Baloo's Bugle

June Cub Scout Roundtable Issue

Volume 14, Issue 11
July 2008 Theme

Theme: H20hhh!
Webelos: Aquanaut & Geologist
Tiger Cub
Achievement 2


Water Fun – Water Safety

Bill Smith, the Roundtable Guy


Dive right in as Cub Scouts spend a month learning about water, our most precious resource. Learn about marine life. Dens can visit a water treatment facility, local aquarium or fish farm. Cub Scouts may even want to prepare their own aquarium or fish bowl and "adopt a gold fish".

This is also an excellent opportunity to teach our Cub Scouts about water conservation. Don't forget learning about water safety. Enjoy water games; hunt for shells and experience all the beach has to offer. Cub Scouts love to get wet.

What could be better than a water carnival complete with games, competition, and safe swim demonstrations? This would be a great time to work on the Wildlife Conservation, Fishing, or Swimming belt loop and pin. Have an outdoor Cub Scout rain gutter regatta race.

Program Helps July, 2008.

When one imagines Boy Scouts camping, there is usually water in the picture. It may be swimming, a canoe pulled up to a lake shore camping spot or white water rafting. A boy should be ready to participate in all these, safely and confidently, as soon as he joins a troop. Cub Scouting provides an age appropriate, graduated program of aquatics:

§  Wolf - Achievement 1h - Swim as far as you can walk in fifteen steps.

§  Wolf - Elective 19 - Fishing.

§  Bear - Elective 5 - Boats.

§  Bear - Elective 19 Swimming - Introduces the Buddy System / Plan.

§  Webelos - Aquanaut Activity Badge.

§  Webelos - Readyman Activity Badge - Safe Swimming.


Swimming is not only lots of fun but the ability to swim is an important physical skill. It is worth the effort of every Cub Scout leader to ensure that each of their charges gets the opportunity to learn to swim.

Check out local community services like the YMCA, Red Cross etc. for swim classes.  Put swimming in your annual pack plans.

Also when a boy graduates to a troop he will need to be able to swim in order to fully participate in the troop program.

Second Class requirement 7b states:
Demonstrate your ability to jump feet first 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. Until they are able to do this they cannot advance. If a Scout can not swim, there is so much that he misses out on, troop's trip to Florida Sea base,  and other high adventure sites, canoe trips, white water rafting etc.


If you have never taken your den fishing, you are missing one of the great joys of Cub Scouting. It's a blast to take any bunch of kids fishing, especially when you have a place where they might actually catch some fish.

Longhorn Council runs a successful Cub Scout Trout-O-Ree in conjunction with the Texas Parks & Wildlife Junior Angler Education Program

Tiger Cubs, Cub Scouts, and Webelos Scouts may complete requirements for the Fishing Belt Loop or Sports Pin  in a family, den, pack, school, or community environment. Tiger Cubs must work with their parents or adult partners

The Cub Scout Leader How-To Book has some splendid water related activities in chapter 14 that include fish and other aquatic life.


The Boating Elective in the big Bear Book has all sorts of skills and experiences for a growing boy. Operating a rowboat or sail boat are not only adventures, but they also let a boy discover the mechanics of force and motion.

Cub Scout canoeing is restricted to council run camping programs to ensure qualified leadership and safe conditions. If you are lucky enough to have a canoe program in your council Cub camp, then your boys are in for a great adventure.

For many years, Cub Scouts and Webelos were not allowed to canoe. My wife Shirley and I had been volunteering at a local Easter Seal camp where we discovered that children sitting in the bottom of a canoe were more stable and secure than when sitting in row boats. Even the most severely disabled went canoeing with us and had a great time. They just didn’t weigh enough to tip the canoe.

Shirley, an avid canoeist, was on our council Executive Board and she convinced the leadership to apply for a program variance to permit us to include canoes at our Council Day Camp where we had a small pond.. The variance was approved by National and the program was a great success. We even ran occasional Saturday camps so working parents could canoe with their boys.

