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Actually in each an every one of those scout drowning SSD was not followed. and the point of posting them was to show that even a simple google search reveals each year 1-2 scouts die because they or their leaders do not follow SSD or safety afloat.



The only one that even came close was the Lake Huron drowning


Lake Huron Drowning

The were swimming in a designated swim area and thus did not need to set up roped areas. But it's a pretty safe bet they did not do buddy checks. The article implies there were no lifeguards.


As for the rest, CLEARLY the drowning occurred because a scout or scout leader was not following SSD.


I think they deserve a spin off thread. Which I'll do in about an hour.



A 20-foot diameter swimming hole is one thing. Lake Huron, the Atlantic ocean etc. are different. If that makes me a hard-butt then so be it. I'm a hard-butt but fact is scouts die every eyar because they or their leaders do not follow SSD. We are supposed to be teaching these kids not killing them.

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Actually in each an every one of those scout drowning SSD was not followed.


Yah...hmmm.... no.


In none of 'em is there clear evidence that SSD was not followed. Half of 'em weren't even scouting-related. Two of 'em were boating accidents where Safety Afloat, and not SSD applies. Da first boating accident was truly a "freak" accident according to da professional investigators at the scene.


Part of da problem is with just doing a Google search and pulling the first article, and then not doin' any additional investigation or research into da individual cases. That's necessary! Initial popular press reports tend to be very limited in terms of both information and accuracy. Garbage in, garbage out and all that, eh? Yeh don't get good conclusions or analysis out of incomplete data.


For example, let's take a look at da Lake Huron drowning since yeh brought it up:


But it's a pretty safe bet they did not do buddy checks. The article implies there were no lifeguards.


When yeh go and pull da accident report compiled by the Iosco county sheriff and da Michigan DHS, what you actually find is:


[Mr. Bettison] reported that these campers had been instructed in the "Buddy System" and were allowed to go swimming in the State Park Beach area. Three youth were together near the edge of the swim area and were told to "come back" due to high waves.


No violation of buddy system there. In fact, da accident report makes clear that the adult leaders had a whistle that was used for checks and other discipline.


If yeh know how press reporters work, what da first article was saying was that there were no State Park lifeguards on that beach. None of the adult leaders were certified lifeguards, but certified lifeguards are not required by SSD. They had posted lookouts and were actively monitoring discipline.


Would da outcome have been different if there was a certified lifeguard on scene? We'll never know. However da accident report says that the professional response by Coast Guard and the local fire rescue service "was made extremely difficult" due to the visibility limits caused by da wave action. It required a helicopter to guide rescuers to the victim even though he was close by. So odds are a certified lifeguard on the scene would not have made a difference.


It's always easy to assume accidents are da fault of people on the scene. Makes us feel more secure and righteous in da face of tragedy that could affect any of us. I think we have to fight that tendency, and aim more for Trustworthy, Loyal, and Kind. Take the time to really investigate before makin' judgments. Stand by fellow scouters in a tragedy, and show 'em kindness and the benefit of the doubt.


Sometimes, accidents are just accidents.


Beavah(This message has been edited by Beavah)

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That's interesting Beav


Could you post a link to the sheriff's report?


Oh as for lifeguards:



1. 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 youth members in his or her care, who is experienced in the water and confident of his or her ability to respond in the event of an emergency, 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 certified as a BSA Lifeguard to assist in the planning

and conduct of all swimming activity.)





4. 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 out - one 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.


5. Lookout

Station a lookout on the shore where it is possible to see and hear everything in all areas. The lookout may be the adult in charge of the swim and may give the buddy signals.


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Yah, thanks for confirming for everyone that certified lifeguards are not required by SSD. :)


While the reports agree that the adults in charge were not certified lifeguards, they also agree that the adults were looking out and were enforcing discipline.


No SSD foul there, though if yeh read the full thread you'll know my feeling with respect to what constitutes qualified supervision, eh? But that's my personal feeling (yours as well it seems), not the letter of da law.


It's not clear whether the adults in this case had a line with them, but of course a rescue line is not a requirement for SSD, it's only an advisory guideline. Lines in the water, as demonstrated by your second Googled accident, are extremely dangerous. They are best only handled by professionals trained in their use and carrying knives to free themselves or entrapped swimmers.


The accident report is available from da Iosco County Sheriff.





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Wow you keep posting an reposting that I used google to find these incidence as if it means anything google links is automatically wrong.


The fact is a couple scouts drown every year, sometimes on scout outtings. Almost inevitably it turns out that at least one point of SSD or SA was not being followed.


