BSA Supply No. 35915
No Boy Scout will ignore a plea for help. However, the desire to help is of little use unless one knows how to give the proper aid. The main purpose of the Lifesaving merit badge is to prepare Scouts to assist those involved in water accidents, teaching them the basic knowledge of rescue techniques, the skills to perform them, and the judgment to know when and how to act so that they can be prepared for emergencies.
- Before doing requirements 2 through 15:
Complete Second Class rank requirements 7a through 7c and First Class rank requirements 9a through 9c.
Second Class rank requirements 7a through 7c:
Tell what precautions must be taken for a safe swim.
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.
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.
First Class rank requirements 9a through 9c:
Tell what precautions must be taken for a safe trip afloat.
Successfully complete the BSA swimmer test.
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.)
- Swim continuously for 400 yards using each of the following strokes in a strong manner for at least 50 continuous yards: front crawl, sidestroke, breaststroke, and elementary backstroke.
- Explain the following:
Demonstrate "reaching" rescues using various items such as arms, legs, towels, shirts, paddles, and poles.
Demonstrate "throwing" rescues using various items such as lines, ring buoys, rescue bags, and free-floating supports. Successfully place at least one such aid within reach of a practice victim 25 feet from shore.
Show or explain the use of rowboats, canoes, or other small craft in performing rescues.
List various items that can be used as rescue aids in a noncontact swimming rescue. Explain why buoyant aids are preferred.
Perform the following equipment-based rescues for a conscious practice subject 30 feet from shore. Use a proper entry and a strong approach stroke. Speak to the subject to determine his condition and to provide instructions and encouragement.
- Common drowning situations and how to prevent them.
- How to identify persons in the water who need assistance.
- The order of methods in water rescue.
- How rescue techniques vary depending on the setting and the condition of the person needing assistance.
- Situations for which in-water rescues should not be undertaken.
Explain the importance of avoiding contact with an active victim and describe lead-and-wait tactics.
Perform the following nonequipment rescues for a conscious practice subject 30 feet from shore. Begin in the water from a position near the subject. Speak to the subject to determine his condition and to provide instructions and encouragement.
- Present a rescue tube to the subject, release it, and escort the victim to safety.
- Present a rescue tube to the subject and use it to tow the victim to safety.
- Present a buoyant aid other than a rescue tube to the subject, release it, and escort the victim to safety.
- Present a buoyant aid other than a rescue tube to the subject and use it to tow the victim to safety.
- Remove street clothes in 20 seconds or less and use a nonbuoyant aid, such as a shirt or towel, to tow the subject to safety. Explain when it is appropriate to remove heavy clothing before attempting a swimming rescue.
In deep water, show how to escape from a victim's grasp on your wrist. Repeat for front and rear holds about the head and shoulders.
Perform the following rescues for an unconscious practice subject at or near the surface 30 feet from shore. Use a proper entry and strong approach stroke. Speak to the subject and splash water on him to determine his condition before making contact. Remove the victim from the water, with assistance if needed, and position for CPR.
- Provide a swim-along assist for a calm, responsive, tired swimmer moving with a weak forward stroke.
- Perform an armpit tow for a calm, responsive, tired swimmer resting with a back float.
- Perform a cross-chest carry for an exhausted, passive victim who does not respond to instructions to aid himself.
Describe how to respond if a victim submerges before being reached by a rescuer, and do the following:
- Perform an equipment assist using a buoyant aid.
- Perform a front approach and wrist tow.
- Perform a rear approach and armpit tow.
Demonstrate knowledge of resuscitation procedures:
- Recover a 10-pound weight in 8 to 10 feet of water using a feetfirst surface dive.
- Repeat using a headfirst surface dive.
Demonstrate management of a spinal injury:
- Describe how to recognize the need for rescue breathing and CPR.
- Demonstrate proper CPR technique for at least 3 minutes using a mannequin designed to simulate ventilations and compressions.
Show that you know first aid for other injuries or illnesses that could occur while swimming or boating, including hypothermia, heat reactions, muscle cramps, sunburn, stings, and hyperventilation.
- Explain the signs and symptoms of a spinal injury.
- Support a faceup victim in calm, shallow water.
- Turn a subject from a facedown to a faceup position while maintaining support.
Boy Scout Handbook, No. 33105
Fieldbook, No. 33200
Canoeing, First Aid, Motorboating, Rowing, Small-Boat Sailing, Swimming, Waterskiing, and Whitewater merit badge pamphlets
- Bechdel, Les, and Slim Ray. River Rescue: A Manual for Whitewater Safety. Appalachian Mountain Club, 3rd edition, 1997.
- Ray, Slim. Swiftwater Rescue Field Guide. CFS Press, 1998.
- Walbridge, Charles, and Wayne A. Sundmacher. Whitewater Rescue Manual: New Techniques for Canoeists, Kayakers, and Rafters. McGraw-Hill, 1995.
American Canoe Association
7432 Alban Station Blvd., Suite B-232
Springfield, VA 22150
The association's courses in canoeing and kayaking cover basic safety and rescue training. See their Web site at http://www.aca-paddler.org.
American Red Cross
Local chapters of the American Red Cross offer courses in swimming, community water safety, basic water rescue, small craft safety, lifeguard training, and GuardStart for participants ages 11 to 14. To find the chapter nearest you, visit the ARC's Web site: http://www.redcross.org.
1430 Fenwick Lane
Silver Spring, MD 20910
United States Coast Guard
The Coast Guard's Web site, http://www.uscg.mil
United States Lifesaving Association
P.O. Box 366
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
The USLA is a nonprofit association of professional beach lifeguards. Safety tips and lifeguard certification information can be found on its Web site: http://www.usla.org.
YMCA of the USA
101 North Wacker Drive
Chicago, IL 60606
Local YMCAs offer courses in swimming and lifeguarding. To find the one nearest you, visit the Y's Web site: http://www.ymca.net.
The Lifesaving Society of Canada
The Royal Life Saving Society of Australia
Surf Life Saving Australia Ltd.
The Royal Life Saving Society of the United Kingdom