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The Requirements for Swimming Merit Badge


Swimming is an optional required merit badge for the Eagle Scout rank.
  1. Show that you know first aid for injuries or illnesses that could occur while swimming, including hypothermia, heatstroke, heat exhaustion, dehydration, sunburn, insect stings, tick bites, blisters, and hyperventilation.
  2. Do the following:
    1. Identify the conditions that must exist before performing CPR on a person. Explain how such conditions are recognized.
    2. Demonstrate proper technique for performing CPR using a training device approved by your counselor.
  3. Before doing the following requirements, successfully complete the BSA swimmer test. Jump feetfirst into water over your head in depth, swim 75 yards or 75 meters in a strong manner using one or more of the following strokes: sidestroke, breaststroke, trudgen, or crawl; then swim 25 yards or 25 meters using an easy resting backstroke. The 100 yards or 100 meters must be swum continuously and include at least one sharp turn. After completing the swim, rest by floating as motionless as possible. Explain how the Safe Swim Defense plan is used to protect Scout troops and other groups when they are swimming.
  4. Swim continuously for 150 yards using the following strokes in good form and in a strong manner: sidestroke for 50 yards, elementary backstroke for 50 yards, front crawl or trudgen for 25 yards, and either the breaststroke or back crawl for 25 yards.
  5. In water over your head, but not to exceed 10 feet, do each of the following:
    1. Use the feetfirst method of surface diving and bring an object up from the bottom.
    2. Do a head first surface dive, pike, or tuck, and bring the object up again.
    3. Do a head first surface dive to a depth of at least 5 feet and swim underwater for 3 strokes. Come to the surface, take a breath, and repeat the sequence twice.
  6. In water at least 8 feet deep, show a headfirst dive from a dock or pool deck. Show a long shallow dive, also from the dock or pool deck. If a low board (not to exceed 40 inches above water at least 9 feet deep) is available, show a plain front dive.
  7. Enter water over your head wearing clothes (shoes and socks, underwear or swim trunks, long pants, belt, long-sleeved shirt). Remove the shoes and socks. Inflate the shirt and show that you can float using the shirt for support. Remove the pants and use them for support. (Note: If the bottom surface of the swimming area is dark or objects can not be seen easily, practice removing shoes and socks in neck-deep water, then leave shoes and socks on land or in a protected area to prevent loss, and demonstrate the above.)
  8. Do the following:
    1. Float faceup in a resting position as nearly motionless as possible for at least a minute.
    2. While wearing a properly fitted personal flotation device (PFD), demonstrate the "HELP" and "huddle" positions. Explain their purpose.
    3. In warm water (at least 70F or 21C), show survival floating. If the water is cooler than 70F, discuss the purpose, technique, and limitations of survival floating.
  9. Do the following:
    1. Demonstrate rescuing a person from water by reaching with an arm or leg, by reaching with a suitable object, and by throwing lines and objects.
    2. Explain why swimming rescues should not be attempted when a reaching or throwing assist or boat rescue can be done instead. Explain why and how a person making a swimming rescue should avoid contact with the victim.

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