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BSA Lifeguard replaced?

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Has anyone heard of BSA lifeguard being replaced with Swimming and Water Rescue Course (Formerly BSA Lifeguard)?

This is the first time I had heard of this.


Info I found on this course


BSA Aquatics Supervison: Swimming and Water Rescue Course:


New for 2010.


This course replaces BSA Lifeguard for Unit swimming activities. This is NOT a Merit Badge, it is intended to train lifeguards for individual Unit swimming activities. 8 hours of course work, double session afternoon, Periods 3 and 4, Monday through Thursday. Valid for 3 years from date of completion. Limited to 10 participants per week. This training does not include any First Aid training, it is expected that the participant will address First Aid needs separately.

Pre-Requirements (May be reason for disqualification):

1. Age and Physical Fitness:

A. Be age 16 years or older prior to training


B. Submit written evidence of physical fitness. (The Lost Valley Medical form covers this requirement).


2 . Swimming Ability: (Will be completed at camp, may be reason for disqualification):A. Complete the BSA Swimmer Test


B. Recover a 10-pound weight from 8 feet of water.


* There are 12 other requirements that will be completed while at camp.


Challenging the Course:


The following groups may complete the course by passing, or challenging, the requirements without attending the normal course sessions:


A. Anyone with a completed Swimming & Water Rescue training card whose expiration date has not been exceeded by more than six months.

B. Anyone with a completed BSA Lifeguard training card whose expiration date has not been exceeded by more than six months.

C. Anyone with a completed American Red Cross Lifeguard training card whose expiration date has not been exceeded by more than six months.

D. Anyone approved by the local council as a Lifesaving Merit Badge Counselor.



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Yep they watered-down BSA Lifeguard, making it essentially Red Cross or YMCA for scouts and pools. All boating activities and lake activities require the newer courses.


I personally think this is a mistake. BSA Lifeguard from 1993 until last year WAS the toughest lifeguard course out of YMCA and ARC. heck i taught YMCA Lifeguarding, and i'd rather have a few folks who FAILED BSA Lifeguard watch over me and my kids rather than the YMCA guards i was told to pass. Yes it's important to go with equipment, but if things hit the fan, you need to be prepared to handle that rescue without equipment.

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BSA Lifeguard has not been replaced. The two courses, "Swimming and Water Rescue" and "Paddle Craft Safety" were announced in 2009 and are new courses.


Oddly enough, unit swims do not require a certified lifeguard - only someone 21 or older who accepts responsibility. The Swimming and Water Rescue gives training for that purpose


BSA Lifeguard was enhanced, and is designed for professional lifeguards - resident summer camp staff, for example.

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I must sadly disagree with your assessment that it has been "enhanced." As a former YMCA Lifeguard instructor, both when the' hand to hand combat" was taught and when they removed that content, as well as a former BSA Lifeguard, I can tell you that the content has been downgraded.


Yes the old BSA Lifeguard program also focused on lakes and boating, unlike YMCA and ARC, there was still an element of pool/swimming area safety liek the other two. FURTHER since Swimming, Lifesaving, First Aid, Rowing, and Canoeing MBs were prerequisites for the BSA Lifeguard course at one time, one could say that the BSA course was more intense, event with the Minimum 40 hours due to the prerequisites.


BSA Lifeguard was also a "professional" certification like ARC and YMCA, just not widely known outside of BSA. The college I worked at mostly had ARC lifeguards, but you had myself and one other who held BSA Lifeguards working year round.


As I stated previously, and I stand by this, I know of folks who have FAILED the BSA Lifeguard program for minor technicalities, grant you it usually related to boating, who had better lifeguarding KSAs than folks I helped to "certify" as YMCA 'guards (don't get me started on that one!).


Because Scouting does so much on the water, I still think that it is a mistake to remove the boating portions from BSA Lifeguard. Fortunately they offer training, but for some of us old fogeys with limited time and $ to get these certifications, it's not feasible.



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Looks like BSA is still staying myopic with the focus on the traditional training of pools, and waterfront guards.


You would think, with the new high adventure base they are building in West Virginia, BSA would start to consider a swift water rescue/awareness program for scouts and scouters,even if it was no more then just the basics to cover self rescue techniques, as well as the do's and don'ts of swimming in rapids.


As I keep saying, matters not a whit if you're ARC, or BSA Lifeguard, if you don't understand the dynamics of swift water, and able to read white water, you've got no business in guarding such an activity...


(This message has been edited by Le Voyageur)

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I'm having a devil of a time finding a counselor for BSA lifeguard (Wood Badge Ticket) the guide to safe scouting recommends that each unit have someone trained in BSA lifeguard.


Is this new certification meant to replace the recommendation for BSA Lifeguard at the Unit level? I'd like to be able to read up on some of these changes as I have not seen it published yet. People are quoting stuff which is all fine and good but it does me little good if there is no accompanying documentation to back it up.


Thank you.

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Around here the only chance to find a BSA Lifeguard course is at summer camp. I suggest you read the online Guide to Safe Scouting



Qualified Supervision

All swimming activity must be supervised by a mature and conscientious adult age 21 or older who understands and knowingly accepts responsibility for the well-being and safety of those in his or her care, and who is trained in and committed to compliance with the eight points of BSA Safe Swim Defense. It is strongly recommended that all units have at least one adult or older youth member currently trained in BSA Swimming and Water Rescue OR BSA Lifeguard to assist in planning and conducting all swimming activities.


To add to le Voyageur comments - there also is no mention of ocean and surf safety and rescue.


My $0.02



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if memory serves, the revised BSA Lifeguard program was designed by ARC, and now is almost identical to ARC. I'm not a WBer, but maybe you can modify your ticket to be just Lifeguard certified?


Also as stated SSD doesn't require certified lifeguards, just someone over 21 to be in charge. Which can make it interesting when you have a 16yo BSA Lifeguard, or an 19YO Lifeguard instructor ;)

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