Rowing Merit Badge Pamphlet Rowing Merit Badge


Requirements were REVISED effective January 1, 2007.

To see the changes which were made in 2007, Click here.

For the previous requirements, Click here.

For the current requirements, Click here.

Item 1 in Boy Scout Requirements (33216) does not match the version
in the Rowing Merit Badge pamphlet (33404B or 35943), as shown below.
In Boy Scout Requirements, the phrase "
and how to prevent" was omitted.

  1. Show that you know first aid for and how to prevent injuries or illnesses that could occur while rowing, including cold and heat reactions,  dehydration,  contusions, lacerations, and blisters.
  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. 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. Review and discuss Safety Afloat and demonstrate the proper fit and use of personal flotation devices (PFDs).
  5. Do ONE of the following:
    1. Alone or with a passenger, do the following correctly in either a fixed-seat or sliding-seat rowboat:
      1. Launch
      2. Row in a straight line for a quarter mile. Stop, make a pivot turn, and return to the starting point.
      3. Backwater in a straight line for 50 yards. Make a turn under way and return to the starting point.
      4. Land and moor or rack your craft.
      5. Tie the following mooring knots: - clove hitch, roundturn with two half hitches, bowline, Wellman's knot, and mooring hitch.
    2. Participate as a rowing team member in a competitive rowing meet. The team may be sponsored by a school, club, or Scout unit. The meet must include competition between two or more teams with different sponsors. Complete at least 10 hours of team practice prior to the meet.
  6. Do ONE of the following:
    1. In a fixed-seat rowboat, come alongside a dock and help a passenger into the boat. Pull away from the dock, change positions with your passenger, and scull in good form over the stern for 10 yards, including at least one 180-degree turn. Resume your rowing position, return alongside the pier, and help your passenger out of the boat.
    2. In a sliding-seat rowboat, come alongside a pier and, with your buddy assisting you, get out onto the pier. Help your buddy into the boat. Reverse roles with your buddy and repeat the procedure.
  7. Participate in a swamped boat drill, including righting and stabilizing the craft, reboarding in deep water, and making headway.  Tell why you should stay with a swamped boat.
  8. Alone in a rowboat, push off from the shore or a dock. Row 10 yards to a swimmer. While giving instructions to the swimmer, turn the boat so that the swimmer can hold onto the stern. Tow him to shore.
  9. Show or explain the proper use of anchors for rowboats.
  10. Describe the following:
    1. Types of crafts used in commercial, competitive, and recreational rowing.
    2. Four common boat building materials. Give some positive  and negative  points of each.
    3. Types of oarlocks used in  competitive, and recreational rowing.
  11. Discuss the following:
    1. The advantage of feathering oars while rowing
    2. Precautions regarding strong winds and heavy waves, and boat-handling procedures in rough water and windstorms.
    3. How to properly fit out and maintain a boat in season, and how to prepare and store a boat for winter
    4. How to calculate the weight a boat can  carry under normal conditions
    5. The differences between fixed-seat and sliding-seat rowing
    6. The different meanings of the term sculling in fixed- and sliding-seat rowing
    7. The health benefits from rowing for exercise

Note to the Merit Badge Counselor:

Section Qualifications of Counselors, in the 2013 Guide to Advancement (BSA Publication 33088 - SKU 618673) has specific special qualifications or certifications for either the merit badge counselor or the supervisor of certain activities that may be involved with the Rowing Merit Badge, as follows:

Rowing. Those supervising rowing activities must have either BSA Aquatics Instructor certification or equivalent; OR local councils may approve individuals previously certified as such, or trained by an instructor so qualified.

BSA Advancement ID#: 98
Requirements last updated in: 2007
Pamphlet Publication Number: 33404B or 35943
Pamphlet Stock (SKU) Number: 35943
Pamphlet Revision Date: 2006

Worksheets for use in working on these requirements: Format
Word Format PDF Format

Blanks in this worksheets table appear when we do not have a worksheet for the badge that includes these requirements.

Page updated on: March 14, 2019

Scouts Using the Internet Cartoon - Courtesy of Richard Diesslin - Click to See More Cartoons
© 1994-2019 - U.S. Scouting Service Project | Site Map | Disclaimer | Project Team | Contact Us | Privacy Policy

Materials found at U. S. Scouting Service Project, Inc. Websites may be reproduced and used locally by Scouting volunteers for training purposes consistent with the programs of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM) or other Scouting and Guiding Organizations. No material found here may be used or reproduced for electronic redistribution or for commercial or other non-Scouting purposes without the express permission of the U. S. Scouting Service Project, Inc. (USSSP) or other copyright holders. USSSP is not affiliated with BSA or WOSM and does not speak on behalf of BSA or WOSM. Opinions expressed on these web pages are those of the web authors. You can support this website with in two ways: Visit Our Trading Post at or make a donation by clicking the button below.
(U.S. Scouting Service Project Donation)

(Ruth Lyons Memorial Donations)