848 Policy – Swim Checks

The swim classification for individuals participating in a Boy Scouts of America activity is a key element in the Safe Swim Defense and Safety Afloat. The Swim Classification Tests should be renewed annually, preferably at the beginning of each outdoor season. Traditionally, the Swim Classification Test has frequently been conducted at a long-term summer camp. However, the Swim Classification Test may sometimes be completed prior to coming to camp. In addition, the troop can test boys prior to other aquatic activities within the troop.  All persons participating in BSA aquatics are classified according to swimming ability. The classification tests and test procedures have been developed and structured to demonstrate a skill level consistent with the circumstances in which the individual will be in the water. The Swimmer Test demonstrates the minimum level of swimming ability for recreational and instructional activity in a confined body of water with a maximum 12-foot depth and with shallow water footing, a pool or pier edge within 25 feet of swimmer. The various components of each test evaluate the several skills essential to the minimum level of swimming ability. Each step of the test is important and should be followed as listed.

Swimmer Test

1. Jump feet first into water over the head in depth.

2. Swim 75 yards in a strong manner using one or more of the following strokes:  Side stroke, breast stroke, trudgen crawl

3. Then swim 25 yards using a resting back stroke.

4. Finally rest by floating for a minute.

The 100 yards must be swam continuously and include at least one sharp turn.

Beginner Test

1. Jump feet first into water over the head in depth.

2. Swim 25 feet on the surface.

3. Turn sharply and return to starting place.

The swim classification test conducted at unit level should be supervised by one of the following council approved personnel: Aquatics Instructor, BSA Lifeguard, certified lifeguard, Swimming Instructor or Swim Coach all of whom must be at least 21 years of age or older. When the unit goes to a summer camp, each individual will be issued a buddy tag under the direction of the Camp Aquatics Director for use at the camp


So basically, we can pre-certify scouts before summer camp but it must be supervised by approved council personnel listed above.  If scouts are not pre-certified, no problem, they will just be tested at camp. 

Troop Exception: For scouts not attending summer camp and active on a swim team or completed the Swimming merit badge, he’s exempted from having to do a swim check for troop camp outs. (This exemption only applies to our troop and does not apply to summer camp.)