the camp facilities cannot accommodate the racing turn, repeat
8b2 with an additional stroke.
- Describe the sport of competitive swimming.
- In water at least 8 feet deep, show a headfirst dive
(kneeling start, bent-knee start, or standing dive) from a dock
or pool deck. Show a long shallow dive, also from the dock or pool deck.
If a low board (not to exceed 40 inches above water at least 9 feet
deep) is available, show a plain front dive.
- Do the following:
- Explain the health benefits of regular aerobic
exercise, and explain why many people today do not get enough of the
beneficial kinds of exercise.
- Discuss why swimming is favored as both a fitness
and a therapeutic exercise.
- 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.
- Discuss with your counselor the incentives and
obstacles for staying with the fitness program you created 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 willingness and ability to pursue
such a program.