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Resources include the Motorboating merit badge worksheet in PDF format Adobe Acrobat PDF and Word format Microsoft Word DOC document, links, and cross-references to related badges and awards.
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Motorboating merit badge
Status: Elective
Created: 1961
Replaced: Seamanship
BSA Advancement ID: 076
Requirements revision: 2019
Latest pamphlet revision: 2015


With the fun of operating a motor boat boat comes the responsibility for keeping that boat in first-class condition, knowing and obeying the nautical "rules of the road," and gaining the general knowledge and skills to operate a boat safely.

Motorboating merit badge requirements

  1. Do the following:
    a. Explain to your counselor the most likely hazards you may encounter while motorboating, and what you should do to anticipate, help prevent, mitigate, and respond to these hazards.
    b. Explain first aid for injuries or illnesses that could occur while motorboating, including hypothermia, heat reactions, dehydration, motion sickness, bugbites, and blisters.
    c. Identify the conditions that must exist before performing CPR on a person, and explain how such conditions are recognized. Demonstrate proper technique for performing CPR using a training device approved by your counselor.
  2. Do the following:
    a. Before doing requirements 3 through 6, successfully complete the BSA swimmer test.
    Jump feet first into water over your head in depth, swim 75 yards in a strong manner using one or more of the following strokes: sidestroke, breaststroke, trudgen, or crawl; then swim 25 yards using an easy, resting backstroke. The 100 yards must be swum continuously and include at least one sharp turn. After completing the swim, rest by floating.
    b. Name the different types of personal flotation devices (PFDs), and explain when each type should be used. Show how to choose and properly fit a PFD.
  3. Do the following:
    a. Explain inboard, outboard, and inboard/outboard motors, and the uses and advantages of each. Discuss the special features of a bass boat and a ski boat.
    b. Explain the safety procedures and precautions involving handling fuel and engine servicing, and equipment storage and placement.
    c. Explain how to winterize a boat motor and tell why this procedure is necessary.
    d. Explain the safety procedures and precautions involving swimmers and skiers in the water, passenger positions underway, and boat wakes.
  4. Show you know safety laws for motorboating by doing the following:
    a. Have a permit to run a motorboat, if needed.
    b. Explain the rules or laws that apply to recreational boating in your area or state.
    c. Discuss how the hazards of weather and heavy water conditions can affect both safety and performance in motorboating.
    d. Promise that you will follow BSA Safety Afloat guidelines. Explain the meaning of each point.
    e. Discuss with your counselor the nautical rules of the road and describe the national and your state's aids to navigation.
    f. Explain and show the correct use of equipment required by both state and federal regulations to be carried aboard a motorboat.
    g. Explain federal and state rules for a ventilation system, and tell why these rules are required.
    h. Explain the use of lights (sight signals) and sound signals on motorboats.
    i. Discuss the common types of anchors used in motorboating and under what conditions each would be preferred. Explain proper anchoring techniques.
  5. With your counselor or other adults on board, demonstrate proper boat-handling procedures and skills by doing the following:
    a. Board and assist others in boarding.
    b. Fuel the boat and complete a safety check.
    c. Get underway from dockside or from a beach launch.
    d. Run a course for at least a mile, showing procedures for overtaking and passing slower craft, yielding right-of-way, passing oncoming traffic, making turns, reversing direction, and using navigation aids.
    e. Stop and secure the boat in position on the open water using anchors. Raise and stow the anchor and get underway.
    f. Land or dock the boat, disembark, and assist others in doing the same.
    g. Moor, dock, or beach the boat and secure all gear.

The official source for the information shown in this article or section is:
Scouts BSA Requirements, 2019 Edition (BSA Supply SKU #648914)

View the change list (history) of these requirements. The text of these requirements may be locked. In that case, they can only be edited
by an administrator.
Please note any errors found in the above requirements on this article's Talk Page.


Worksheet A FREE workbook for Motorboating is available here! (PDF or Word) with the maps, charts, links, diagrams, and checklists you need! Or click here to print just the Motorboating requirements. has PDF and Word versions of workbooks for Scouts BSA ranks and merit badges, Cub Scouting ranks and adventures, and STEM Nova awards.

Motorboating merit badge requires prior counselor and/or parent approval for requirement(s) #1c.
Motorboating merit badge is an option for the National Outdoor Badge for Riding.
The Motorboating merit badge is an option for the Start Your Engines! STEM Nova Award.
  1. Motorboating is a popular summer camp merit badge.

Requirement resources

1. First Aid: 1a. Hypothermia  •  Heat Reactions  •  Dehydration  •  Motion Sickness  •  Insect Stings  •  Tick Bites  •  Blisters
1b. CPR

2a. Swimming
BSA Swim Test: Diving also has the feetfirst jump in  •  Sidestroke  •  Breaststroke  •  Trudgen Crawl  •  Backstroke  •  Swimming Turns  •  Floating

2b. Personal Flotation Device
3. Inboard motor - Outboard motor - Inboard/outboard motor (stern drive)

Online Small-Boat Sailing Course - U.S. Coast Guard Office of Boating Safety

Related awards

  1. Requirement #5 of the Motorboating merit badge may satisfy some of the Sea Scout Able rank requirement on Boat Handling (requirement #6).
  2. Motorboating merit badge may satisfy some of the Sea Scout Quartermaster rank requirement on Boat Handling (requirement #7).
Aquatic-related awards

See also

Scouts BSA portal
Venturing portal
Sea Scout portal
General Merit Badge information

External links

Personal tools