Snorkeling BSA Patch

Snorkeling, BSA

These are the  requirements as they appear in
"Snorkeling Safety" (Publication No. 19-176B)


The Snorkeling, BSA Patch is NOT worn on the Uniform.
It is worn on the left side of the swim trunks.

  1. Before doing other requirements, successfully complete the BSA swimmer test: Jump feetfirst into water over the head in depth, level off, and begin swimming. 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 include at least one sharp turn. After completing the swim, rest by floating.
  2. Discuss the importance of using the buddy system at all times while snorkeling and list duties of a buddy, beginning with equipment checks.
  3. Explain the function, fit, and selection of mask, fins, and snorkel. Discuss the use of inflatable flotation vests and PFD’s when snorkeling in open water.
  4. In confined, shallow water (about waist deep), demonstrate use of mask and snorkel:
    1. Show how to prevent the mask from fogging and how to equalize pressure in mask, ears, and sinus cavities. With your head underwater, flood the mask, observe the effect on your vision, surface, and drain the water from the mask.
    2. With your face in the water, breathe through the snorkel. Then submerge, surface, clear water from the snorkel, and resume free breathing without removing the snorkel from your mouth.
  5. In confined, shallow water, demonstrate the use of swim fins: Do first using only fins, and then repeat with a mask and snorkel.
    1. Fit and adjust fins to feet.
    2. Walk with fins as if entering from a beach.
    3. Swim at the surface (10 yards) and underwater (three yards) using the flutter kick.
    4. Control direction without using hands while swimming with fins at the surface and underwater.
  6. In confined, deep water (six to 12 feet), demonstrate:
    1. Proper techniques for entering and exiting the water with snorkeling equipment from a dock or boat.
    2. Headfirst and feetfirst surface dives, including proper body position for safe ascent and descent.
  7. Show knowledge of snorkeling signals:
    1. Demonstrate divers’ signs and signals, both audible and visual, for use at the surface and underwater.
    2. Set out a diver down flag and explain its function.
  8. In clear, confined water eight to 12 feet deep that has a firm bottom, while swimming with a buddy, use mask, fins, and snorkel to locate and recover an object from the bottom.
  9. Demonstrate basic survival skills:
    1. Float facedown for five minutes while breathing through a snorkel with a minimum of movement.
    2. Demonstrate survival floating for five minutes without use of a snorkel.
    3. Using fins, show how to tow an exhausted or unconscious buddy to safety.
  10. Review and explain the eight points of Safe Swim Defense and BSA Snorkeling Safety. Explain training, preparations, and precautions required for snorkeling in open water. Explain environmental factors that affect snorkeling and discuss special precautions needed for oceans, streams, and lakes.
  11. Explain pressure, buoyancy, and submerged optics and acoustics
    related to snorkel swimming and diving.
  12. Discuss the effects of submersion on the body and how to handle potentially dangerous situations:
    1. What is hyperventilation and how is it avoided?
    2. What are the symptoms and consequences of hypothermia?
    3. Why is CPR training recommended for those participating in swimming and snorkeling activities?

The eight points of BSA Snorkeling Safety are::
  1. Qualified Supervision
  2. Physical Fitness
  3. Safe Area
  4. Proper Equipment
  5. Qualified Lifeguards / Lookout
  6. Ability
  7. Buddy System
  8. Discipline

The application for the Snorkeling BSA patch is contained within Snorkeling Safety (Publication No. 19-176B) which can be downloaded from BSA's web site.

Page updated on: May 02, 2013

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