Scuba BSA Award Requirements


  1. Before doing other requirements, successfully complete the BSA swimmer test. To begin the test, jump feetfirst into water over the head in depth, level off, and begin swimming. 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 completed in one swim without stops and must include at least one sharp turn. After completing the swim, rest by floating.
  2. Discuss the importance of using the buddy system at all times while scuba diving. Explain that a dive buddy is there to assist with the donning and doffing of equipment, to lend assistance in case of emergency, and to share in the underwater experience. Remember, always dive with a buddy—Never dive alone!
  3. Review hazards associated with scuba diving, including causes of decompression incidents, and safety procedures to avoid them. Explain the importance of never using scuba equipment unless you are enrolled in a training exercise, or have completed a diver certification program, taught by a certified instructor.
    By the end of a Water Skills Development session, the participants will be able to meet the following requirements in clear, confined water:
  4. State the purpose of the following pieces of basic diving equipment: mask, fins, BCD, BCD inflator, regulator, air gauge, and alternate air source.
  5. Describe how to locate the air gauge, and explain how to recognize the “caution zone” on it.
  6. Don and adjust mask, fins, snorkel, BCD, scuba, and weights with the assistance of a buddy, instructor, or certified assistant.
  7. While underwater, demonstrate and recognize the following hand signals: Okay?/Okay!; Stop; Up; Down; Out of air; Come here; Ear problem; Slow down/Take it easy; Something is wrong; Watch me; Check your air supply.
  8. Inflate/deflate a BCD at the surface using the low-pressure inflator.
  9. In shallow water, demonstrate proper compressed air breathing habits; remember to breathe naturally and not hold the breath.
  10. Clear the regulator while underwater using both exhalation and purge-button methods, and resume normal breathing from it.
  11. In shallow water, recover a regulator hose from behind the shoulder while underwater.
  12. In shallow water, clear a partially flooded mask while underwater.
  13. Swim underwater with scuba equipment while maintaining control of both direction and depth, properly equalizing the ears and mask to accommodate depth changes.
  14. While underwater, locate and read submersible pressure gauge and signal whether the air supply is adequate or low based on the gauge’s caution zone.
  15. In shallow water, breathe underwater for at least 30 seconds from an alternate air source supplied by the instructor.
  16. 16. Demonstrate the techniques for a proper ascent.

NOTE: The counselor for Scuba BSA must hold an instructor rating and be in current teaching status with PADI, NAUI, SSI, or other member of the RSTC in accordance with BSA scuba policies. Instruction must meet the minimum training standards for introductory scuba experiences set by the RSTC and guidelines provided in the Scuba BSA Brochure, No. 14-515. BSA scuba policies are provided in that brochure and also in the Guide to Safe Scouting.