Water Safety BadgeWater Safety

(Discover Health and Fitness)

By Sylvia Duke


Penguin:  Complete 3 requirements including the 2 starred *.

Otters: Complete 4 requirements including the 2 starred *.

Dolphins: Complete 5 requirements including the 2 starred *.

Butterflies: Complete 6 requirements including the 2 starred *.

Eagles: Complete 7 requirements including the 2 starred *.

Owls: Complete 9 requirements including the 2 starred *.


1.*Know how to select and wear a PFD (personal flotation device).  When should you wear one?  What are the laws in your state regarding PFDs and children?


2. *Know basic water safety rules.

  • A.  The best way to stay safe in the water is to learn to swim.
  • B.  Know what the depth markers mean in large or public pools.
  • C.  Test the water temperature before you plunge in. Cold water can shock your body and make your blood pressure and heart rate go up. You might accidentally open your mouth to yell and accidentally breathe in some water. Cold water can also slow your muscles, making it hard to swim.
  • D.  Pool gates are there to protect you.  Never go through a pool gate unless an adult is with you.
  • E.  Always obey all pool rules.
  • F.  Always walk in a pool area, do not run.
  • G.  Never swim without a buddy
  • H.  Never dive into shallow or murky water
  • I.  Never dive into water with submerged obstacles such as rocks or trees.
  • J.  Never swim without an adult present
  • K.  Swim at a depth that is safe for you. If you're just learning to swim, stay in the shallow end.
  • L.  If you swim in a pond, lake, or river the fish swimming around won't hurt you.   They may hide jagged rocks, broken bottles, or trash however. Wear something to protect your feet. Also, watch out for mud, weeds and grass, which can trap even a good swimmer. If you panic and try to yank yourself free, you may get even more tangled.  Instead, shake and pull your arms and legs slowly to work yourself loose or call for an adult's help.
  • M.  Don't chew gum or eat while you swim — you could choke
  • N.  Stop swimming or boating as soon as you see or hear a storm. Remember, lightning is electricity — electricity and water are a dangerous combination.
  • O.  If you find yourself in trouble and someone comes to rescue you in deep water, remain calm and do not grab a hold of your rescuer.  If you interfere with your rescuer you can both drown.  Stay calm and let them “tow” you to safety.


3.   Know what a person in distress in the water looks and acts like: it is practically impossible for a true drowning victim to shout for help, because he or she does not have a sufficient air supply to do so. Remember that if you see someone drowning on TV or in the movies, that person is not actually drowning, they are just acting.


Review the four signs of a drowning victim:

  • 1. Head back
  • 2. Mouth open
  • 3. Arms moving up and down, slapping the water
  • 4. No sound


4.  Demonstrate reaching water rescue techniques: reach with a float, an object or a garment.  Explain why you should use reaching techniques instead of swimming into the water to rescue someone.


5.  Demonstrate throwing a rope with floatation ring to a person in the pool.  First practice being able to throw a rope weighted with a beanbag a distance of 10 feet (Otters and Dolphins) and hitting a 2 ft square target.  Butterflies - Owls should practice throwing the rope 20 feet and hitting the 2 ft square target.  Explain why you should use throwing techniques instead of swimming into the water to rescue someone if possible.  Remember: don’t go: throw!


6.  Understand what the HELP and Huddle positions are, when to use them and why.  Wearing a properly fitted PFD practice the HELP and Huddle positions in the pool. What is the purpose of these positions?  Explain why swimming or survival floating will hasten the onset of hypothermia in cold water


7.  Understand what Survival Floating is and demonstrate how to do it.  Understand what Mushroom Floating is and demonstrate how to do it.


8.  Demonstrate how to recover yourself if you fall into the water fully clothed.  Stay near the boat, dock, or edge of pool and remain afloat for five minutes.


9.  Play water games with younger children that will help teach them water safety skills.


10.  Practice water safety rules at least twice at the pool.


11.  Research the history of lifeboats and lifesaving.  Share what you learned with your Troop.