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Swimming Challenges 2020 continued

Continuing the discussion from Swimming Challenges in 2020: I know WHAT the CoVId 19 document says, my question is on the HOW is this to be done on Dry land?
The COVID-19 FAQ says:

For clarity, the following swimming requirements can be completed on dry land and are not a hindrance to advancing:
Second Class requirement (5c) Demonstrate water rescue methods by reaching with your arm or leg, by reaching with a suitable object, and by throwing lines and objects.
First Class requirement (6e) 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.)

I would have posted in same thread but it closes if I don’t answer in 24 hours (and sorry…I can’t always be a Scoutmaser 24 x 7(

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I’m guessing that the intent here is that the scout demonstrates the techniques from some sort of surface, without the customary dunking that the senior scouts used to give us newbies when we did this. :rofl:

Lie down and reach out to the side, then try to drag your “victim” across the ground, I guess? Try it from a bed or table so there’s some depth to reach down? I can better see demonstrating rope/life ring tosses since the major skill there is accuracy not necessarily reaching down in close proximity to someone who’s struggling in the water. That said, you’ll need access to those devices. Most folks don’t have them laying around unless they have a suitable body of water in which to use them (or maybe that’s just me).

Presumably the practice victim is 30 ft from the scout in deep air? I’m guessing first the scout would need to teach a family member to tend and throw the line where gatherings are still prohibited. Then, the scout can demonstrate tending the line for their family member, and throwing the line with the family member serving as a tender.

ETA: Down thread, @LynnCrochetiere pointed out that the line/tender rescue in First Class 5e is described in the Scouts BSA Handbook. In the 13th Edition Handbook, it was on page 180.


that is not that hard - get a pool noodle and show hoe to stretch it out to someone

then show how to coil and then throw a rope


@DonovanMcNeil’s response demonstrates why you don’t ask a PhD how to do something simple. Or, again, maybe it’s just me… :wink:


this is silly…may as well just mark it complete and not go through the motions.

Well for most scouts throwing a rope 30 feet is actually a challenge and there is technique that is needed to achieve it


Lassoing a steer is a challenge, tossing a rope 10 yards and holding onto the end while doing so…not so much.
I’ll have the Scouts hold a pool noodle and reach out too…Can’t be too pedantic in Scouts.

Isn’t that the same thing they would have to do if their victim was in actual water? How is this any less challenging?


I actually am more comfortable with a patrol drilling rescues on dry land.
It’s no different than teaching fireman’s carry without burning anything.


In our troop we’ve asked the scout to read over the relevant section of the scout handbook, then find a couple volunteers (parent, sibling, etc.) to demonstrate the techniques on dry land as others have stated. The whole event was either recorded on someone’s phone (or viewed live over a webcam). The leader reviews the video and either has them fix something or signs it off. To those who say this is “too simple” or “silly” – Many scout requirements aren’t hard, but as another commenter said, there IS a technique to it, or a “reason we do it that way” (such as swimming past the flailing victim and letting them grab the tow rope, so they can’t knock you unconscious in their panicked flailing).


I beg to differ. At summer camp a couple of years back, my Scouts, who had ALL practiced this skill, had to demonstrate it as part of a camp-wide games event where a staffer was 30 feet out, standing in the water and waving his arms for “help.” It was a timed event and they had to get three successes to move on to the next part of the event. Only one (the PL) actually succeeded. Clearly the practice had been insufficient.


Not at all clear. They weren’t randomly assigned to the dry practice vs. a wet practice with equal hours of training and similarly qualified instructors. It could be that scouts with the same amount of wet practice would do just as poorly.

Dry land drills have wide application … ice rescues, cliffs, bear bags, pioneering, etc …, my observation is that kids don’t spend enough time throwing rope.

Just to be clear, lassoing is not an acceptable approach. It’s a cool skill, but not very applicable to rescuing souls. The objective is to throw a line so that it lays out flat beyond the victim, maybe just touching a shoulder. It’s in the retrieval of line that delivers it to the victim in a way he/she can grab it.


Sorry, but I was there for the practice and for the event. The practice done as a troop was clearly NOT sufficient. The one scout who actually succeeded had taken those skills home and practiced more on his own. Incessantly. He spent most of a summer pulling dead branches out of a tree by tossing a weighted line over them, and so he had many hundreds of repetitions at various angles and distances. Drove his poor mother (my wife!) nuts.

How many meetings was the practice?
Do you honestly believe that devoting the same time on water as the troop did on land, with the same percentage of scouts willing to persist unto skill mastery, would have lead to higher success?

Wet or dry, the only way your troop could have performed better was if your scout invited his eight buddies over to through their ropes incessantly until they could lay down a challenge to the other patrols.

Bless your wife! It’s not easy raising a leader of men.

Qwazse, I think you misread me. Practice on land or water is irrelevant. Repetitions are extremely relevant. Our troop did this skill once or twice a year in a meeting, usually once in late summer and once in preparation for Klondike Derby. Everyone got some instruction and some practice, but it was not enough to set the muscle memory for the skill. Plain and simple.

I think we all agree that “one and done” isn’t the method or intent of learning scout skills.

“How do you get to Carnegie Hall?”

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I think it’s easy to get too wrapped up in the rule book rather than teaching the Scouts life skills. I cringe when I hear anything remotely seeming to do the minimal to get the requirement checked off. Swimming and life-saving are considerably more important than a Scout that struggles to remember the Slogan. It’s okay to not pass a Scout if he or she’s not able to adequately complete the requirement. We frequently learn more from a failure than an easy victory. I also realize that parents can be a part of the problem when little Johnny or Little Suzie isn’t ranking up as fast.

When the requirement says “demonstrate”, that doesn’t mean “do your best”. I am personally not a fan of doing water themed activities on land because it’s just not the same thing. I think land based activities should be for rehearsals. I wouldn’t do any more on land than absolutely needed with the ultimate goal of getting into the water as soon as allowed.


Simply Explain the technique, Demonstrate how to do the technique, Guide the scout in performing the technique, then Enable then by letting them perform.

Set up a mock pool or water area (maybe a backyard deck & grass, maybe just draw a line in the sand.

In water rescue one of the most important teaching points for the rescuer is to be prepared - not to get pulled in by the rescuee. A scout who is off balance and not prepared when attempting to rescue a victim, can easily become a victim also.

In mock training coach the victim to struggle (not horse play) and tug of jerk the stick/rope/etc. a little, coach the rescuer to brace, & be prepared for the victim to tug and pull (victims usually are scared of drowning and may panic).

While a pool setting would be an ideal “finishing” location to demonstrate skills, nothing is wrong with removing the water element and focusing on the basic techniques of water rescue.

I agree that the skills must be learnt and tested. I failed my first lifesaving class because I was not strong enough to break the instructor’s neck hold on me. I later went on to pass lifesaving, lifesaving instructor, and to be a BSA summer camp waterfront manager.

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You’re right. Sorry for the snarky post; thanks for calling me on it.

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