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Swimming Merit Badge requirement resources include the Merit Badge Worksheet Adobe Acrobat PDF,
lesson video links, Swimming Skills, and links to related Merit Badges and Boy Scout Awards.
The Troop Aquatics Monthly Theme includes meeting and activity materials.
Swimming is a popular Summer Camp Merit badge and an option for Eagle Scout.
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Swimming and other award requirements were revised on January 1, 2009.
This is the Boy Scout Swimming Merit Badge.
Webelos Scouts can earn the Webelos Aquanaut Activity Badge
Cub Scouts & Webelos Scouts can earn the Cub Scout Swimming Belt Loop & Pin.
Swimming merit badge
Status: Eagle-required
Created: 1911
Discontinued: no
BSA Advancement ID: 014
Requirements revision: 2009
Latest pamphlet revision: 2008


Swimming requirements

  1. Discuss the prevention and treatment for health concerns that could occur while swimming, including hypothermia, dehydration, sunburn, heat exhaustion, heatstroke, muscle cramps, hyperventilation, spinal injury, stings and bites, and cuts and scrapes.
  2. Do the following:
    a. Identify the conditions that must exist before performing CPR on a person. Explain how to recognize such conditions
    b. Demonstrate proper technique for performing CPR using a training device approved by your counselor.
  3. Before doing the following requirements, successfully complete Second Class rank requirements 7a-7c and First Class rank requirements 9a-9c.
    Second Class rank requirements:
    7.a. Tell what precautions must be taken for a safe swim.
    7.b. 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.
    7.c. Demonstrate water rescue methods by reaching with your arm or leg, 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:
    9.a. Tell what precautions should be taken for a safe trip afloat.
    9.b. 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.
    9.c. 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).
  4. Demonstrate survival skills by jumping feetfirst into deep water wearing clothes (shoes, socks, swim trunks, long pants, belt, and long-sleeved shirt). Remove shoes and socks, 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 still afloat.
  5. 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.
  6. Do the following:
    a. Float faceup in a resting position for at least one minute.
    b. Demonstrate survival floating for at least five minutes.
    c. While wearing a properly fitted personal floatation device (PFD), demonstrate the HELP and huddle positions. Explain their purposes.
    d. Explain why swimming or survival floating will hasten the onset of hypothermia in cold water.
  7. In water over your head, but not to exceed 10 feet, do each of the following:
    a. Use the feetfirst method of surface diving and bring an object up from the bottom.
    b. Do a headfirst surface dive (pike or tuck), and bring the object up again.
    c. 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.
  8. Do ONE of the following:
    a. Demonstrate snorkeling and scuba diving knowledge:
    1. Demonstrate selection and fit of mask, snorkel, and fins; discuss safety in both pool and open-water snorkeling.
    2. Demonstrate proper use of mask, snorkel, and fins for underwater search and rescue.
    3. Describe the sport of scuba diving or snorkeling, and demonstrate your knowledge of BSA policies and procedures relating to that sport.
    b. Demonstrate the following competitive swimming skills:
    1. Racing dive from a pool edge or dock edge (no elevated dives from racing platforms or starting blocks)
    2. Racing form for 25 yards on one competitive stroke (front crawl, back crawl, breaststroke, or butterfly)
    3. Racing turns for the stroke that you chose in 8b(2), OR, if the camp facilities cannot accommodate the racing turn, repeat 8b(2) with and additional stroke.
    4. Describe the sport of competitive swimming.
  9. Following the guidelines set in the BSA Safe Swim Defense, in water at least 7 feet deep, show a standing headfirst dive from a dock or pool deck. Show a long shallow dive, also from the dock or pool deck.
  10. Do the following:
    a. Explain the health benefits of regular aerobic exercise, and explain why many people today do not get enough of the beneficial kinds of exercise.
    b. Discuss why swimming is favored as both a fitness and a therapeutic exercise.
    c. 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.
    d. 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 own willingness and ability to pursue such a program.

The official source for the information shown in this article or section is:
Boy Scout Requirements, 2014 Edition (BSA Supply No. 33216 - SKU# 619576)

The text of these requirements is locked and 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 Swimming is available here! Adobe Acrobat PDF
with the maps, charts, links, diagrams, and checklists you need!
Or click here to print just the Swimming requirements.
meritbadge.org has PDF and DOC versions of
Boy Scout merit badge workbooks,
Webelos workbooks, and Cub Scout workbooks.
  1. Per the BSA: "You should read the merit badge pamphlet on the subject." Pamphlets (books) are at local Scout Shops and online at ScoutStuff.org.
  2. "Get a signed Merit Badge application from your Scoutmaster." An online, printable Word doc file version is available.
  3. Swimming merit badge is on the Eagle Scout required list (requirement 3.j.). It is one choice of a group of three merit badges on the list.
  4. The BSA Aquatics Troop Program Feature offers meeting and activity plans to include Swimming as one of your monthly themes.

Requirement resources

First Aid
1. Hypothermia - Dehydration - Sunburn - Heat Exhaustion - Heatstroke - Muscle Cramps - Hyperventilation - Spinal Injury - Stings - Bites Cuts - Scrapes
2. CPR

3-10: Swimming


4. Diving (has feet-first entries as well) - Survival Floating
5. Front Crawl - Trudgen - Back Crawl - Sidestroke - Breaststroke - Elementary Backstroke
6. Floating
6a. Survival Floating
6b. Personal Floatation Device HELP and huddle positions
6c. Survival Floating & hypothermia
7. Surface Diving
7b. Diving
8a. Snorkeling - SCUBA
8b1. Diving
8b2. Front Crawl - Back Crawl - Breaststroke - Butterfly
8b3. Swimming Turns
8b4. Sport of competitive swimming
9. Safe Swim Defense - Diving

Related awards

Aquatic Awards Links

Aquatic-related awards

Sports and Fitness Awards Sports-related awards

See also

Boy Scout portal
Varsity Scout portal
Venturing portal

General Merit Badge information

External links

Template:Eagle Required Merit Badges navbox

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