These incidences happened. The fact that google links the major news stories about them does not make them untrue. heck there are even MB requirements that instruct scouts to find stories in newspapers and use news stories as sources.



btw I have searched the sheriff's web page but can't find the link.

http://iosco.m33access.com/sheriff.htm Can you please post the link?

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Google is a wonderful search tool for finding things. It's just not a great evaluation tool, eh? To make sense of cases, yeh have to evaluate the quality of the source, the nature of the reportin', dig deeper, look for original or other sources. I'm not faulting google, eh? I'm offerin' a gentle critique of the way you're using it, because it's leading you to false conclusions. When we teach scouts to find newspaper articles, that's only the first step, eh? A good MBC will then sit with the scouts to evaluate the quality of the sources, and teach 'em to read critically and seek out more information as necessary.


And not everything is on da web, eh? Sometimes, yeh actually have to pick up a phone or write an email. :)



(This message has been edited by Beavah)

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My point is that I am reading stuff at quality news websites, noting that fact taht those stories do not necessarily include every detail, you are using a differnt source and acting as though I am make wreckless use of sources.


The fact is scouts drown every year, frquently at scouting events and almost inevitably when one or more points of SSD/SA were not being followed.


I used google to find a news story noted that the story does not menition the buddy system and posted qualifiers like "apparently."


You've decided to ignore the qualifiers,and ignore the fact that I am aware of the limits of news stories.


You have also decided to completely ignore the topic at hand and instead treat me like a silly child. I don't understand why you find being discourteous and irreverant so amusing but if you would like to discuss SSD/SA, the drownings and what could have been done to prevent them i'm willing to tolerate your attitude.


If you want to discuss "Bob is a silly child who uses the Boston globe as a source," please do so on a spinoff thread.



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Yah, da thing is that professional and high-quality sources don't rely on advertising revenue, eh? Unlike media outlets, they don't need to be sensational or entertaining, and they also don't worry about where or whether they appear in search engine listings.


That's why if you really want to understand things so as to inform people and prevent drownings, it takes more effort. Not much more effort, mind, just a little bit. Yeh have to do some work to collect and evaluate data before yeh make any claims.


The fact is scouts drown every year, frquently at scouting events and almost inevitably when one or more points of SSD/SA were not being followed.


That's a claim. Now, what is your evidence? Da problem with your original post was that you made a claim that was not supported by the cases which you presented.


In this case, what specifically leads yeh to believe that scouts drown "frequently" at scouting events?


I'd suggest that in actual fact da safety record of scouting events is very good, and that drownings at scouting events are remarkably infrequent.


When yeh actually do accident investigations, either as a professional or as part of litigation, yeh find that it's almost never as cut-and-dried as "he didn't follow SSD". Accidents are complex things, involvin' a lot of factors which add up in unfortunate ways. What you are presenting is overly simplistic and therefore not particularly helpful for either evaluation or prevention.


Just MHO, of course.



(This message has been edited by Beavah)

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I am confused on why you feel the Safe Swim Defense does not apply to a "swimming hole" and that it would be a bad idea for us to allow our Scouts to swim in such a location.


The Safe Swim Defense states: "Safe Swim Defense standards apply at backyard, hotel, apartment, and public pools; at established waterfront swim areas such as beaches at state parks and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lakes; and at all temporary swimming areas such as a lake, river, or ocean."


A "swimming hole" sure sounds like a "temporary swimming area such as a lake, river, ocean" to me.

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Perhaps I should have made myself more clear.


SSD DOES apply to swimming holes, but it was designed with larger areas in mind. Roping off three sections in a 20-foot wide swimming hole can seem rather silly. but thems the rules and they should be followed.


SSD should be followed at all scout related recreational swimming events.


The solution I suggested regarding was not to allow recreational swimming there at all but rather to use it for some legitmate puropose that does not require roped-off swimming areas.



You can use an unroped area to teach kids "capsized canoe" response, but you cannot use an unroped are for Marco Polo or water volleyball. Your local scout camp probably teaches capsized canoe response in an unroped area. Doing so is completely in keeping with BSA policy.


It would be nice if SSD policy were amended so that an exceedingly small area (like a 20-foot swimming hole) did not need to be roped off to comply with scout policies. Nonetheless we should comply with it as written.

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Or it would be nice if folks actually paid careful attention to what SSD actually says, eh? ;)


It's expected that yeh mark areas in some reasonable way, eh? But how yeh mark 'em is up to the Qualified Supervisor. Some suggestions are given, but yeh aren't limited to those suggestions. It certainly does not require stringing ropes hither and yon.


I think we're gettin' too caught up in details of mechanism rather than goals. Da goals of point 3 are to ensure that the capability of the swimmers matches the characteristics of da swim area. Focus on doin' that well, not on only one possible mechanism for doin' that well.




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