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Swimming and Water Rescue

Training for BSA Swimming and Water Rescue provides BSA leaders with information and skills to prevent, recognize, and respond to swimming emergencies during unit swimming activities. It expands the awareness instruction provided by Safe Swim Defense training. Persons completing the training should be better able to assess their preparation to supervise unit swimming events. The BSA recommends that at least one person with this training is present to assist with supervision whenever a unit swims at a location that does not provide lifeguards. The course takes approximately eight hours and is valid for three years.

Although the training is consistent with training provided professional lifeguards, the Swimming and Water Rescue course is not a lifeguard training course and is not a substitute for BSA Lifeguard training for summer camp aquatics staff. On the other hand, this course addresses important information that may not be covered in generic lifeguard training programs such as: preventative measures, including the buddy system and swim classification tests; how to set up a safe swim area in diverse situations; the use of non-standard rescue equipment; and emergency action plans in remote settings. Therefore, BSA leaders with lifeguard training from other agencies are encouraged to complete this course prior to supervising unit swim activities in remote settings. A ‘challenge’ option is provided to foster cross-training of individuals with training from other agencies.

Adult and youth first aid training, including CPR, is an important safety consideration for all Scouting activities, not just swimming. First aid training is not included in the Swimming and Water Rescue course with the expectation the leader has addressed this need separately, as noted in the course material and on the training card.

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