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Revision as of 00:37, June 15, 2019

Resources include the Rowing merit badge worksheet in PDF format Adobe Acrobat PDF and Word format Microsoft Word DOC document, links, and cross-references to related badges and awards.
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Rowing merit badge
Status: Elective
Created: 1933
Discontinued: no
BSA Advancement ID: 098
Requirements revision: 2019
Latest pamphlet revision: 2014


Rowing is the use of oars as a means of propelling boats, has grown from a basic method of transportation to a competitive sport and an enjoyable method of exercising.

Rowing merit badge requirements

  1. Do the following:
    1. Explain to your counselor the most likely hazards you may encounter while participating in rowing activities, including weather- and water-related hazards, and what you should do to anticipate, help prevent, mitigate, and respond to these hazards.
    2. Review prevention, symptoms, and first-aid treatment for the following injuries or illnesses that can occur while rowing: blisters, hypothermia, heat-related illnesses, dehydration, sunburn, sprains, and strains.
    3. Review the BSA Safety Afloat policy. Explain to your counselor how this applies to rowing activities.
  2. Before doing the following requirements, successfully complete the BSA swimmer test.
  3. Review the characteristics of life jackets most appropriate for rowing and why one must always be worn while rowing. Then demonstrate how to select and fit a life jacket.
  4. Do ONE of the following:
    1. Alone or with a passenger, do the following in either a fixed-seat or sliding-seat rowboat:
      1. Launch.
      2. Row in a straight line for 100 yards. Stop, pivot, and return to the starting point.
      3. Backwater in a straight line for 25 yards. Make a turn underway and return to the starting point.
      4. Land and moor or rack your craft.
      5. Tie the following mooring knots—clove hitch, roundturn with two half-hitches, bowline, Wellman’s knot, and mooring hitch.
    2. Participate as a rowing team member in a competitive rowing meet. The team may be sponsored by a school, club, or Scout unit. The meet must include competition between two or more teams with different sponsors. Complete at least 10 hours of team practice prior to the meet.
  5. Do ONE of the following:
    1. In a fixed-seat rowboat, come alongside a pier and help a passenger into the boat. Pull away from the pier, change positions with your passenger, and demonstrate sculling over the stern or side. Resume your rowing position, return alongside the pier, and help your passenger out of the boat.
    2. In a sliding-seat rowboat, come alongside a pier and, with your buddy assisting you, get out onto the pier. Help your buddy into the boat. Reverse roles with your buddy and repeat the procedure.
  6. Participate in a swamped boat drill including righting and stabilizing the craft, reboarding in deep water, and making headway. Tell why you should stay with a swamped boat.
  7. Alone in a rowboat, push off from the shore or a pier. Row 20 yards to a swimmer. While giving instructions to the swimmer, pivot the boat so that the swimmer can hold on to the stern. Tow the swimmer to shore.
  8. Describe the following:
    1. Types of craft used in commercial, competitive, and recreational rowing.
    2. Four common boatbuilding materials. Give some positive and negative points of each.
    3. Types of oarlocks used in competitive and recreational rowing.
  9. Discuss the following:
    1. The advantage of feathering oars while rowing
    2. Precautions regarding strong winds and heavy waves, and boat-handling procedures in rough water and windstorms
    3. How to properly fit out and maintain a boat in season, and how to prepare and store a boat for winter
    4. How to determine the proper length of oars
    5. The differences between fixed-seat and sliding-seat rowing
    6. The different meanings of the term sculling in fixed- and sliding-seat rowing
    7. The health benefits from rowing for exercise

The official source for the information shown in this article or section is:
Scouts BSA Requirements, 2019 Edition (BSA Supply SKU #648914)

View the change list (history) of these requirements. The text of these requirements may be locked. In that case, they can only be edited
by an administrator.
Please note any errors found in the above requirements on this article's Talk Page.


Worksheet A FREE workbook for Rowing is available here! (PDF or Word) with the maps, charts, links, diagrams, and checklists you need! Or click here to print just the Rowing requirements. has PDF and Word versions of workbooks for Scouts BSA ranks and merit badges, Cub Scouting ranks and adventures, and STEM Nova awards.

Rowing merit badge is an option for the National Outdoor Badge for Aquatics.
The Rowing merit badge is an option for the Up and Away STEM Nova Award.
  1. Rowing is a popular summer camp merit badge.

Requirement resources

1-2: First Aid
1. Heat Reactions - Dehydration - Contusions - Lacerations - Blisters
2. CPR
3. BSA Swim Test: Diving also has the feetfirst jump in - Sidestroke - Breaststroke - Trudgen Crawl - Backstroke - Swimming Turns - Floating
4. The BSA Safety Afloat policy you need is in the Rowing Worksheet.
Personal Flotation Device
8. Row

Related Ranks, Awards, and Merit Badges

  1. Rowing merit badge meets Sea Scout Ordinary rank (requirement 6).
Aquatic-related awards

See also

Scouts BSA portal
Venturing portal
Sea Scout portal
General Merit Badge information

External links

Personal tools