No Boy Scout will ignore a plea for help. However, the desire to help is of little use unless one knows how to give the proper aid. The main purpose of the Lifesaving merit badge is to prepare Scouts to assist those involved in water accidents, teaching them the basic knowledge of rescue techniques, the skills to perform them, and the judgment to know when and how to act so that they can be prepared for emergencies.
- Before doing requirements 2 through 15:
Complete Second Class rank requirements 8a through 8c and First Class rank requirements 9a through 9c.
Second Class rank requirements 8a through 8c: (8a) Tell what precautions must be taken for a safe swim. (8b) Demonstrate your ability to jump feetfirst into water over your head in depth, level off and swim 25 feet on the surface, stop, turn sharply, resume swimming, then return to your starting place. (8c) Demonstrate water rescue methods by reaching with your arm or leg, by reaching with a suitable object, and by throwing lines and objects. Explain why swimming rescues should not be attempted when a reaching or throwing rescue is possible, and explain why and how a rescue swimmer should avoid contact with the victim. First Class rank requirements 9a through 9c: (9a) Tell what precautions must be taken for a safe trip afloat. (9b) Successfully complete the BSA swimmer test. (9c) With a helper and a practice victim, show a line rescue both as tender and as rescuer. (The practice victim should be approximately 30 feet from shore in deep water.)
- Swim continuously for 400 yards using each of the following strokes in a strong manner for at least 50 continuous yards: front crawl, sidestroke, breaststroke, and elementary backstroke.
- Explain the following:
- Common drowning situations and how to prevent them.
- How to identify persons in the water who need assistance.
- The order of methods in water rescue.
- How rescue techniques vary depending on the setting and the condition of the person needing assistance.
- Situations for which in-water rescues should not be undertaken.
- Present a rescue tube to the subject, release it, and escort the victim to safety.
- Present a rescue tube to the subject and use it to tow the victim to safety.
- Present a buoyant aid other than a rescue tube to the subject, release it, and escort the victim to safety.
- Present a buoyant aid other than a rescue tube to the subject and use it to tow the victim to safety.
- Remove street clothes in 20 seconds or less and use a nonbuoyant aid, such as a shirt or towel, to tow the subject to safety. Explain when it is appropriate to remove heavy clothing before attempting a swimming rescue.
- Provide a swim-along assist for a calm, responsive, tired swimmer moving with a weak forward stroke.
- Perform an armpit tow for a calm, responsive, tired swimmer resting with a back float.
- Perform a cross-chest carry for an exhausted, passive victim who does not respond to instructions to aid himself.
- Perform an equipment assist using a buoyant aid.
- Perform a front approach and wrist tow.
- Perform a rear approach and armpit tow.
- Recover a 10-pound weight in 8 to 10 feet of water using a feetfirst surface dive.
- Repeat using a headfirst surface dive.
- Describe how to recognize the need for rescue breathing and CPR.
- Demonstrate proper CPR technique for at least 3 minutes using a mannequin designed to simulate ventilations and compressions.
- Explain the signs and symptoms of a spinal injury.
- Support a faceup victim in calm, shallow water.
- Turn a subject from a facedown to a faceup position while maintaining support.
- Boy Scout Handbook, No. 33105
- Fieldbook, No. 33200
- Canoeing, First Aid, Motorboating, Rowing, Small-Boat Sailing, Swimming, Waterskiing, and Whitewater merit badge pamphlets
- Bechdel, Les, and Slim Ray. River Rescue: A Manual for Whitewater Safety. Appalachian Mountain Club, 3rd edition, 1997.
- Ray, Slim. Swiftwater Rescue Field Guide. CFS Press, 1998.
- Walbridge, Charles, and Wayne A. Sundmacher. Whitewater Rescue Manual: New Techniques for Canoeists, Kayakers, and Rafters. McGraw-Hill, 1995.