BSA Lifeguard

Age Requirement
   To enroll in the BSA Lifeguard course you must be at least 14 years of age or have completed the eighth grade.

Prerequisites
   To enroll in the BSA Lifeguard course, you must:

  1. Swim 400 yards. Jump feetfirst into water over your head and swim continuously for 400 yards in a strong manner. The 400 yards shall consist of a minimum of 50 yards of elementary backstroke; 50 yards of breaststroke; 50 yards of front crawl or trudgen; and 50 yards of sidestroke.
  2. Surface dive. Perform a feetfirst and a tuck or pike surface dive in 8 to 10 feet of water and recover a 10-pound weight on both dives.
  3. Float. Demonstrate the ability to rest by floating.
  4. Dive. Perform a long, shallow dive.
  5. Row. Complete the basic handling test for rowboats.
    1. Demonstrate the ability to launch a boat properly, row a straight line for 100 yards, turn, come back in a straight line, land, and moor the boat properly.
    2. Participate in a swamped-boat safety demonstration, including a demonstration of the use and care of PFDs.

Aquatic Skills
   Demonstrate each of the following aquatic skills:

  1. Perform a long, shallow dive into deep water and swim 25 yards in 20 seconds or less using an approach stroke.
  2. Throw a line for accuracy 10 yards, three times in one minute. The line may be weighted, unweighted, or a ring buoy.
  3. Perform a rescue of a swimmer using a rowboat. Explain how other watercraft common to your area can be used to perform a rescue. Explain the advantages and disadvantages of different craft in making rescues.
  4. Perform each of the following rescues with the aid of a rescue tube:
    1. Using a front approach, swim with the rescue tube 15 yards to a conscious, passive victim; extend the rescue tube to the victim; have the victim grasp the rescue tube; and tow the victim back to the starting point in the water.
    2. Using a front approach, swim with the rescue tube 15 yards to a conscious, passive victim; wrap the tube around the victim; and tow the victim back to the starting point in the water. Repeat using the rear approach.
  5. Perform a stride jump into water at least 9 feet deep; swim 15 yards to an unconscious victim; perform a front surface approach; position the victim for a wrist tow; and use the wrist tow to return the victim to the starting point in the water.
  6. Perform a long shallow dive into water at least 9 feet deep; swim 15 yards to the rear of the victim; position the victim in either a single- or double-armpit tow; and tow the victim to the starting point in the water.
  7. Jump feetfirst into water at least 9 feet deep; using a rear approach swim 15 yards to an active victim; contact the victim and level him or her using a single- or double-armpit tow; position the victim in a cross-chest carry; and return to the starting point in the water.
  8. Perform the following defenses and escapes:
    1. One- and two-hand block
    2. Wrist-grip escape
    3. Rear head-hold escape
    4. Front head-hold escape
  9. Remove the victim from the water using each of the following techniques:
    1. Pack-strap carry
    2. Lift from deep water assisted by a second lifeguard
    3. Shallow-water assist
    4. Beach drag
  10. Perform an ease-in entry into shallow water and approach a victim who is facedown on the surface and simulating a spinal injury. Turn the victim to a faceup position and support the victim at the surface.
  11. Perform an ease-in entry into deep water and approach a victim who is floating facedown on the surface and simulating a spinal injury. Turn the victim to a faceup position and maintaining contact, swim with the victim to a comer of the pool or the shallow end of the pool.
  12. Participate in a back-boarding procedure in shallow water.
  13. Perform the requirements found in the Snorkeling, BSA, award.

First Aid ans CPR

  1. Show evidence of the ability to perform the skills and a knowledge of the subjects covered in the First Aid merit badge.
  2. Show a knowledge of the procedures for treating a near drowning, of the universal precautions for bloodborne pathogens, of personal health protection, and of aquatics-related first aid.
  3. Have current certification in basic cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) from the American Heart Association, the American Red Cross, or the National Safety Council.

Examination
   Demonstrate an understanding of aquatics program and emergency-management skills by correctly answering 80 percent of the questions in a written or oral exam on theory and knowledge (the standard BSA Lifeguard examination).

Practical Experience

  1. Explain how to guard each of the following activities:
    1. Recreational swim (general swim)
    2. Unit swim
    3. Instructional swim
    4. Boating activity
    5. Special event
  2. Serve as a lifeguard, under supervision, for at least two swimming activities (2 to 3 hours total).

Certification Procedure

  1. Only.those persons currently certified as BSA Aquatics Instructor or as BSA Lifeguard Counselor may certify the completion of BSA Lifeguard requirements.
  2. Certification as BSA Lifeguard is valid for 3 years from the date of application.
  3. All requirements must be met - no substitutions or omissions are permitted.
  4. The completed application is sent to the local council service center where BSA Lifeguard emblems may be purchased.
  5. To qualify for certification as BSA Lifeguard, the candidate must complete the BSA Lifeguard course consisting of a minimum of 30 hours under the direction of either a BSA Lifeguard Counselor or a BSA Aquatics Instructor. The course for the BSA Lifeguard is in the BSA Lifeguard Counselor Guide.

Recertification
   To be recertified as BSA Lifeguard, a person who previously has been certified can complete the regular BSA Lifeguard course, passing each of the requirements. Those whose BSA Lifeguard certification is current or has expired within the past 12 months can be recertified by demonstrating a current knowledge of and ability to perform the skills necessary to fulfill BSA Lifeguard requirements. it is not necessary to retake the BSA Lifeguard course.