Water Sports

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Water Sports Merit Badge requirement resources include the Merit Badge Worksheet Adobe Acrobat PDF,
lesson video links, Water Sports Safety Code, and links to related Merit Badges and Boy Scout Awards.
Water Sports (Water Skiing) is great if you ski or wake board or want to learn.
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The Water Sports requirements were revised effective January 1, 2008.

Watersports merit badge
Status: Elective
Created: as Waterskiing
in 1969; 2008
Discontinued: no
BSA Advancement ID: 115
Requirements revision: 2008
Latest pamphlet revision: 1999/2007


Water Sports requirements

  1. Do the following:
    a. Explain to your counselor the most likely hazards you may encounter while participating in water sports activities and what you should do to anticipate, help prevent, mitigate, and respond to these hazards.
    b. Review prevention, symptoms, and first-aid treatment for the following injuries or illnesses that could occur while participating in water sports: blisters, cold-water shock and hypothermia, dehydration, heat-related illnesses, sunburn, sprains, strains, minor cuts and bruises, spinal injury, and concussions and head trauma.
    c. Review the BSA Safety Afloat policy. Tell how it applies to water sports.
  2. Do the following:
    a. Discuss with your counselor the characteristics of life jackets most appropriate for water sports, and tell why one must always be worn while waterskiing or wakeboarding. Then demonstrate how to select and fit a life jacket for water sports activities.
    b. Review and discuss the Water Sports Safety Code with your counselor. Promise that you will live up to it and follow it in all water work for this merit badge. Review the safety precautions that must be used by the boat operator in pulling waterskiers and wakeboarders.
  3. Before doing requirements 4 through 6, successfully complete the BSA swimmer test: Jump feetfirst into water over the head in depth. Level off and 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 completed in one swim without stops and must include at least one sharp turn. After completing the swim, rest by floating.
  4. Show the following skier signals to the safety observer in the boat: skier safe, faster, slower, turns, back to dock, cut motor, skier in water.
  5. Showing reasonable control while using two skis, one ski, or a wakeboard, do EACH of the following:
    a. Show how to enter the water from a boat and make a deepwater start without help.
    b. Starting from outside the wakes, show you can cross both wakes four times and return to the center of the wake each time, without falling.
    c. Show you can fall properly to avoid an obstacle. Also show that you can drop handle and coast to a stop without losing your balance.
  6. While on shore, show that you know how to properly adjust the bindings of your ski(s) or wakeboard to fit yourself. Then, in deep water, show you can adjust bindings to fit. Recover and put on your ski(s) or wakeboard that has come off during a fall.

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

  1. Waterskiing was rewritten in 2008 as Water Sports.

Requirement resources

First Aid
1. Hypothermia - Heat Exhaustion - Heatstroke - Dehydration - Sunburn - Cuts - Blisters
2. CPR

3. BSA Swim Test: Diving also has the feetfirst jump in - Sidestroke - Breaststroke - Trudgen Crawl - Backstroke - Swimming Turns - Floating

4a. The BSA Safety Afloat policy you need is in the Water Sports Worksheet.
4b. Personal Flotation Device
4c. The Water Sports Safety Code you need is in the Water Sports Worksheet.
5-7: ExpertVillage.com Lesson Videos: How to Water Ski - How to Start Wakeboard

Related awards

Aquatic Awards Links
Aquatic-related awards

See also

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

External links

Guide to Safe Scouting
Personal tools