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Aquatics Safety. Safety Afloat Northern Star District. Presentation By Rob Freas Skipper, Sea Scout Ship 468 Assistant Scoutmaster, Troop 468. The Problem. Any personal experiences with accidents or near-misses while afloat?. The Response.

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aquatics safety

Aquatics Safety

Safety Afloat

Northern Star District

Presentation By

Rob Freas

Skipper, Sea Scout Ship 468

Assistant Scoutmaster, Troop 468

the problem
The Problem
  • Any personal experiences with accidents or near-misses while afloat?

The Response

The Safety Afloat program was developed by the BSA to promote boating and boating safety and to set the standards for safe unit activity afloat.

BSA Safety Afloat

the policy
The Policy
  • Before a BSA group may engage in an excursion, expedition, or trip on the water, adult leaders should have an appreciation of the potential hazards they could encounter and take steps to reduce those risks.
    • (canoe, kayak, raft, sailboat, sailboard, motorboat, rowboat, tube, etc)
  • The nine points of safety afloat have been established to reduce potential hazards

BSA Safety Afloat

safety afloat
S S S - 3 Sheets


Skills Proficiency

Swimming Ability

P P P - 3 Pillows

Physical Fitness




Buddy System



Safety Afloat

BSA Safety Afloat

  • Two Adults
    • Mature 21+ year old
    • 18+ year old
  • Skillful with watercraft
  • Accepts Responsibility
  • Rescue Methods
  • Committed to the 9 Points of Safety Afloat
  • 1 to 10 (Boy Scouts) and 1 to 5 (Cub Scouts)
  • CPR trained

BSA Safety Afloat

skills proficiency
Skills Proficiency
  • Minimum skill for Merit Badge
  • Emergency Procedures
  • Craft to be used
  • 3hrs. Training & Practice
  • PFD instruction
  • Whitewater Instruction
  • Powerboat Rules
  • Cub Scout Rules

BSA Safety Afloat

swimming ability
Swimming Ability
  • Pass BSA Swim Test
    • 100 yards
      • 75 any forward stroke
      • 25 resting stroke
      • Float
  • Exceptions
  • Cub Scout Swim Test

BSA Safety Afloat

physical fitness
Physical Fitness
  • Medical Re-check
  • Health Forms
    • Class I
    • Class II
    • Class III
  • Supervision Adjustments
  • Significant Health Concerns & Exam by Physician

BSA Safety Afloat

personal flotation device
Personal Flotation Device
  • PFD
    • Type I , II, III, IV, V
  • Many Styles
    • Offshore, Ski, Canoe, Fishing
  • EVERYONE wears them at all times while in watercraft

BSA Safety Afloat

pfd type i off shore life jacket
PFD Type IOff-Shore Life Jacket
  • TYPE I: Best for open, rough or remote water, where rescue may be slow in coming.
  • Advantages: Floats you best. Turns most unconscious wearers face-up in water. Highly visible color.
  • Disadvantages: Bulky

BSA Safety Afloat

pfd type ii near shore buoyant vest
PFD Type IINear-Shore Buoyant Vest
  • TYPE II: Good for calm, inland water, where there is good chance of fast rescue.
  • Advantages: Turns some unconscious wearers face-up in water. Less bulky, more comfortable than Type I PFD. Inexpensive.
  • Disadvantages: Not for long hours in the water. Will not turn some unconscious wearers face-up in water.

BSA Safety Afloat

pfd type iii flotation aid
PFD Type III Flotation Aid
  • TYPE III: Good for calm, inland water, where there is a good chance of fast rescue.
  • Advantages: Generally the most comfortable for wear. Freedom of movement for many active water sports. Many styles.
  • Disadvantages:Wearer may have to tilt head back to avoid going face-down. Not for extended survival in rough water.

BSA Safety Afloat

pfd type iv throwable device
PFD Type IVThrowable Device
  • TYPE IV: For calm, inland water with heavy boat traffic, where help is always nearby.
  • Advantages: Can be thrown to someone. Good back-up to wearable PFDs. Some can be used as a seat cushion.
  • Disadvantages: Not for unconscious persons. Not for nonswimmers or children. Not for many hours in rough water.

BSA Safety Afloat

pfd type v hybrid device
PFD Type V Hybrid Device
  • TYPE V: Required to be worn to be counted as a regulation PFD.
  • Advantages:Least bulky of all Types. High flotation when inflated. Good for continuous wear.
  • Disadvantages: May not adequately float some wearers unless partially inflated. Requires active use and care of inflation chamber.

BSA Safety Afloat

  • Float Plan
    • “Put in” & “Take Out”
    • Course, Stopovers, Time
      • Times should be estimated generously.
    • Accurate Maps
    • Run the course prior
      • Talk to people who have traveled the route prior to your visit.
  • Local Rules
    • Tour Permits - Local and National.
    • Agencies - Local, Regional, National
    • Rules - Fishing, Border Crossing, etc.

BSA Safety Afloat

  • Notification
    • Depends on where you are going
    • Who should know:
      • Parents
      • Unit Committee
      • Council (running water)
      • Coast Guard, State Police, Park Personnel
  • Weather
    • Check before you go
    • Have a plan “Just in case”

BSA Safety Afloat

  • Contingencies
    • Plan for Emergencies
    • Plan for other possible problems
    • Have a contingency plan in Writing!
  • Cub Scout
    • NO “Trips/Expeditions”
    • NO Running Water
    • Clear Skies, No Wind, Warm Air and Water

BSA Safety Afloat

buddy system
Buddy System
  • At least one person looking out for the Scout.
  • Buddy Boats
    • Need to See and Hear
    • Close Proximity

BSA Safety Afloat

  • Suited to the Craft/Water
  • Correct Size
  • Good Repair
  • Meet Coast Guard Regulations
  • Spare Equipment
  • Repair Equipment/Parts
  • Rescue Equipment

BSA Safety Afloat

  • Know, Understand and Respect the Rules
  • Help the Boys to Understand the Rules
  • Enforce Rules Fairly
  • Use Common Sense

BSA Safety Afloat