This patch is not worn on the uniform.
It is aquatic insignia and can be worn on swim trunks.
Scuba BSA introduces qualified Boy Scout, Venturing, and registered adult participants to the special skills, equipment, and safety precautions associated with scuba diving, encourages aquatics activities that promote fitness and recreation, and provides a foundation for those who later will participate in more advanced underwater activity.
The Scuba BSA experience contains two parts — Knowledge Development and Water Skills Development. During the first part, participants learn basic dive safety information and overview skills to be used during their water experience. The Water Skills Development session introduces essential dive skills, such as mask clearing, regulator clearing, and alternate air source use. The Scuba BSA program is conducted in clear, confined water by an instructor certified by diving organizations recognized by the BSA.
Completion of Scuba BSA requirements sets the stage for additional training, but does not qualify the participant to dive independently, either in confined water or open water environments.
Scuba BSA is not a diver certification.
Scuba BSA requirements
Information for Counselors
Counselors for Scuba BSA must hold current scuba instructor certification from PADI, NAUI, SSI, or other RSTC member organizations. Instruction must comply with RSTC standards for introductory scuba experiences. These minimum standards include instructor to participant ratios. In a pool, the ratio is eight participants per instructor. In a confined waterfront setting the ratio is four participants per instructor. Ratios may be increased by two participants if the instructor is assisted by someone certified as a dive master or assistant instructor.
A second adult who understands the procedures should be present in case the instructor becomes incapacitated. Two-deep adult leadership is also required by BSA youth protection guidelines.
Before participants are allowed in the water, they must complete a health history form designed for scuba activities. Instructors should use standard forms advocated by their certifying agency.
Skill instruction must be conducted in clear, confined water. A swimming pool is recommended. Scuba BSA is ideally suited to winter programs using indoor pools. Two 45-minute sessions are recommended for instruction, practice, and completion of requirements.
Although Scuba BSA is similar to introductory scuba experiences offered by various RSTC member organizations, those programs are not substitutes for Scuba BSA. All requirements must be completed as stated on the application form. The counselor may not omit, vary, or add requirements. In particular, Scuba BSA has a prerequisite swimming requirement, is only available to youth and adults registered in the Boy Scouting or Venturing programs (minimum age around 10 1/2), and does not include the option of an open-water dive.
Local council programs may not compress or sell air for scuba use, or sell, rent, or loan scuba equipment. All air and equipment for local council Scuba BSA programs must be obtained from properly licensed sources, unaffiliated with the Boy Scouts of America and under the supervision of PADI, NAUI, SSI, or other RSTC-approved and certified scuba instructors.
Individuals completing the Scuba BSA requirements qualify for a recognition card and patch. The counselor or unit leader should submit the completed award application to the local council service center.
- Your handbook is your primary reference. See Swimming Skills for step-by-step instructions and lesson video links.
- See also: Swimming & Lifesaving Merit Badge Pamphlets - Guide to Safe Scouting - Safe Swim Defense - Safety Afloat
Related Ranks, Awards, and Merit Badges
- Official Scuba BSA publication 19-515
- Guide to Safe Scouting - The official Scouting safety manual
- Doc's Diving Medicine Home Page - Resources for underwater health issues