The aquatics committee has overall responsibility for the local council’s aquatics activities in Cub Scouts, Scouts BSA, Venturing, and Exploring. Within the local council organization, the aquatics committee reports to either the vice president of program or to the vice president of health and safety. The aquatics committee may be a separate committee or subcommittee within the program or health and safety committee.
Members of the aquatics committee should either be experienced Scouters with a background in aquatics or aquatics specialists interested in becoming involved in the Scouting program. The committee should include at least one individual with a current National Camping School Aquatics Instructor, BSA training card.
In addition to swimming and water-rescue specialists, the committee should include specialists for the type of aquatics activities prevalent in the local council (e.g., snorkeling/scuba, canoe tripping, sailing, whitewater, crew rowing, waterskiing, Sea Scouts, etc.). Select committee members should either be members of or liaisons to other council committees that touch the aquatics committee’s areas of responsibility, including training, advancement, health and safety, camping, etc.
Summer camp aquatics directors should be ex-officio members of the committee during the term of their employment and afterward encouraged to become full-time, year-round volunteer members.
The aquatics committee’s main responsibilities include the following year-round activities tailored to the local council’s aquatic activities and opportunities:
- Training—Work with the council training committee to provide aquatics training for adults and youth.
- Program—Provide and promote a broad array of basic and high-adventure swimming and boating activities to support all parts of the Scouting program.
- Advancement—Provide advancement opportunities for youth.
- Safety—Actively assess safe operation of council- and district-led aquatics activities, including summer camp, and promote aquatics safety at the unit level.
- Attraction, Development, and Retention of Aquatics Leadership—A primary role of the committee is attracting, developing, and retaining qualified aquatics leadership for the training, program, advancement, and safety activities above. This includes summer camp and year-round council- and district-led aquatics activities and should include succession planning for key roles.
Local council aquatics committee activities should include but are not limited to:
- Safe Swim Defense and Safety Afloat
- Basic swimming and boating skills training for unit leaders
- Basic water-rescue skills training for unit leaders
- Development of unit aquatics activities for unit leaders
- Camp aquatics staff training in:
- Aquatics skills
- Effective teaching of aquatics skills
- Aquatics safety, including lifeguarding
- Basic canoeing
- Basic crew rowing
- Basic whitewater
- Non-swimmer instruction
- Promote learn-to-swim programs for all Scouts and especially for Cub Scouts by providing opportunities and incentives to learn to swim.
- Whitewater canoe, kayak, rafting trips
- Snorkeling BSA
- Kayaking BSA
- Boardsailing BSA
- Promotion of aquatics high adventure—Northern Tier, Sea Base, other
- Enhanced aquatics activities during day camp and resident camp sessions for both Cub Scouts and Scouts
- Special aquatics camp sessions for Scouts and Venturers with emphasis on activities not available during regular summer camp sessions
- Winter swim programs with learn-to-swim and advancement opportunities for Cub Scouts, Scouts, and Venturers
- Coordination with other councils to promote programs and resources
- Implementation and promotion of the aquatics portions of the national Red Cross and Scouting agreements and key interface with the assigned Red Cross aquatics liaison in the designated local chapter of the Red Cross
- Coordination with other agencies (e.g., YMCA, NAUI, PADI, American Canoe Association, etc.) for joint programs or use of facilities
- Cub Scout electives and sports award for swimming
- Webelos Aquanaut
- Second Class and First Class requirements
- Swimming and Lifesaving merit badge clinics (non-summer camp)
- Canoeing merit badge (non-summer camp)
- Promotion of Safe Swim Defense and Safety Afloat at the district and unit levels
- Pre-camp swim classification testing
- Review of council and district safety training and procedures for aquatics activities, including day and resident camps
- Inspection of summer camp and other council and district aquatics activities facilities and equipment
Attraction, Development, and Retention of Aquatics Leadership
- Develop and maintain enough qualified instructors, distributed throughout the council, to timely meet all local aquatics training needs.
- Assist with sourcing qualified candidates for council aquatics program and safety leadership needs.
- Assist with interviewing candidates to ensure necessary aquatics experience, training certificates, and aquatics leadership exist.
- Establish a succession planning process identifying the next aquatics leaders for key roles.
- Establish a program to train, develop, and retain younger aquatics staff members to become aquatics leaders in the future. This includes staff for summer camp and year-round council- and district-led aquatics activities. The staff training process for summer camp staff ideally would begin in the January to April time period each year to ensure that a well-trained aquatics staff exists prior to arrival at summer camp.