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Baloo's Bugle

 

April 2004 Cub Scout Roundtable Issue

Volume 10, Issue 9
May 2004 Theme

Theme: My Home State
Webelos: Handyman & Outdoorsman
  Tiger Cub:
Activities

 

 

TRAINING TIP

Safe Swim Defense

www.uscouts.org

Before a BSA group may engage in swimming activities of any kind, a minimum of one adult leader must completed Safe Swim Defense training, have a commitment card (No. 34243) with them, and agree to use the eight defenses in this plan.  Safe Swim Defense and Safety Afloat training can be given by any person authorized by the council, including a BSA Aquatics resource person, a unit leader with aquatics skill, or any other person with aquatics knowledge or experience whom the local council has approved.

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You will have to check with your local council for opportunities to attend this training. One of the best opportunities for Safe Swim Defense training is in summer camp. Often times it is given at a Roundtable in May or June.

The eight Safe Swim Defenses are:

1.       Qualified Supervision - All swimming activity must be supervised by a mature and conscientious adult age 21 or older who understands and knowingly accepts responsibility for the well-being and safety of youth members in his or her care, who is experienced in the water and confident of his or her ability to respond in the event of an emergency, and who is trained in and committed to compliance with the eight points of BSA Safe Swim Defense. (It is strongly recommended that all units have at least one adult or older youth member currently certified as a BSA Lifeguard to assist in the planning and conduct of all swimming activity.)

2.       Physical Fitness - Require evidence of fitness for swimming activity with a complete health history from physician, parent, or legal guardian. The adult supervisor should adjust all supervision, discipline, and protection to anticipate any potential risks associated with individual health conditions. In the event of any significant health conditions, the unit leader should require proof of an examination by a physician.  Those with physical disabilities can enjoy and benefit from aquatics if the handicaps are known and necessary precautions are taken.

3.       Safe Area - When swimming in areas not regularly maintained and used for swimming activity, have lifeguards and swimmers systematically examine the bottom of the swimming area to determine varying depths, deep holes, rocks, and stumps. Packs should not be swimming in these types of areas but should make sure the pool or lake or water where they are is safe in accordance with these instructions. Mark off the area for three groups: not more than 3˝ feet deep for nonswimmers; from shallow water to just over the head for beginners; deep water not more than 12 feet for swimmers. A participant should not be permitted to swim in an area where he cannot readily recover and maintain his footing, or cannot maintain his position on the water, because of swimming ability or water flow. When setting up a safe swimming area in natural waters, use poles stuck in the bottom, or plastic bottles, balloons, or sticks attached to rock anchors with twine for boundary markers. Enclose non-swimmer and beginner areas with buoy lines (twine and floats) between markers. Mark the outer bounds of the swimmer area with floats. Be sure that clear-water depth is at least 7 feet before allowing anyone to dive into the water. Diving is prohibited from any height more than 40 inches above the water surface; feet-first entry is prohibited from more than 60 inches above the water. For any entry from more than 18 inches above the water surface, clear-water depth must be 10 to 12 feet. Only surface swimming is permitted in turbid water. Swimming is not permitted in water over 12 feet deep, in turbid water where poor visibility and depth would interfere with emergency recognition or prompt rescue, or in whitewater, unless all participants wear appropriate personal flotation devices and the supervisor determines that swimming with personal flotation equipment is safe under the circumstances.

4.       Lifeguards on Duty - Swim only where there are certified lifeguards on duty.   There are provisions for Troops to provide their own lifeguards.  Cub Scouts are too young to serve as lifeguards.

5.       Lookout - Station a lookout on the shore where it is possible to see and hear everything in all areas. The lookout may be the adult in charge of the swim or several other adults and may give the buddy signals.

6.       Ability Groups - Divide into three ability groups: Learners, beginners, and swimmers.  Keep each group in its own area. Learners have not passed a swimming test. Beginners must pass this test: jump feet first into water over the head in depth, level off, swim 25 feet on the surface. Stop, turn sharply, resume swimming as before and return to the starting place. Swimmers pass this test: jump feet-first 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 include at least one sharp turn. After completing the swim, rest by floating. These classification tests should be renewed annually, preferably at the beginning of the season.

7.       Buddy System - Pair every youth with another in the same ability group. Buddies check in and out of the swimming area together.  Emphasize that each buddy lifeguards his buddy. Check everyone in the water about every ten minutes, or as needed to keep the buddies together. The adult in charge signals for a buddy check with a single blast of a whistle or ring of a bell and a call of ''Buddies!'' The adult counts slowly to ten while buddies join and raise hands and remain still and silent. Guards check all areas, count the pairs, and compare the total with the number known to be in the water. Signal two blasts or bells to resume swimming. Signal three blasts or bells for checkout.

8.       Discipline - Be sure everyone understands and agrees that swimming is allowed only with proper supervision and use of the complete Safe Swim Defense. The applicable rules should be presented and learned prior to the outing, and should be reviewed for all participants at the water’s edge just before the swimming activity begins. Scouts should respect and follow all directions and rules of the adult supervisor. When people know the reason for rules and procedures they are more likely to follow them. Be strict and fair, showing no favoritism.

 

 

 

 

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