U. S. Scouting Service Project at http://usscouts.org


Effective: January 1, 1998


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When there is a conflict between two published lists of requirements, such as the Requirements Book and a Merit Badge Pamphlet, even when the pamphlet has a later issue date, the Requirements Book should be considered to be the controlling document, until a newer edition of the Requirements Book is issued. 

Bird Study
Camping (1996)
Electronics (1996)
Farm Mechanics
First Aid
Photography (1995)
Small Boat Sailing
Soil and Water Conservation
Wilderness Survival (1995)



First Aid:

In requirement 3(c), the phrase "on an adult mannequin for at least three minutes" has been replaced with "using a training device approved by your counselor." 

Small Boat Sailing,
, and

For each of these Merit Badges, in requirement 2(b), the phrase "on an adult mannequin for at least three minutes" has been replaced with "using a training device approved by your counselor." 

NOTE: The change mentioned above does not actually appear in the text for Small Boat Sailing Merit Badge in the 1998 Requirements Book, even though the Merit Badge is listed as being changed on the inside front cover, and no other changes were made. All other Aquatics Merit Badges have had the same change made, and we have been advised that this is an editor's error.  


In requirement 1, "2-14" is replaced with "2-15." 

Requirement 14 has been renumbered 15, and a new requirement 14 has been added as follows: 

  • 14. Do the following:
  • (a) Explain how to recognize and confirm cardiac arrest. 

    (b) Demonstrate proper technique for performing CPR using a training device approved by your counselor.

  • Bird Study:

    In requirement 1, delete the parenthetical phrase "(total of 6 hours)." 

    In requirement 2, delete the parenthetical phrase "(total of 15 hours)" and the footnote "Requirements 1 and 2 must be done at different times." 

    In requirement 3, replace "in your neighborhood" with "where you live." 

    Requirement 5 is changed to read: 

  •  5. Write a 500 word history about a bird of your choice. Include the following information if available: 
  • (a) Nesting habits 

    (b) Behavior and territory 

    (c) Food habits and diet 

    (d) Description and size of the young and adult birds 

    (e) Migratory habits, if it is not a permanent resident 

    (f) Any unusual characteristics about the bird you find interesting

  • Option 7(e) has been deleted. 

    Option 8(c) is changed to read: "Make a list of 20 species of extinct and declining birds of the United States." 


  • Delete the footnote "NOTE: a bugle, trumpet, or cornet may be used to meet these requirements."
  • NOTE: This was apparently an error, as it was reversed in the 1999 Boy Scout Requirements Book.


    Requirements 1-3 now read: 

    1. Develop a plan to teach a skill. Have your merit badge counselor approve the plan. Make teaching aids. Carry out your plan. With your counselor, check to see if you have successfully taught the skill. 

    2. Choose a product or service. Build a sales plan based on its good points. Try to "sell" your merit badge counselor on buying it from you. Talk with the counselor about how well you did in telling about the product or service and convincing the counselor to buy it. 

    3. Do the following: 

    • (a) Show how you would make a telephone call inviting an expert in the field of your choice to give a demonstration to your unit on that person's area of expertise.
    • (b) Show how to create an effective recorded message and how to leave a voice-mail message.

    In requirement 5, "Record what you hear." Has been replaced with "Listen and take notes." 

    Requirements 6-8 have been renumbered 7-9, and a new requirement 6 has been added as follows:  

    5. Do ONE of the following: 

    • (a) Write to the editor of a magazine or your local newspaper to express your opinion or share information (on any subject you choose). Or, write to an individual or organization to request information (on any subject). Send your message by fax or electronic mail, if possible. Otherwise, mail a traditional paper letter. 
    • (b) Create a page on the World Wide Web for yourself or to give information about your unit, school, or other organization. Include at least one article and one photograph or illustration. 
    • (c) Use desktop publishing to produce a newsletter, brochure, flier, or other printed material for your unit, school, chartered organization, or other group. Include at least one article and one photograph or illustration.

    New requirement 9 (old 8) now reads: 

  • 9. Check careers in the field of communications. Choose one career and discuss with your counselor the qualifications and preparation needed for it.

  • Cycling:

    In requirement 3(c), delete "chain tension." 

    In requirement 8, "take six rides of 25 miles each. Take two each month for 3 months." is replaced with "take two rides of ten miles each, two rides of fifteen miles each, and two rides of twenty-five miles each. 

    In requirement 9, "After the 3-month period in" has been replaced with "After fulfilling." 


    In requirement 1, add, "do the following" after "Then." 

    The first sentence of requirement 2(a) now reads "Tell or write about what causes dental decay and gum disease." The first sentence of requirement 2(b) now begins "Show that you can teach others . . ." 

    In requirement 4(c), "should not be eaten" is replaced by "you should avoid." 

