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Pool Party and Safe Swim

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So I'm having a back to school pool party at one of the parent's house. It's our first den meeting of the fall too. Not going to do alot but maybe some "Get Fit" stuff for the Wolf Badge and then let them play in the pool. However, even in this situation I should use the safe swim defense right? The rules talk about setting up 3 areas for non-swimmers, beginners, and swimmers for places not reguarly used for swimming. Do you have to divide up a pool for that stuff? It doesn't talk alot about being in a pool area.

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"You would be better of not doing this as a scout activity"


Thanks for the reply, but I don't quite follow. Are you saying that I'd be better off not having the pool party or not doing it as an official den activity? I've been reading and think that I'm in pretty good shape.


I will have two adult leaders there, including the committee chair, both trained in safe swim defense. As long as we have responsible adults in the position of lifeguard (x2) and lookout that should be good. And of course we'll need to use the buddy system.


Seems like it should be fine IMHO, but I am looking for someone to say otherwise or agree.


Another Question...can the lookout be one of the two lifeguards?

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What kind of pool is it? How deep is it? Have the scouts been tested for swimming abilities?


If the pool is no deeper than 3.5 feet then it would be considered ok for non-swimmers and would not need to be divided. Scouts not tested for swimming ability would be considered non-swimmers.


see http://www.scouting.org/HealthandSafety/GSS/gss02.aspx


I don't see anything preventing the adult supervisors as being lifegaurds (or capbable swimmers).

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Hire an appropriate pool. Hire the services of competent lifeguards. That's permitted under SSD.


Otherwise, you're going to be calling in a fair number of BSA Lifeguard qualified Boy Scouts to help... and a homemade fried chicken dinner would not be an inappropriate incentive to bring them along ;)

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From G2SS:



Lifeguards on Duty

Swim only where there are lifeguards on duty. For unit swims in areas where lifeguards are not provided by others, the supervisor should designate two capable swimmers as lifeguards. Station them ashore, equipped with a lifeline (a 100-foot length of 3/8-inch nylon cord). In an emergency, one carries out the line; the other feeds it out from shore, then pulls in his partner and the person being helped. In addition, if a boat is available, have two people, preferably capable swimmers, take it outone rowing and the other equipped with a 10-foot pole or extra oar. Provide one guard for every 10 people in the water, and adjust the number and positioning of guards as needed to protect the particular area and activity.


2 Lifeguards minimum. That takes you to 20 folks in the water.


Thereafter, 1 additional LG to each 10 swimmers OR FRACTION THEREOF. That means the 21st person in the water triggers the 3d LG.


Hire the pool. Hire the support staff. That meets SSD.


BTW, have you done your TOUR PERMIT?? It's required for aquatics events.(This message has been edited by John-in-KC)

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G2SS is pretty strick on swimming as a Scout activity, but it is doable. There are a few important things to remember.


a) If you know that a Cub has passed a certain level swim test this summer, I do not believe that they have to retest. So if they have all gone to camp with swimming, you should be good there. Just be sure that you KNOW this.


b) For Cubs, the ratio of adult supervisors to Cubs must be 5 to 1, not 10 to 1.


c) Make sure there is a trip permit on file.


d) Most private pools have a sharp dropoff, so a rope across the shallow end marking a non-swimmer/beginner and swimmer areas would be sufficient. Also note that BSA does not allow diving in water less than 7' in depth, entry in depths less than this must be feet first.


e) Don't forget your buddy checks about every 10 minutes. Note that if the group is small enough to get a quick and accurate count, they do not have to exit the water. They only have to mark their buddy.


f) You do not need certified lifeguards. You MUST have capable adult swimmers and a life line. A rescue pole and float is also highly recommended.


g) One person needs to be desiganated "look out" and must have a clear view of the pool. This person is responsible for the rules in the pool including buddy checks, safety issues, adult swimmer/Cub ratio, etc.

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1st, do you in fact know the swim qualifications of your Cubs?

If not you need to treat them all(or at least those you haven't had tested) as non-swimmers until they have tested.


2nd, It's hard to comment on backyard pools without seeing the one you are talking about. For some backyard pools you can't fit 10 Scouts in the pool at the same time. Some I've seen in this area would require a full out 3 swim areas by ability, a guard for each area regardless of 1:10 load - the first guard then takes care of the first ten in each area, then you may need an additional guard for the next swimmer numbers 11-20,etc., in each area. Judge your needs by the size and depths of the pool plus the anticipated swimmer load.


If you are hiring out a private or public pool - you may just have them provide the lifeguards also - but realize that they may not utilize BSA standards for the ratio of guard to swimmers that we utilize and they probably won't worry about ability groups or buddy groups. But it will cover your situation under G2SS.


3rdly, You'll need to make a judgment call on this whole thing or you might ask a BSAL to come over and advise you on what they would do with the pool in question.


BSAL's will probably work a two or three hour party for a meal(or a meal and $10 or Troop donation)(and a smart Scoutmaster who has some BSAL's will see it as a recruiting tool to get those BSAL's to work for you with minimal compensation) - but they will probably also try to get you to do things the way they were trained - If not, they aren't following their own training - which includes not working for a leader who isn't following the rules of SSD as it shifts culpability for an incident partly to them.


Yes, the lookout can be one of the lifeguards(capable swimmers in your case) but remember that one lifeguard (most often the lookout) should always be able to look out for the other guard/s.


According to the reference given by NealOnWheels and your second post on this thread it looks like you would be okay with the way you appear to be stating you would do it. Pack212Scouter has a good additional list - I'm not sure about the Item (b) on his list but that is probably a Cub Scout item for general supervision. You are doing a tour permit, yes?

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If the pool is a shallow above ground call it all a non swimmers area.

If it is an in ground pool, divide it as needed.

Post a pair of lookouts.




We use the boys shoes on the deck as a count of who is in the pool.



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