These were the REQUIREMENTS before the changes made with
the release of a new merit badge pamphlet during 2005.

To see the current requirements Click Here

  1. Show that you know first aid for injuries or illnesses that could occur while working on the Whitewater merit badge, including hypothermia, heatstroke, heat exhaustion, dehydration, sunburn, insect stings, tick bites, blisters, and hyperventilation.
  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 other requirements earn the Canoeing merit badge, then do the following:
    1. Demonstrate basic canoe-handling skills by completing the Scout Gate Test within 120 seconds while paddling tandem with a buddy.
    2. Review and compare BSA Safety Afloat and the American Whitewater Affiliation Safety Code and demonstrate your understanding of these principles by answering questions from your counselor.
  4. Identify and explain the use of safety equipment on running water.
  5. Explain the International Scale of River Difficulty and apply the scale to the stretch of river where you are practicing and demonstrating your whitewater skills. Identify the specific characteristics of the river that are factors in your classification according to the International Scale.
  6. Explain how to scout and read a river both while afloat and from ashore. Explain open and closed V's, shoals with broken or dancing water, boils, strainers, broken drops, haystacks, dams, falls and lowhead obstructions, eddies, whirlpools, crosscurrents, flat rocks, standing waves, sheer drops, and heavy water. Demonstrate your ability to read the river where you are practicing and demonstrating your whitewater skills.
  7. Explain the differences between flatwater and whitewater canoes; identify the advantages and special uses for kayaks and decked canoes in running water. Identify the different materials used in modern whitewater canoe construction and the advantages and disadvantages of each.
  8. Identify paddles designed for whitewater use and explain their special characteristics.
  9. Do ONE of the following:
    1. Demonstrate paddle strokes in the bow position of an open canoe on running water, for forward movement, sideways movement, and backward. Repeat in the stern position.
    2. Demonstrate forward, backward, and sideways movements on running water using a single- or double-bladed paddle in a kayak or decked canoe.
  10. While paddling alone or with a partner in an open canoe, or while alone in a kayak, demonstrate forward and back ferry, eddy turn, peeling out of an eddy, and high and low braces.
  11. Explain and demonstrate:
    1. Self-rescue and procedures when capsized in running water.
    2. Safe rescue of others in various whitewater situations.
    3. Portaging -- when and how to do it.
    4. The whitewater buddy system using at least three persons and three craft.
  12. Discuss the use of inflatable boats on moving water. Explain how to safely outfit and use an inflatable boat in whitewater including the type of craft suited to certain water conditions, how to maneuver the craft on the water, and what special safety precautions should be taken when using an inflatable boat.
  13. Explain the risks of "tubing" on moving water.
  14. Participate in a 1-day whitewater trip for beginners. Help to prepare a written plan specifying route, schedule, equipment, safety precautions, and emergency procedures. Determine local rules and obtain permission from local property owners. Explain what steps you have taken to comply with the BSA Safety Afloat and the American Whitewater Affiliation Safety Code. Execute the plan with others.

BSA Advancement ID#: 125
Pamphlet Revision Date: 1998
Requirements last revised in 1998

Page updated on: November 28, 2017

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