This summer, make safety on the water your top priority

Most of my best memories from summer camp involved the water.

Where else but Camp Cherokee’s epic waterfront could I swim, canoe with my friends, or sit on a massive airbag called “the blob” and get propelled 15 feet into the air?

At camp or not, summer isn’t summer without water activities. But with great fun comes great responsibility, and that’s where you come in.

The BSA, a champion of aquatics safety for more than 80 years, knows that the use of Safe Swim Defense and Safety Afloat guidelines will prevent water-related tragedies.

But like any of the BSA’s safety rules, they’re worthless if you don’t know them.

So before you take your next trip on the water, heed these reminders:

Safe Swim Defense

Before a BSA group may engage in swimming activities of any kind, a minimum of one adult leader must complete Safe Swim Defense training (MyScouting login required), have a commitment card (No. 34243) with them, and agree to use the eight defenses in this plan:

  1. Qualified Supervision
  2. Personal Health Review
  3. Safe Area
  4. Response Personnel (Lifeguards)
  5. Lookout
  6. Ability Groups
  7. Buddy System
  8. Discipline

Find out more about these eight defenses at the Safe Swim Defense page.

Safety Afloat

Safety Afloat has been developed to promote boating and boating safety and to set standards for safe unit activity afloat.

Before a BSA group may engage in an excursion, expedition, or trip on the water (canoe, raft, sailboat, motorboat, rowboat, floating in an inner tube, or other craft), adult leaders for such activity must complete Safety Afloat Training (MyScouting login required), No. 34159, have a commitment card, No. 34242, with them, and be dedicated to full compliance with all nine points of Safety Afloat:

  1. Qualified Supervision
  2. Personal Health Review
  3. Swimming Ability
  4. Life Jackets
  5. Buddy System
  6. Skill Proficiency
  7. Planning
  8. Equipment
  9. Discipline
Find more at the Safety Afloat page.

What do you think?

What are your tips for keeping Scouts safe on the water? Leave your thoughts below.


Photo by Flickr user stevejb68

About Bryan Wendell 2966 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.