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Authorized to complete a unit swim test

We have scouts going to Philmont this year. They need a current swim test before they can go. Our troop is not spending a week at camp this year, only provisional camping with our council. I have read the guide to safe scouting and I have read the aquatics supervision 34346 document. Nothing is very clear as to who can administer the swim test. Can a unit leader administer and sign off the test? The GSS has some information;
Safe Swim Defense and Safety Afloat govern BSA swimming and boating activities. Both specify that the activities are supervised by a mature and conscientious adult age 21 or older who:
-Understands and knowingly accepts responsibility for the well-being and safety of youth members in his or her care
-Is experienced in the particular activity
-Is confident in his or her ability to respond appropriately in an emergency
-Is trained and committed to the nine points of BSA Safety Afloat and/or the eight points of Safe Swim Defense.
Our council is not holding a test for any high adventure groups, so we are on our own. Looking for guidance to ensure we are safe…

OPTION C (At unit level with council-approved aquatics resource people):

The swim classification test done at a unit level should be conducted by one of the following council- approved resource people: Aquatics Instructor, BSA; Aquatics Cub Supervisor; BSA Lifeguard; BSA Swimming & Water Rescue; or other lifeguard, swimming instructor, etc. When the unit goes to summer camp, each individual will be issued a buddy tag under the direction of the camp aquatics director for use at the camp.


@RobertEberhart , short answer: Yes, the unit leader may conduct the checks.

You have found that the literature is not clear and consistent :wink:

The publication you reference is the definitive source: 34346, Aquatics Supervision. You are correct, it does not specify qualifications for those administering swim checks.

That said, the conflict you will find is with the form @DonovanMcNeil linked, and with other literature implying the classification must be done by a person with some level of training. The minimum level of training implied is BSA Aquatics Supervision, Swim and Water Rescue, a course usually done at summer camp for leaders. https://filestore.scouting.org/filestore/Outdoor%20Program/Aquatics/pdf/430-505.pdf

Having been a BSA Lifeguard, and a BSA Aquatics Instructor, and long time unit leader, I offer this advice: If you thoroughly understand the criteria of the Swim Classification Tests as outlined in the literature (these are consistent, at least) then you can do the checks yourself and sign off the form linked above.

If you are not comfortable administering them, then seek out a resource. Start at your local Y, or other aquatics center, and ask if they will administer…provide them the form above as a reference, if they are not familiar.

Or, if your Philmont date is after the opening of your summer camp, ask your local council camp if you can bring the crew out to do them there.

Remember, the Aquatics Supervisor at any location may ask Scouts to take the classification again, at their discretion.

Happy Scouting

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