    In requirement 5(c), "The ways in which" is replaced by "How." "Things to be talked about" is replaced by "Topics." 

    Requirement 6(a) now reads "Make a model tooth of soap, clay, papier-mâché, or wax. Using a string and a large hand brush, show proper tooth brushing and flossing to your troop or a school class." Requirement 6(e) has been replaced with "Make drawings and write about the progress of dental decay. Describe the types of dental fillings and treatments a dentist can use to repair dental decay problems." 

    In requirement 7(a), "Study" has been replaced with "Report on," and the second sentence has been deleted. In requirement 7(b), "high school or college needed" has been replaced by "education." 

    Farm Mechanics:

    Requirement 2 has been renumbered as 3, and the following new requirement 2 is added: 

  •  2. Do the following: 
  • (a) List ten safety devices in a well-equipped farm shop and explain the function of each. 

    (b) Demonstrate proper safety apparel and equipment to be worn and used when operating a grinder, wire-brush wheel, welder, or drill. 

    (c) Draw a plan showing a well-equipped farm shop. Point out mandatory safety devices and features in the shop.

  • Requirements 3 and 4 have been renumbered as 4 and 5, and revised to read as follows: 

    • 4. Do TWO of the following: 
      • (a) Replace the handle on any tool found on the farm. 
      • (b) Build a tool rack with storage for nails, bolts, nuts, and washers. 
      • (c) Properly grind the mushroom head off of a chisel or punch. 
      • (d) Correctly grind or file a screwdriver tip.

      5. Do ONE of the following: 

    • (a) Make the necessary adjustments to ready a piece of farm equipment or machinery for field operation. 

      (b) Choose a piece of farm machinery or equipment. Check all nuts, bolts, and screws. Tighten any that are loose. Replace those that are missing, worn, or damaged. 

      (c) Repair broken or warn farm machinery or equipment.

    New requirement 6 is added as follows: 

  • 6. Make a list of safety precautions for adjustments or repairs you make
    for requirement 5.
  • Requirement 5 has been renumbered 7. Part (a) is revised to read, "On an engine-powered machine: grease all fittings, change oil and oil filter, clean air cleaner, flush cooling system, clean radiator fins, and replace diesel fuel filters." In part (c), replace "winter" with "winter storage." 

    Requirement 6 has been renumbered as 8. The following new requirement 9 is added: 

    • 9. Explain each step in ONE of the following maintenance procedures: 
      • (a) Tightening hydraulic fittings 
      • (b) Servicing spark plugs 
      • (c) Lubricating a clutch-release bearing 
      • (d) Cleaning a work piece with a wire-brush wheel.


    Requirement 4 is revised to read "Take five hikes, each on a different day, and each of at least ten continuous miles." 

    Requirement 6 is revised to read "After each hike, write a short report of your experience. Give dates and descriptions of routes covered, weather, and any interesting things you saw." 


    In requirement 1, "using good technique, phrasing, tone, rhythm, and dynamics." is added to the end of the first sentence, and the third sentence is deleted. 

    In requirement 2 , in the first sentence, "four" is changed to "five", and in the second sentence, "one of" is changed to read "one instrument in".

    In requirement 3(a), compact discs and videos are added to the list of sources. "Tell who wrote them. Tell who the artists were. Name the conductors." is replaced with "Name the composers, artists, and conductors." In the last sentence "Talk over" is replaced with "Discuss."

    In requirement 3(b), "of this country's better-known" is replaced with "better-known American."

    In requirement 3(c), "town" is replaced with "local," and "take part" is replaced with "perform." 

    In requirement 4(c), delete "musical." In requirement 4(d), compact discs have been added as a choice. 


    There have been NO changes to the requirements. However, requirement 4 is numbered differently in the Requirements Book and the Merit Badge Pamphlet.  The Requirements are the same, however. When working on this badge as a Scout or counseling Scouts for this badge, be alert to this discrepancy.


    In requirement 1(e), "your home" is replaced with "your family's home." 

    In requirement 5, the parenthetical listing "(such as a church, theater, picnic, beach, travel)" is replaced with "(at church, at a theater, on a picnic, at the beach, and while traveling, for example)." 

    Soil and Water Conservation:

    Requirements 3(d) and 5(f) were removed.  

    This merit badge change is effective 1/1/98, even though the Merit Badge is not  listed on the Inside Front Cover of the 1998 book. 

    This analysis was originally prepared as a service to Scouts and Scouters nationwide by:
    Bruce E. Cobern
    Advancement Chairman
    Founders District
    Queens Council
    Greater New York Councils
    Boy Scouts of America

    The information was edited, rearranged, and converted to HTML by:
    Paul S. Wolf
    Advancement Committee
    Winding Rivers District
    Greater Cleveland Council
    Boy Scouts of America

    Copies may be freely distributed, so long as the author and editor are acknowledged.

    Page updated on: November 28, 2017

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