Scuba Diving/Note to the Counselor

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< Scuba Diving

ALL Scuba Diving merit badge Counselors MUST comply with the following:

  • Counselors for the Scuba Diving merit badge must be registered with the Boy Scouts of America and be approved by the district/council advancement committee.
  • Like other merit badges, the Scuba Diving merit badge has been developed to teach and train youth in a manner consistent with the overall goals and values of the Boy Scouts of America.
  • The merit badge counselor should be fair and consistent when presenting and evaluating the knowledge and skills specified by the requirements. None of the requirements may be modified or omitted.
  • Unlike many other merit badges, the Scuba Diving critical prerequisites, knowledge, and skills are not itemized in the requirements nor adequately covered in the pamphlet. The requirement to earn Open Water Diver Certification means the Scout must meet training requirements set by outside agencies and must supplement the material in this pamphlet with an entry-level scuba diver manual.
  • All phases of scuba instruction—classroom, pool, and open water training—must comply with the minimum training standards for entry-level scuba certification adopted by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) or the U.S. Recreational Scuba Training Council (RSTC). The RSTC is recognized as the ANSI Accredited Standards Developer for recreational diving instructional standards. The BSA acknowledges those standards by limiting scuba instruction only to instructors trained and sanctioned by recognized scuba agencies.
  • Agencies recognized by the BSA for scuba training are PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors); NAUI (National Association of Underwater Instructors); SSI (Scuba Schools International); IDEA (International Diving Educators Association); PDIC (Professional Diving Instructors Corporation); and SDI (Scuba Diving International). In addition to the agencies listed by name, any current member of the World Recreational Scuba Training Council (WRSTC) is also recognized.
  • Each approved instructor must follow the training protocols established by his or her authorizing agency, including limitations and special provisions based on medical conditions and age. For Scout divers under age 15, this will include restrictions for maximum depth, buddies, and supervision ratios.
  • Scuba industry standards for Open Water Diver Certification require the student to be at least 15 years of age. Students under the minimum age who meet open water scuba performance requirements may qualify for a special certification that allows them to dive with an adult buddy who has, as a minimum, an open water scuba certification. Several of the scuba organizations recognized by the BSA offer “junior” open water certifications for those as young as 10; others have a minimum age of 12. Such junior open water diver certifications satisfy Scuba Diving merit badge requirement 4.
  • When scuba diving is taught in connection with any local council program, such as offering the Scuba Diving merit badge at summer camp, instructors should provide the training on a contract basis. Such instructors should have dive store or other commercial affiliation that provides liability coverage. Direct employment of scuba instructors is not recommended.
  • Local council programs may not compress or sell air for scuba use, or sell, rent, or loan scuba equipment (scuba cylinders, regulators, gauges, dive computers, weights, BCDs).
  • All air and scuba equipment for local council use must be obtained from professional sources (dive stores, resorts, dive boats, etc.) affiliated with a scuba agency recognized by the BSA.
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