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  • Introductions

  • Learning ObjectivesAs a result of this session, you should:

    Understand & appreciate important aspects of Venturing Aquatics Safety

    Be able to organize and conduct a safe Crew activity both On and In the water

  • Have a thorough working knowledge of Safe Swim Defense (SSD) and Safety Afloat (SA) and be able to apply them to assure safe Crew activities

    Have a working knowledge of the special modifications to SSD/SA for specialized or advanced aquatics activities

    Understand what Aquatics Activities are PROHIBITED

  • Disclaimer.This session presents applicable Aquatics Safety information for Venturing activities at the Unit levelThis session does not cover the unique rules, regulations, policy and procedures applicable to District and Council sponsored activitiesThis session does not cover the unique rules, regulations, policy and procedures applicable to Boy Scout or Cub Scout activities

  • Who Can TeachSafe Swim Defense and Safety afloat training can be given by any person authorized by the council, including a BSA Aquatics resource person, a unit leader with aquatics skill, or any other person with aquatics knowledge or experience whom the local council has approved.



  • Safe Swim DefenseWhat is the requirement before a Crew engages in swimming activity?

    Minimum of one adult leader must:

    Complete Safe Swim Defense training

    Have a commitment card with them

    Agree to use the eight points of the plan

  • Eight Points ofSafe Swim DefenseQualified supervisionPhysical fitnessSafe areaLifeguards on dutyLookoutAbility groupsBuddy systemDiscipline

  • 1. Qualified SupervisionMature and conscientious adult, 21 or overAccepts responsibility for safety of youthExperienced in the waterConfident of ability to respond to an emergencyTrained and committed to eight points of SSDNot necessarily a SwimmerStrongly recommended at least one adult or older youth qualified as BSA lifeguard

  • 2. Physical FitnessEvidence of physical fitness (complete health history from parent / physician)Require a physical if problems are identifiedThose with disabilities can be accommodated if they are known and precautions taken

  • 3. Safe AreaThree groupsMaximum depth 3.5 feet for non-swimmersJust over head for beginnersMaximum 12 feet for swimmersBottom- clear of obstructions & hazardsBoundariesbuoys, linesDiving, jumpingVisibility of swimmers / clarity of waterSurface swimming only in turbid water

  • 4. Lifeguards on DutySwim only when lifeguards are on dutyRecommended, not required to be certifiedThe unit may designate two strong swimmersEquipped with a lifeline (100 ft of 3/8 nylon)One goes, other pulls rescuer and rescuee inRowboat, reach/throw/go devices are goodOne lifeguard for every 10 swimmers, min 2

  • 5. LookoutLookout can see everywhereMay be the adult in chargeNot Necessary to be a swimmer

  • 6. Ability GroupsNon-swimmers, beginners, swimmersBeginners: jump feet first in water over head, swim 25 feet, stop, turn, return to starting pointSwimmers: jump feet first in water over head, swim 75 yards strongly using sidestroke, breaststroke, trudgeon, or crawl. Then swim 25 yards using resting backstroke. No stops, one sharp turn, followed by floating.Annual testing; note parental certification on Venturing Approval by Parents form

  • 7. Buddy SystemPair by ability groupCheck-in / check-out togetherLookout, guards and buddies should ensure buddies stay together

  • 8. DisciplineSwimming is allowed only with proper supervision and complete Safe Swim Defense

    Review the rules before the outing

    Review the rules on the beach

    Enforce the rules fairly and consistently

  • Eight Points ofSafe Swim DefenseQualified supervisionPhysical fitnessSafe areaLifeguards on dutyLookoutAbility groupsBuddy systemDiscipline

  • Pool and Surf You may use facility personnel as your lifeguards and lookouts, but maintain the buddy system

    Surf brings possibility of wave action, currents, undertow, rip, jellyfish, etc. and precautions/training of participants should be taken prior and during the activity

  • Other In-The-Water ActivitiesDiving and Elevated Entry into the waterThere are additional requirements when diving and/or entry is involved

    SCUBA and SnorkelingSCUBA and Snorkeling have their own safety recommendations and proceduresThese supplement and in some portion supersede Safe Swim Defense

  • Be sure to check and follow-Facility rules/policies if applicableLocal, State, Federal and International Law, rules and regulations

  • Questions?

