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swimming?

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We have been family camping many, many, times, but never where we could swim. I've just discovered a new State Park where we could do a little of everything, including swimming. Do I need someone certified for swimming, or is the parent being with the child enough? We've done Baloo and First Aid/CPR.

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Seed,

 

There are a variety of rules for swimming that you need to follow, including marking off areas of various depths and having qualified supervision (no, having parents present won't necessarily cover you, even though common sense might suggest that it should be enough). These rules are covered in BALOO training and the Guide to Safe Scouting and as I recall they are rather stringent. Here's a link to the G2SS policies on water safety.

 

http://www.scouting.org/pubs/gss/gss02.html

 

Lisa'bob

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The rules are indeed stringent as listed, and in many situations, totally impractical. They seem to presume that you are in charge of the swimming area and no one else is using it. And that works perfectly well, at, for example, Boy Scout camp. At a state park with areas already marked off, and possibly with lifeguards, the rules just make way less sense.

 

Under the pool swimming section, there is a phrase that I find appropriate for most all situations: "A responsible adult supervisor, who understands his or her responsibility and the elements of safety, can exercise discretion regarding certain procedures while maintaining safety." They are specifically saying that in a swimming pool, the rules can change. I think that's also true of other areas where other groups are in charge of the swimming area.

 

One thing some groups do, including our council, is to say "Parents can use this time to take their own children swimming/boating, under the parent's responsibility."

 

But you should at least read the rules in the G2SS and go from there.

 

Oak Tree

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The rules involving open water are significant and substantial. Make sure you note the rules on water turbidity and clarity.

 

Your unit may want to allow extra time for the tour permit to process. A Pack choosing to do aquatics as part of a family camp will get the undivided attention of Council professionals. I would not be surprised if there were not a few phone calls asking for clarification.

 

A SAFE SWIM DEFENSE TRAINED ADULT IS MANDATORY!!! If your council office is anything like mine, they will check for this!

 

John

A BSA Lifeguard

 

(This message has been edited by John-in-KC)

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Oaktree, in a public or private pool where the pool operator provides guard personnel, there may be no need for additional designation of Scout lifeguards or lookout. In a beach environment where provided lifeguard personnel do not meet the BSA guide of 1 to 10 those extra precautions may well be needed for a safe SCOUT activity. When I guarded at the Indiana Dunes State Park our guard perches where 40 yards apart. How many bodies can you fit in almost half a football field? The first line of responsibility in any Scout event is the qualified adult in charge. Pull one little kid out of the water and have to do mouth to mouth and you will regard aquatic activities differently I can assure you. Over kill on the Safe Swim Defense means under control. LongHaul

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John-in-KC is correct, anytime you do a scout activity (not just a Pack overnighter) that involves a water activity, you MUST have an adult with CURRENT Safe Swim/Safety Afloat training running it.

 

This means even if you go to your local "Y" to swim in their pool with their lifeguards on duty. You might not have to follow all of the Safe Swim procedures, but you will have to follow at least some of them (like the Buddy System).

 

 

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John-in-KC is correct, anytime you do a scout activity (not just a Pack overnighter) that involves a water activity, you MUST have an adult with CURRENT Safe Swim/Safety Afloat training running it.

 

Yah, because dat 40 minute online animated "training" is really goin' to improve safety, eh? ;)

 

 

 

 

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Because it is a BSA rule, & if a "40 minute online animated training" helps keep even one child safer then it is worth it. To me at least.

 

BTW - The online Aquatics Safety materials are NOT the training itself. They are considered to be an introduction to the training units. BSA has this to say :

 

"Please note that review of either or both of these units online is considered helpful but does not meet all the BSA qualifications for conducting water-related programs. For more, and before conducting any waterfront or boating activities, contact your local council."

 

 

 

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Here's my take:

 

A family camp coupled with a swim is an ideal opportunity for a Pack to request assistance from nearby Troops.

 

Safe Swim Defense qualified leaders, BSA Lifegaurd qualified Scouts, Lifesaving Merit Badge holding Scouts ... serving to support the aquatics opportunity of the Pack.

 

Sounds to me like a win-win.

 

Beavah ... first, trying to be write as though you are speaking colloquially gets really old. Please, write in standard English. As to your point ... Safe swim defense and safety afloat are ideally to be presented by a BSA Lifeguard Trainer, but depending local Council practice (my understanding) may be given by a current BSA Lifeguard.

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I sat through safe swim defense last year and I must say it was entirely useless. This may be a matter of a poor local training team but it wouldn't surprise me to learn that this is common. But I would hate for anyone to suppose that just because they sat through this training, that this was sufficient. Necessary yes, sufficient, no.

 

At any rate, Seed, after having a look at the rules for swimming our pack made the decision to avoid doing water events at pack meetings, except in situations where we had rented a pool and a trained lifeguard staff was provided as part of the rental fee. (We held one pack meeting each year at a nearby pool.) We just didn't feel we could meet all the requirements for open water activity at any of the swimming areas in nearby state parks.

