Lifesaving Merit Badge Pamphlet Lifesaving Merit Badge

Lifesaving


Requirements were REVISED effective January 1, 2016.

New text is in bold GREEN underlined Serif text like this sentence.
Deleted portions are struck through RED italic text like this sentence.

To see the requirements, without the changes highlighted, Click here.

For the previous requirements, Click here.


This Merit Badge
(or Emergency Preparedness MB)
is Required to earn the Eagle Scout Rank


  1. Before doing requirements 2 through 15 17
    1. Complete Second Class requirements 8a through 8c 5a through 5d and First Class requirements 9a through 9d 6a, 6b, and 6e.**
      • Second Class requirements 8a through 8c 5a through 5d:
        • (8a) (5a) Tell what precautions must be taken for a safe swim.
        • (8b) (5b) Demonstrate your ability to pass the BSA beginner test. Jump jump feetfirst 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.
        • (8c) (5c) Demonstrate water rescue methods by reaching with your arm or leg, reaching with a suitable object, and by throwing lines and objects. Explain why swimming rescues should not be attempted when a reaching or throwing rescue is possible, and explain why and how a rescue swimmer should avoid contact with the victim.
        • (5d) Explain why and how a rescue swimmer should avoid contact with the victim.
      • First Class requirements 9a through 9c 6a, 5b, and 6e:
        • (6a) Successfully complete the BSA swimmer test.
        • (9a) (6b) Tell what precautions should be taken for a safe trip afloat.
        • (9b) Successfully complete the BSA swimmer test.
        • (9c) (6e) With a helper and a practice victim, show a line rescue both as tender and as rescuer. (The practice victim should be approximately 30 feet from shore in deep water).
    2. Swim continuously for 400 yards using each of the following strokes in a strong manner for at least 50 continuous yards: front crawl, sidestroke, breaststroke, and elementary backstroke.**
  2. Discuss and review with your counselor the principles of BSA Safe Swim Defense.
  3. 2. Explain the following:
    1. Common drowning situations and how to prevent them.
    2. How to identify persons in the water who need assistance.
    3. The order of methods in water rescue.
    4. How rescue techniques vary depending on the setting and the condition of the person needing assistance.
    5. Situations for which in-water rescues should not be undertaken.
  4. 3. Demonstrate "reaching" rescues using various items such as arms, legs, arm, leg, towels, shirts, paddles, and poles.
  5. 4. Demonstrate "throwing" rescues using various items such as a line lines, ring buoys buoy, rescue bags bag, and free-floating supports support. Successfully place at least one such aid within reach of a practice victim 25 feet from shore.
    5.Show or explain the use of rowboats, canoes, and other small craft in performing rescues.
  6. With your counselor's approval, view in-person or on video a rowing rescue performed using a rowboat, canoe, kayak, or stand up paddleboard. Discuss with your counselor how effectively and efficiently the rescue was performed.
  7. 6. List various items that can be used as rescue aids in a noncontact swimming "go" rescue. Explain why buoyant aids are preferred.
  8. 7. Perform the following equipment-based Correctly demonstrate rescues for of a conscious practice subject 30 feet from shore in deep water using two types of buoyant aids provided by your counselor. Use a proper entry and a strong approach stroke. Speak to the subject to determine his condition and to provide instructions and encouragement.
    1. Present a rescue tube to the one aid to a subject, release it, and escort the victim swim at a safe distance as the subject moves to safety.
    2. Present a rescue tube to the In a separate rescue, present the other aid to a subject and use it to tow the victim subject to safety.
    3. Present a buoyant aid other than a rescue tube to the subject, release it, and escort the victim to safety.
    4. Present a buoyant aid other than a rescue tube to the subject and use it to tow the victim to safety.
    5. Remove street clothes in 20 seconds or less and use a non-buoyant aid, such as a shirt or towel, to tow the subject to safety. Explain when it is appropriate to remove heavy clothing before attempting a swimming rescue.
  9. Discuss with your counselor when it is appropriate to remove heavy clothing before attempting a swimming rescue. Remove street clothes in 20 seconds or less, enter the water, and approach a conscious practice subject 30 feet from shore in deep water. Speak to the subject and use a nonbuoyant aid, such as a shirt or towel, to tow the subject to safety.
  10. 8. Explain Discuss with your counselor the importance of avoiding contact with an active victim subject and describe demonstrate lead-and-wait tactics techniques.
  11. 9. Perform the following nonequipment rescues for a conscious practice subject 30 feet from shore. Begin in the water from a position near the subject. Speak to the subject to determine his condition and to provide instructions and encouragement.
    1. Provide a swim-along assist for a calm, responsive, tired swimmer moving with a weak forward stroke.
      b.
      Perform an armpit tow for a calm responsive, tired swimmer resting with a back float.
    2. c. Perform a cross-chest carry for an exhausted, passive victim who does not respond to instructions to aid himself responsive subject treading water.
  12. 10. In deep water, show how to escape from a victim's grasp on your wrist. Repeat for front and rear holds about the head and shoulders.
  13. 11. Perform the following rescues for an unconscious practice subject at or near the surface 30 feet from shore. Use a proper entry and strong approach stroke. Speak to the subject and splash water on him to determine his condition before making contact. Remove Quickly remove the victim from the water, with assistance if needed, and position for CPR.
    1. Perform an equipment assist using a buoyant aid.
    2. Perform a front approach and wrist tow.
    3. Perform a rear approach and armpit tow.
  14. 12. Describe Discuss with your counselor how to respond if a victim submerges before being reached by a rescuer, and do the following:
    1. Recover a 10-pound weight in 8 to 10 feet of water using a feetfirst surface dive.
    2. Repeat using a headfirst surface dive.
  15. 13. Demonstrate knowledge of resuscitation procedures:
    1. Describe how to recognize the need for rescue breathing and CPR.
    2. Demonstrate proper CPR technique for at least 3 minutes using a mannequin designed to simulate ventilations and compressions.
      Demonstrate CPR knowledge and skills, including rescue breathing, consistent with current guidelines.*
  16. 14. Demonstrate management of a spinal injury to your counselor:
    1. Explain Discuss the causes, signs, and symptoms of a spinal injury
    2. Support a face up victim subject in calm, shallow water of standing depth.
    3. Turn a subject from a facedown to a faceup position in water of standing depth while maintaining support.
  17. 15. Show that you know first aid for With your counselor, discuss causes, prevention, and treatment of other injuries or illnesses that could occur while swimming or boating, including hypothermia, heat reactions, dehydration, heat-related illnesses, muscle cramps, sunburn, stings, and hyperventilation.