  • Certificate

  • ResourcesWho can teach SSD to your Crew?As a Unit Leader YOU CAN and YOU SHOULDWhat are your teaching resources?Guide to Safe Scouting, available online at www.scouting.org/pubs/gss , the Safe Swim Defense pamphlet, video, and these slidesWho are your lifeguard/supervision resources?Adults and Youth in your CrewFacility personnelExpert Consultants


  • Diving SafetyDiving refers to other than feet first entryAll entries feet first in water less than 7All entries feet first in turbid water (a 12 white disk is not visible at 3)Diving allowed from dock/platform/pier no higher than 18 off the water in 7 waterDiving allowed from 18-40 in 9-12 water.Diving clearance should be 15 on sides, 25 in front of dive location

  • Elevated EntryEntries from 40-60 should be feet first in 10-12 deep water with 15 side and 25 forward clearance.


  • Snorkeling, BSA- TrainingIs required prior to Open Water SnorkelingSnorkeling, BSA may given by anyBSA Aquatics Instructor or a Person trained and assigned by a BSA Aquatics InstructorPerson certified to conduct Snorkeling training by PADI, NAUI or other BSA recognized agencyTraining consists of three 45 minute sessions and is conducted in clear, confined water with a maximum depth of 12

  • Snorkeling- Recreational Open Water

  • What is the requirement before a Crew engages in a Snorkeling activity?Minimum of one adult leader must:Complete Safe Swim Defense trainingHave a commitment card with themUnderstand Snorkeling SafetyAgree to use the eight points of the planPossesses skills and knowledge matching the Snorkeling, BSA award.

  • Snorkeling Safety ModificationsQualified supervisionPhysical fitnessSafe areaProper EquipmentLifeguards/LookoutAbility groupsBuddy systemDiscipline

  • 3. Safe AreaTraining- Clear water, pool recommendedOpen Water-Clear Water, daylight conditionsTemporary area of flexible extentIn a natural body of waterNeed not have boundary markersGenerally a 50 radius around a reference on shore, a boat or a float

  • Consider/plan emergency response

    Guards should be able to both see and reach the bottom or participants should wear flotation equipment

    Watch for excessive currents

    River snorkeling may require upstream entry, downstream exit

  • Adjust time in water based on temperature and sun exposure

    Consider dive cancellation/abbreviation for worsening/unexpected adverse conditionsWater depth/clarityWeatherHostile Marine lifeBottom conditionsVegetation

  • 4. Proper EquipmentIn good conditionProperly fittedInflatable Snorkeling Vests or PFDs can be used at discretion of the Supervisor-When bottom not visibleWhen there is noticeable current/swellsWhen > 50yards from shoreIf participant ability dictates

  • Use Dive Flag in all open water sitesDive Flags and their use should follow local/state/federal regulationsProtective clothing/wet suits may be wornWeight belts may not be usedLifesaving equipment ready for immediate use and in good repair-Flotation device such as rescue tube, PFD, reaching/throwing devices, body board/small craft are recommended as appropriate

  • Dive Boats (if appropriate)RadioFirst Aid kitDeploy safety line

  • 5. Lifeguards/Lookouts2 guards per group of 2-8 snorkelers

    If more than one group, a lookout is required

  • Lookout may also be the supervisorLookout Should have audible/visible means to recall all the groupsIf using a boat, Lookout should remain aboard and be skilled in using it and its radioLookout and Guards must know the number of people in the water at all timesBuddy boards/tags or equivalent must be used to account for everyone in the water and on their return

  • 6. Ability GroupsBeginners and Non-swimmers may only use equipment in appropriate depth, confined, clear water during instruction and closely supervised recreational activityTraining for, and award of Snorkeling, BSA is limited to SwimmersSnorkeling, BSA completion is required for open water snorkeling

  • 7. Buddy SystemAll participants are paired as buddiesCheck-in / check-out togetherBefore the activity, they shouldCheck each others equipmentReview hand signalsLookout, guards and buddies should ensure buddies stay togetherBreath hold diving done one person at a time, with their buddy remaining at surface

  • SCUBASelf Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus

  • SCUBA, BSA- Introductory TrainingIs an introductory course that introduces some of SCUBA divingsSpecial skillsEquipmentSafety PrecautionsIs taught by a SCUBA Instructor, currently certified by NAUI, PADI, SSI or other recognized agency

  • Is designed to be educationalIs designed to be funIs conducted in a swimming pool or an established waterfront with pool-like visibility under close supervision of the certified InstructorIS NOT a Dive