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Safety Afloat and a District Event

District is doing a Scout Day for all units. My unit has been asked to bring our canoes for the Older Scouts, and run races or something.
But I started to think on it, Safety Afloat states you have to know the Swim status of all involved. At a Summer camp you have a buddy board or something that shows the status. In a situation like this not sure how to handle it. A Scout is trustworthy, take their word? Anyone with experience in a event like this?

Interested in what the feedback is here.

If it were me, I would either require day-of swim tests administered by a qualified and trained person -OR- a note from a qualified and trained person stating the scout had passed one within this year.

I would not simply trust in this case. The implications of bad information are too severe. Or maybe trust, but verify is a way to say it?


Well a non-swimmer scout can be in a canoe with an adult - no good way to do a swim test at the location

Without a swim test onsite or confirmed by a trained person, I would treat the scout as a non-swimmer.


That is pretty much what I told DE that ask us to do it.

If it were me, I’d require something from each unit stating the swimmer status of each participant. Lacking that, scouts would have to be treated as non-swimmers.

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Guide to Safe Scouting Reference


In the past we have had people bring their buddy tags from camp (if they were < 1 year old). We also had swim tests at a pool for those who don’t have their tags. We have not left it up to the honor system.

Completion of any water MB would be proof that they passed the BSA swimmer test at least once. Not sure how you would verify MB completion for each scout.

Each unit needs to bring the Swimmer classification form for their unit. No way around it. Then you can develop your own system for identifying swimmers, beginners and non-swimmers.


This is a district event and as such it would fall under the NCAP Short term standards. The planning committee needs to sit down and go through the current 2022 NCAP book.

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The OP says “a Scout Day.”. Sounds like no overnight camping. If so, then the NCAP Short Term Camp standards would seem to not apply.

Are there NCAP standards for one day scout events that are not Cub Scout Day Camp?

If it’s more than one day, even if not overnight, I think that makes it a “day camp”, which has it’s own set of NCAP rules. If it’s only one day (no overnight or second day), I think they call it an “event”. The definitions are somewhere near the front of the NCAP standards, in the application (?) section.

Thanks for bringing up Camp School Documents - so I asked one off the Authors and here is the breakdown -
GTSS - First Paragraph of Aquatics Section - “Aquatics Supervision, No. 34346, is the primary resource for aquatics at the unit level. Aquatics activities at district and council day and resident camps should follow appropriate National Camp Accreditation Program (NCAP) standards.”

So that means, we would have to have an Aquatics Director there, have written plans, have staff that had practiced said plans, lol have a backboard, full on.


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I believe those only apply if you are going to be a nationally accredited camp. If you are not seeking accreditation then it is not required. I could be wrong though (it’s been known to happen).

Well as I was speaking to one of the authors - I believe I will take his interpretation

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This event falls under the Short Term Camp Standards of the National Camp Accreditation Program and therefor must meet all standards and as Donovan McNeil stated that includes the Aquatics Director, emergency response plans, backboard, training on the plans, and more.

The Short term camp standards program took effect 1 January 2021 and are updated yearly.

2022 Standards
To take a look the 372 page document all this comes from go to: https://www.scouting.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/2022-NCAP-Standards-v2-430-056.pdf