AquaticsWhat's NEW in BSA Aquatics?

The BSA Aquatics brochure will give you a great overview of what BSA Aquatics is all about & what it can offer your Scouts!

Link to NRS YouTube video “How to Choose a Lifejacket”


Aquatics Awards

Boardsailing BSA Kayaking BSA BSA Lifeguard Mile Swim BSA
Scuba BSA Snorkeling BSA BSA Stand Up


 Swim ChecksCFL Swim Check dates: Available Spring 2015

 It’s CFL Swim Check Time -




PCS Requirements:

1.    Age and physical fitness:
A.    Be age 16 years or older prior to training
B.    Submit written evidence of physical fitness
2.    Swimming Ability:
Complete the BSA swimmer test:  Jump feet first into water over the head in depth. Level off and 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. 
3.    Personal Safety Skills:
A.    Select a PFD of appropriate size and demonstrate proper fit.
B.    Demonstrate the feet-up floating position used if caught in a current.
C.    Demonstrate H.E.L.P and Huddle positions.
D.    Capsize and swim a boat to shore.
4.    Basic boating skills: Demonstrate the following maneuvers on calm water using standard stroke techniques:*
A.    Transport boat from rack or trailer to water’s edge.
B.    Safely board and launch the craft.
C.    Travel in a straight line for 50 yards.
D.    Stop the craft.
E.    From the stop, move the boat sideways first to the right, then to the left.
F.    From the stop, pivot the boat to the right, then to the left.
G.    Return to shore along a curved course demonstrating both left and right turns while underway.
H.    Land, safely exit and store the craft.
5.    Group safety skills:
A.    Throw a rescue bag, laying the line within 3 feet of an object 30 feet away.
B.    Demonstrate a boat rescue of a swimmer.
C.    Demonstrate an on-water boat-over-boat assist.
6.    Correctly answer 80% of the questions on the Paddle Craft Safety written exam covering Safety Afloat, trip preparation, emergency action plans, and basic boating knowledge.  Review any incomplete or incorrect answers.

* Skills may be demonstrated either tandem in a canoe, or solo in a kayak. If a tandem canoe is used, each participant must demonstrate the maneuvers from both bow and stern positions.
Questions? Call Ron Sebonia at: 630-605-0144 or Email

CanoeingCanoeing Resources

 Here are some web sites of interest for paddlers:
For boat design and performance, Wenonah canoe has a great site.
For articles on paddling technique, articles section.
American Canoe Assoc, Guides for Rivers
Prairie State Canoeists, Reports on local rivers
More info on rivers in the area
The Wisconsin DNR site allows searching for info on many of their rivers. Just type canoeing in the space.

Swimming Resources article - Rescuing Drowning Children - How to know when someone is in trouble
Video outlining the “Instinctive Drowning Response”


  Swimmer Definition - BSA

Scouting has an enviable aquatics safety record among youth organizations. While the Buddy System, Qualified Supervision, and Discipline are some of the factors that contribute to Scouting’s safety success, another significant factor is our Swimming Classification system.  In Scouting all participants are one of three simply defined classes of swimmers; Non-Swimmers, Beginners, and Swimmers. 

Non-Swimmers are those participants with little or no swimming background. It is important to recognize that even if a Scout or Leader is classified as a Non-Swimmer they may still participate in Aquatics Program including both the Free Swim, and Instructional Swim opportunities offered at camp.  At CFL the non swimmers area is approximately 4 ½ feet deep at the deepest—making it as deep as many backyard pools.  If you attempt neither the Beginner nor Swimmer test you will be given the classification of Non-Swimmer.

Beginners are participants who are able to pass the following test: Jump feet first into water over the head in depth, level off, swim 25 feet on the surface, stop, turn sharply, resume swimming as before, and return to starting place.  Beginners may swim in either the Non-Swimmers area of the waterfront or the Beginner’s area. The Beginner’s area starts at approximately 4 ½ feet deep and runs to around 6 feet deep. The Beginner’s test is meant to show that a participant is ready to begin working on deep water swimming skills.

Swimmers are those participants who are able to pass the following test:  Jump feet first 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 swum continuously and include at least one sharp turn. After completing the swim, rest by floating. Boy Scout age Swimmers have access to all areas of the waterfront, all watercraft,  and to advanced program opportunities like kayaking, snorkeling  and sailing .  Webelos Swimmers have access to canoes,  rowboats, and all areas of the waterfront.

Key points to keep in mind are:

•    Three Fires Council offers several chances to take the Swimmer’s test (Boy Scouts) and Swimmer’s or Beginner’s test (Webelos) prior to arriving at CFL. The Council website will add the dates to the calendar as we book them.
•    The pre-camp tests are optional and offered as a convenience to make check-in at camp less stressful and less harried.  You may take the test as part of check-in at CFL.
•    Cub Scout parents should keep in mind that the Swimmer’s test is definition of a “swimmer” or “beginner” in the Boy Scouts of America’s eyes and therefore cannot be modified.
•    The test for the “Swimmer” classification is arduous, covering the distance of a football field. Special note should be made that the Dog-Paddle is specifically prohibited for use during the test and that the test must be competed in a “strong manner”--meaning that it should be apparent to the observer that a Scout could swim further than the test distance should the needs of the situation dictate.
•    Scouts or Webelos not able to attend the pre-camp swim tests will have ample opportunity at CFL to test, and access to instructional swim should they need assistance gaining confidence and ability to pass the test.
•    Because of time limitations we may not be able to offer test re-takes during a given pre-camp swim check, it is however our policy to strive to offer the chance to re-test on the same day if circumstances allow.
•    Finally, if you have concerns or issues you’d like to raise about swim checks you may contact me at 630-605-0144 or

Online Swimming ResourceLocal pool contacts and instructional resources

Yours in Scouting, Ron Sebonia
Three Fires Council—Aquatics Committee