 

And we asked, too, about the notion of having families take their own children swimming. Our DE told us that if it was taking place in the context of what was otherwise a scout event, that simply announcing that families had an opportunity to take their children swimming on their own would not be sufficient distance - in other words, if something were to happen, the pack could potentially still be responsible.

 

Interpretations may vary and you might make a different decision - but that's where we ended up on the matter.

 

Lisa'bob

 

 

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A SAFE SWIM DEFENSE TRAINED ADULT IS MANDATORY!!! If your council office is anything like mine, they will check for this!

 

John

A BSA Lifeguard

***********

 

Thanks for all your help, everyone. We might just have to skip the swimming this year. I'm not a swimmer, or I'd be glad to take the training. I can't get anyone else to step up to the plate for this one. Our council is excellent, and I'm sure the tour permit wouldn't even get past the secretary!

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Safe swim defense does not require the adult leader to be a swimmer. It requires him or her to know, understand, accept, and support the proper planning of aquatics events in the BSA program.

 

This is stuff we teach tenderfeet to be 2d class Scouts. We teach the important parts of safety afloat as part of the rank advancement plan to first class.

 

Here's what I taught my son, all those years ago:

 

Qualified supervision: A GROWNUP in charge.

 

Physical Fitness: The Scout(er) is medically cleared for swimming, and the leaders know he has the basic physical strength to attempt the swim test.

 

Safe swim area: It's a pool, or it's been checked before beginning use. For details of what BSA calls a safe swim area, read the G2SS.

 

Lifeguards on duty: ABSOLUTE MINIMUM OF 2. Two is the number from 2-20 swimmers. For every 10 swimmers or ANY FRACTION THEREOF, add a lifeguard (22 in the water means 3 lifeguards, 32 4, and so forth). Lifeguards have the proper equipment (reach, throw, row, go WITH SUPPORT) (poles, heaving lines, buoy belts, and boats) to get to any swimmer in the swim area!

 

Lookout! Someone (may be the adult in charge) whose only job is to keep his eyes constantly moving through the swimming area. He or she must be able to see the entire swim area. If not, you need more lookouts or a smaller swimming area.

 

Ability groups: The rules of the BSA swim test govern the depth of water Scouts may be in. Again, refer to G2SS for specific numbers. All swimmers must attempt the test, and the results determine where they can swim.

 

Buddy system: Never swim alone. Your buddy is always close to hand, enjoying the swim with you. If a buddy pair is mismatched (swimmer with non-swimmer), the more able must defer to the skill of the less able.

 

Finally, discipline: Follow the rules!

 

Yes, if you read the aquatics chapter of the G2SS, you will get 85-90% of the Safe Swim training, but the idea is that the leader (or BSA lifeguard) understand this is SERIOUS BUSINESS, and it's a duty we accept on our honor.

 

Good night :) It's bedtire here in flyover country.

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BTW - The online Aquatics Safety materials are NOT the training itself. They are considered to be an introduction to the training units. BSA has this to say

 

Sure ya can get SSD or SA by just doin' the online course. Even print yourself up a card. Automatically recorded at your council and all that.

 

And completely useless. Which is why the disclaimer you mention, eh? It's not enough to do the trainin'. Ya gotta have the resources and know what you're doin'.

 

 

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Lest anyone misunderstand, the purpose of the Safe Swim Defense training is NOT to create an aquatics superman that can perform water rescues under any conditions.

 

The purpose is to teach an adult leader how to minimize risk so that water rescues will not be needed. The SSD-trained adult knows what is required to conduct a safe swim activity, accepts the responsibility to ensure the safety of the swimmers, and is prepared to handle an emergency should one arise.

 

Safe Swim Defense is not rocket science. If the 8 points are followed, accidents will be minimized and kids will be safe. If the 8 points cannot be met, the SSD-trained adult is trained to understand that the swimming activity cannot be conducted safely and will stop it or not allow it to start.

 

An 87 year old grandma can plan and supervise a swimming activity that follows the SSD plan. That doesnt mean she must be the one to carry out a 100 lifeline to a drowning boy. But she must ensure that there is someone there that can do it if necessary.

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If the 8 points cannot be met, the SSD-trained adult is trained to understand that the swimming activity cannot be conducted safely and will stop it or not allow it to start.

 

Imagine the astonishment of every city and school and YMCA swim program in the country at being told that they cannot possibly be conducting swimming safely because they aren't following all 8 points of SSD.;) SSD is a good system, if a bit overboard.

 

That doesnt mean she must be the one to carry out a 100 lifeline to a drowning boy.

 

Yah, dat's smart, eh? Lots of heavy rope in the water with a pair of struggling, desperate humans? I hope someone has a knife. Let's hope no one is carryin' a bunch of line out to a drowning person. Durned dangerous.

 

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