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BSA Lifeguard

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SWIM TRUNKS EMBLEM

The BSA Lifeguard Patch is NOT worn on the Uniform.
It is worn on the right side of the swim trunks.


Revisions to these requirements,
which became effective on January 1, 2003,
are shown in Bold Underlined print, similar to this paragraph.
Deletions are shown struck through in red italics, like this text.
Unchanged text is shown like this.

To see the current requirements with no highlighting of the changes,
Click Here


The application for BSA Lifeguard can be downloaded from BSA's web site by clicking here.


  1. AGE REQUIREMENT
    To enroll in the BSA Lifeguard course you must be at least 14 years of age or have completed the eighth grade.
  2. PREREQUISITES
    To enroll in the BSA Lifeguard course, you must
    1. Swim 400 yards. Jump feetfirst into water over your head and swim continuously for 400 yards in a strong manner. The 400 yards shall consist of a minimum of 50 yards of elementary backstroke; 50 yards of breaststroke; 50 yards of front crawl or trudgen; and 50 yards of sidestroke.
    2. Surface dive. Perform both a feet-first and a head-first (tuck or pike) surface dive in 8 to 10 feet of water and recover a 10-pound weight on both dives each dive.
    3. Float. Demonstrate the ability to rest by floating.
    4. Dive. Perform a long, shallow dive.
  3. AQUATICS SKILLS
    Perform Demonstrate each of the following aquatic aquatics skills:
    1. Perform a long, shallow dive into deep water and swim an approach stroke 25 yards in 20 seconds or less using an approach stroke.
    2. Throw a line for accuracy 10 yards, three times in one minute. The line may be weighted, unweighted, or attached to a ring buoy.
    3. Perform a rescue of a swimmer using a watercraft common to your area. Explain how other watercraft can be used to perform a rescue. Explain the advantages and disadvantages of different craft in making rescues.
    4. Perform each of the following rescues with the aid of a rescue tube:
      1. Perform a swimming extension rescue. Using a front approach, swim with the rescue tube 15 yards to a conscious, passive victim distressed swimmer; extend the rescue tube to the victim; have the victim grasp the rescue tube it; and tow the victim back to the starting point in the water.
      2. Using a front approach, swim with the rescue tube 15 yards to a conscious, passive victim; wrap the tube around the victim; and tow the victim back to the starting point in the water. Repeat using the rear approach.
        3.
        Perform an active drowning victim rear rescue. Using a rear approach, swim with the rescue tube 15 yards to a conscious/active but not struggling victim; Place the victim on the tube by using a "scooping technique and tow the victim back to the starting point.
      3. Perform an passive drowning victim rear rescue. Using a rear approach, swim with the rescue tube 15 yards to face down victim; squeeze the rescue tube between your chest and the victim's back, role the victim face up and tow the victim back to the starting point in the water.
      4. Perform an passive drowning victim front rescue. Approach a face-down, unconscious victim from the front; Reaching across the rescue tube, grasp the victim's wrist and rotate the victim into the rescue tube. Clamp the victim to the tube with your other arm and tow the victim back to the starting point.
      5. Perform a submerged victim rescue. Approach until you are over the victim and do a feet-first surface dive. Using the rescue tube between your chest and the victim's back, move the victim to the starting point.
    5. Perform a swimming rescue of a distressed or active victim using a flotation aid other than a rescue tube. Demonstrate an appropriate entry and approach stroke for 15 yards and the  tow the victim to the starting point.
    6. e. Perform a stride jump into water at least 9 feet deep; swim 15 yards to an unconscious victim; use a front surface approach; position the victim for a wrist tow; and use a wrist tow to return the victim to the starting point in the water.
    7. f. Perform a long shallow dive into water at least 9 feet deep; swim 15 yards to beyond the rear of the victim; position the victim in either a single- or double-armpit tow; and tow the victim to the starting point in the water.
    8. g. Jump feetfirst Perform a compact jump into water at least 9 feet deep; using a rear approach swim 15 yards to an active victim; contact the victim and level him or her the victim using a single- or double-armpit tow; position the victim in a cross-chest carry; and return to the starting point in the water.
    9. h. Perform the following defenses and escapes:
      1. One- and two-hand block
        2
        Wrist-grip escape
      2. 3. Rear head-hold escape
      3. 4. Front head-hold escape
    10. i. Remove the victim from the water using each of the following techniques, in the appropriate circumstances:
      1. Pack-strap carry
        2.
        Lift from deep the water assisted by a second lifeguard using a backboard and two lifeguards
      2. 3. Shallow water Walking assist
      3. 4. Beach drag
    11. j. Perform an ease-in entry into in shallow water and approach a victim who is facedown on the surface and simulating a spinal injury. Turn the victim to a faceup position and support the victim at the surface.
    12. k. Perform an ease-in entry in deep water and approach a victim who is floating facedown on the surface and simulating a spinal injury. With a rescue tube, turn the victim to a faceup position and, maintaining contact, swim with the victim to a corner of the pool or the shallow end of the pool. Repeat without a rescue tube.
    13. l. As a team member, participate in a back-boarding procedure in shallow water.
    14. m. Perform the requirements found in the Snorkeling, BSA, award.
      Demonstrate the proper use of mask, snorkel, and fins.
  4. FIRST AID AND CPR
    1. Show evidence of the ability to perform the skills and a knowledge of the subjects covered in the First Aid merit badge basic first aid.
    2. Show a knowledge of the procedures for treating a near drowning, for the universal precautions for bloodborne pathogens, of personal health protection, and of aquatics-related first aid.
    3. Have Hold current certification in basic cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) from the American Heart Association, the American Red Cross, or the National Safety Council.
  5. EXAMINATION
    1. Demonstrate an understanding of aquatics program and emergency management skills by correctly answering 80 percent of the questions in a written or oral exam on theory and knowledge (the standard BSA Lifeguard examination).
  6. SUPERVISED LIFEGUARDING PRACTICAL EXPERIENCE
    a. Explain how to guard each of the following activities:
    1. Recreational swim (general swim)
    2. Unit swim
    3. Instructional swim
    4. Watercraft activity
    5.  Special event

b. Serve as a lifeguard, under supervision, for at least two swimming activities (2 to 3 hours total).


BSA LIFEGUARD TRAINING PROCEDURE

  1. Only.those persons currently certified as BSA Aquatics Instructor or as BSA Lifeguard Counselor may train the completion of BSA Lifeguard requirements
  2. Training as BSA Lifeguard is valid for 3 years from the date of application.
  3. All requirements must be met - no substitutions or omissions are permitted.
  4. The completed application is sent to the local council service center where BSA Lifeguard emblems may be purchased.
  5. To qualify for BSA Lifeguard, the candidate must complete the BSA Lifeguard course consisting of a minimum of 30 hours under the direction of either a BSA Lifeguard Counselor or a BSA Aquatics Instructor. The course for the BSA Lifeguard is in the BSA Lifeguard Counselor Guide.

BSA LIFEGUARD RETRAINING

To be retrained as BSA Lifeguard, a person who previously has been trained can complete the regular BSA Lifeguard course, passing each of the requirements. Those whose BSA Lifeguard training is current or has expired within the past 12 months can be retrained by demonstrating a current knowledge of and ability to perform the skills necessary to fulfill BSA Lifeguard requirements. It is not necessary to retake the BSA Lifeguard course.


In addition to the Patch shown at the top of this page, a wallet card ( No. 34260) shown below, is available.

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Page updated on: February 25, 2008

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