Eventually National included canoes as a camp program for Cub Scouts, pretty much along the lines of Shirley’s request.



Text Box: First of all, get your copy of Guide to Safe Scouting, read it and carry it with you.
Safe Swim Defense

Before a BSA group may engage in swimming activities of any kind, a minimum of one adult leader must complete Safe Swim Defense training, have a commitment card (No. 34243) with them, and agree to use the eight defenses in this plan.

Click Here -

Register, Log in,

Take the Course, Get Credit.

Safety Afloat

Safety Afloat has been developed to promote boating and boating safety and to set standards for safe unit activity afloat. Before a BSA group may engage in an excursion, expedition, or trip on the water (canoe, raft, sailboat, motorboat, rowboat, tube, or other craft), adult leaders for such activity must complete Safety Afloat Training, have a commitment card with them, and be dedicated to full compliance with all nine points

of Safety Afloat. [Note: Cubs and Webelos are not permitted on excursions, expeditions or trips.]

Click Here -

Register, Log in,

Take the Course, Get Credit.

Personal Flotation Devices (PDF)

Every child must wear a Coast Guard approved Personal Floatation Device when on the water.


Even when the weather is warm and sunny, the water may be cold – and dangerous. Beware of exposing Cub Scouts to water temperature under 60 degrees F.  The American Canoe Association tells us that more than half of the fatal boating accidents in Pennsylvania occur when the water is cold

I have been a canoe instructor with both the American Red Cross and the ACA. I know, first hand, that cold water can be extremely dangerous.

Once while attempting to free a stuck canoe, I slipped and fell into water under 40 degrees F. The current was not fast – less than brisk walking speed – and the brook was hardly twenty feet wide at that point but I was powerless to extricate myself. The cold water had effectively paralyzed me. I could not swim nor could I grasp hold of the paddles that my companions reached out towards me. I just hung in my PFD and went with the flow until an eddy washed me close enough to the bank where others could drag me ashore.

Currents and Low-Head Dams

Cub Scouts and Webelos should do all their boating on flat water with no current. Moving water, even a slow current of one or two miles per hour, can exert enormous force on a child. A boat or raft full of water can weigh over a thousand pounds and could crush the body of a child caught in its path. Taking Cub Scouts on moving water is just plain foolish.

For this and other reasons, trips and excursions on water are not permitted for Cub Scouts and Webelos.

Some notes for current and future
Boy Scout leaders.

Especially dangerous situations occur at the many low-head dams common on rivers in just about every state. These dams are small, ranging from 6 inches to a few yards in height. They produce hydraulic effects that trap unwary boaters, where escape is almost impossible. Rescue is difficult and perilous, even for trained personnel.

 In sum, [low-head dams] combined with the hydraulic current create a nearly perfect drowning machine.

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

 Text Box: To work right, a PFD must fit snugly on a child. To check for a good fit, pick the child up by the shoulders of the PFD. If the PFD fits right, the child's chin and ears will not slip through.
Children and PFDs United States Coast Guard
The real danger is that these dams slow the general flow of the rivers creating an impression of placid, safe waters. Every year many people, sometimes Scouts, perish in these traps.

Suite101 writer, Alan Sorum, Manager for the Municipality of Skagway, an Alaska Borough and immediate past Port Director and Harbormaster for the City of Valdez, Alaska has and excellent article on low head dams.

Some more links on Water Fun – Water Safety.

Red Cross Aquatics General Aquatics Information

Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources. More on PDF

Camp and Fish  - Interesting stuff for Packs

Longhorn Council Trout-O-Ree

American Canoe Association – Cold Water.

What are YOU going to do now?

Have you taken Safe Swim Defense and
Safety Afloat on-line??

ü  Also, be sure to visit Bill’s website

to finds more ideas on everything Cub Scouting.

Have any Comments for Bill
just click right here!



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