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Engineer61

Confused ... Fails Swim Test, but can go on Canoe Trip

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So, Scout apparently failed the next level of swim test on Monday, would not jump into the pool. (It was a calm wave pool and the drop was 2 1/2 feet.

 

However, an ASM called and said that Scout can still go on canoe trip this weekend, because he'll be assigned to the ASM's canoe.

 

Am I missing something?

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From Guide to Safe Scouting Safety Afloat

 

For activity afloat, those not classified as a swimmer are limited to multiperson craft during outings or float trips on calm water with little likelihood of capsizing or falling overboard. They may operate a fixed-seat rowboat or pedal boat accompanied by a buddy who is a swimmer. They may ride in a canoe or other paddle craft with an adult swimmer skilled in that craft as a buddy. They may ride as part of a group on a motorboat or sailboat operated by a skilled adult.

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I bet the ASM's went around the table and based their decision on what they knew of the scout, the body of water, and their ability to manage the situation. If things looked good on paper, but they had doubts, they wouldn't have given the clear.

 

For example, there's no way I'd ask an adult (or other youth, for that matter) to spend the day in a boat with a kid who has recently shown profound lack of discipline. Until he corrects his track record, that boy stays home no matter how high he jumped from, how far he swam, and how long he floated.

 

So if you as a parent think scout may have bigger problems, call the SM. But, if once he's in water he puts his head up and his feet down, and if when told something he listens, it's probably best for him to go.

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Well, Mom and I disagree on his swimming skill. I consider him a weak swimmer even in controlled situations. I would never allow him on open water, PFD or not.

 

It's a river canoe trip... from one reservoir to another I don't know the particular river at all but I'm asking some of my GWH-type friends.

 

I'm taking him for a second try on his swim test tomorrow....I get to see him since last summer.

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With a PFD, unless they are doing whitewater it's a pretty safe situation. I wouldn't hesitate being in a boat with a boy who couldn't swim at all as long as they have that PFD on (which all scouts and leaders are required to wear on a scouting boating event).

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Personally, if a person cannot qualify as a BSA swimmer, they should not be going. I know that G2SS allows such a person to go, but I don't want to deal with that additional risk.

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I think I'd rather have a Scout wearing a PFD who couldn't swim than a Scout who could swim if a canoe were to swamp. A Scout who can't swim is more likely to stay with the darn boat, which even though it's swamped, is still floating and can be held on to. Too often in these kinds of situations, it's the person who decides to swim for shore that drowns rather than the one that stays with the boat.

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Yah, if I remember correctly you're in AZ Engineer61. Can yeh tell us what river?

 

Safety decisions for water activities depend so much on the knowledge of the river at its current flow rate, and the experience of the group. In this case, I disagree with da BSA's approach, because generally speaking the fellow in the boat with you isn't going' to be the one rescuing you. So it doesn't matter a whole lot who is in the boat with you as long as they're good enough not to need help themselves. Support is goin' to come from da folks in other boats.

 

There are lots of rivers and lots of groups where I'd have no qualms at all about takin' a weak swimmer. There are lots of rivers where I'd never take a weak swimmer.

 

Yeh have to trust the folks that know the local conditions and the group.

 

B

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Interesting situation. Glad G2SS will allow it, but I wish it would also include a youth who is a certified lifeguard as well. If memory serves you use to have a certified lifeguard in a canoe, not an adult.

 

Even though he can still go, I hope he does the swim test nonetheless.

 

True story, one year I was classified as a "non-swimmer" b/c I hadn't taken a swim test that year. So I had to ride in a canoe with someone I helped train as a lifeguard the year before.

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I took a young Scout who was a beginning swimmer out rowing at summer camp a couple of times and was entirely satisfied that was safe.

 

I would have doubts about taking a beginner swimmer with no canoeing experience on a river. I might do it, I might not, it would depend on the circumstances.

 

A PFD is a supplemental safety device in my opinion. I would be depending on the person involved to keep their head and have a measure of good judgment if a problem developed.

 

The hydraulics of a river can add a lot of complexity to canoeing.

 

On the other hand, a kid with some swimming skills in a PFD combined with a reasonably skilled adult in the same canoe adds a substantial amount of protection.

 

It would depend on the river. How fast is the current? Are there sweepers or other obstructions? How wide is it? Can you get ashore readily if need be, or are the shores obstructed? And so on.

 

 

 

 

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The entire group missed the point of the discussion

 

Step Dad isn't comfortable with him going canoeing with out passing the swim test

 

 

Eng.....you hold the ultimate decision......No is always acceptable and often preferable answer.......If your not comfortable with the situation then NO is the only correct answer...

 

Playing the bad guy is ok from time to time

 

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(1) I would go by what the Step Dad says.

(2) Some boys are poor swimmers. They need work. I am more concerned about the fact he would not even try. If he is that scared he is more likely to panic even with a PFD and could drown. He should still need to learn how to right a canoe, etc.

(3) I would probably let a beginner go but not a non-swimmer. That said we would give multiple chances for the boy to become a beginner before the trip. (We went through this once and we had 4 swim test opportunities mostly to accommodate two boys)

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If Stepdad is uncomfortable, while the adult leaders are comfortable, then Stepdad's instincts should be the one to follow. What does Mom think about it?

 

 

 

Has Scout ever passed the swim test? If so, if it was less than a year ago (summer camp?) then Scout may be a swimmer?

 

Has the ASM that will be in the canoe seen Scout in the water before?

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