* Your counselor may accept recent training in CPR by a recognized agency as completion of this requirement only if he or she feels your skills are satisfactory and need no additional reinforcement.

For more information about the BSA Swimmer test, see the Swimming merit badge requirements.


** We have noted two errors in requirement 1:

  • In the Merit Badge pamphlet, requirement 1a incorrectly reads "Complete ... First Class rank requirements 6a through 6e." however, only First Class rank requirements 6a, 6b, and 6e are then listed. The correct text, as shown above, is found in the 2016 Boy Scout Requirements book.
  • Requirement 1b was inadvertently omitted from the text in the 2016 Boy Scout Requirements book, but correctly appears in the merit badge pamphlet.

Note to the Merit Badge Counselor:

Section 7.0.1.1 Qualifications of Counselors, in the 2015 Guide to Advancement (BSA Publication 33088 - SKU 620573) has specific special qualifications or certifications for either the merit badge counselor or the supervisor of certain activities that may be involved with the Lifesaving Merit Badge, as follows:

Lifesaving. Demonstrations or activities in or on the water must be supervised by an adult at least 21 years old with certification in Red Cross First Aid/CPR/AED or equivalent, and also as BSA Lifeguard or Aquatics Instructor or equivalent.


BSA Advancement ID#: 9
Requirements last updated in: 2016
Pamphlet Publication Number: 35915
Pamphlet Stock (SKU) Number: 618660
Pamphlet Revision Date: 2016

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: June 21, 2017



Scouts Using the Internet Cartoon - Courtesy of Richard Diesslin - Click to See More Cartoons
© 1994-2017 - 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 www.ScoutingBooks.com or make a donation by clicking the button below.
(U.S. Scouting Service Project Donation)


(Ruth Lyons Memorial Donations)