New aquatics rules now in effect – Bobwhite Blather:
In April of this year, however, the rules for Cub Scout aquatics changed to allow a range of activities permitted at the unit level. And while most water activities – the more rigorous and risky ones – are still restricted to Boy Scouts and older, Cub Scouts of all ages can now go canoeing, rowboating and paddle boating – the very things they’ve been doing with their families all along. (And yes, I know some of you have been boating as a purportedly unaffiliated “family” activity to get around the BSA’s safety rules.)
There’s always a catch, though, but it’s not a big deal and isn’t anything you wouldn’t expect. While we no longer have tour permits or tour plans, the requirements for adult leaders to be appropriately trained are still in force. There are two primary unit volunteer training courses for aquatics, and they’re both available online: Safe Swim Defense and Safety Afloat.
At least two adults are required to supervise any swimming activity – at backyard, public and hotel pools, beaches, lakes, rivers and oceans, whether or not a lifeguard is present. Safe Swim Defense training, completed within the last two years, is required of at least one adult supervising swimming activities, or even non-swimming activities where the water is over knee-deep or there is a risk of submersion. Common sense, though, dictates that as many adults as possible should complete Safe Swim Defense training – and it should go without saying (but I’ll say it anyway) that they complete Youth Protection Training as well. All boating activities likewise must be supervised by at least two adults, one (and preferably all) with current Safety Afloat training.
Now that you’re trained, what can Cub Scouts actually do on the water? Here’s a summary of allowable activities for Cub Scout packs:
Learn to Swim programs for all ages.
Recreational swimming for all ages, divided by ability groups, with only those who are able to swim (who have passed the BSA 100-yard swim test) allowed in deep water.
Snorkeling in confined areas for all ages, divided by ability groups. Only swimmers are allowed in deep water.
Riding in large boats including commercial marine transport such as excursion boats and ferries, as well as larger (capacity of four or more passengers) privately-owned craft on calm waters where all operation is done by adults.
Stable, fixed-seat rowboats and paddle boats on calm, flat water. If a non-swimmer or beginning swimmer is on board, he must be buddied with a swimmer in the same boat.
Canoes on calm, flat water. A non-swimmer or beginning swimmer must be buddied with an adult swimmer in the same boat.
Single-person kayaks and stand-up paddleboards on calm, flat water for swimmers only (non-swimmers or beginning swimmers are not allowed to kayak or SUP).
Tubing on gently-flowing water for Swimmers only.
Don’t forget about the rule requiring that Coast Guard-approved life jackets are to be worn by persons when engaged in boating activities (rowing, canoeing, kayaking and paddleboarding) and in some cases aboard larger vessels as well.
An article about free play time disappearing and its effect on kids makes an interesting starting point for a series of articles I am planning on posting.
People who meet with me about their Scouting unit often hear me recite the phrase, “If it is efficient, it is not scouting.” I know this often confuses some as they look at articles on this website. I’m also looking at best practices for improving the scouting experience. The question should arise in many people’s heads that best practices are often about efficiency; so, how can best practices in scouting not seek efficiency?
For me this is a very simple and obvious answer, we are not building a business to maximize profit. We are building young men of character. If it were simple to form a young man of character by a simple recipe, we would have no crime, we would have no conflict, and we would have figured out the system already.
Since the Spring Camporee is tentatively scheduled to focus on rifle shooting and archery, we should probably start boning up on the rules of shooting sports in scouts.
First, some basic rules. Cubs can only do BB Guns and archery in very strictly controlled circumstances, such as a Council campsite. No rifles. Ever. Scouts can do much more, but must follow the scouting rules carefully.
So how do we know the scouting rules?
This is scouts. Of course there is a manual for that. You can download the whole thing from the BSA website along with many other new resources.
Second, why are we so picky about the rules? Remember strict adherence to the Guide for Safe Scouting in shooting sports is the only way to guarantee that the BSA insurance will cover you as a unit leader and your chartered organization when you do shooting sports. This is extremely important, especially adhering to the stricter rules for Cub Scouts.
Our first duty is to protect the boys. Our next duty is safety for other participants. Our final duty is to keep the chartered organizations happy and continuing to support scouting.
If you have questions, contact the District Commissioner or the District Executive.
Since we are finishing rechartering, insurance is often fresh in everyone’s minds. What is boy scout insurance? Who pays? Who manages? How do we make claims?
Each member of the BSA, youth or adult, pays $1.00 per member to the local council. In our case, we pay the Crossroads of America Council.
As we discovered in the last several days of rechartering, this fee is not included in the national internet rechartering system. Those only cover national dues. The local insurance premium is added on, by summing up the Paid Adult, Paid Youth, and Unpaid Tiger Cub Partners (if the partner is not already a BSA member) count. These premiums are due and payable alongside the national dues.
If an accident occurs or a lawsuit is threatened, the unit key 3 need to immediately file a claim with the local council office using the form in the appendix of the Guide to Safe Scouting, which is like the BSA’s insurance policy terms and conditions document.
These claim forms should be used whenever there is a emergency room visit or other involvement of professional or emergency services personnel.
To learn more, read more in the Guide to Safe Scouting.
From the article, a couple points interested me:
- Locks do not prevent theft. They slow thieves down and make their criminal activities more obvious. This means that locks are most effective where witnesses or cameras can observe the trailer.
- Multiple theft deterrence methods or locks is desirable to make the theft more obvious and the time to complete the theft take longer.
- Painting the unit number on the roof is a great way to help recover the trailer if it is lost or attempted to be hidden. Many thieves don’t think to camouflage the roof during or after the theft.
- A logo-painted (not one with pretty graphic wraps) trailer is worth less on the black market than an unpainted trailer. It requires more work to disguise it.
- Using self-storage areas is a great way to deter theft, even if it is more expensive and less convenient to the meeting location.
- Insurance is not a simple solution and may require the cooperation of your chartered organization, including having your equipment “scheduled” on the business-owner’s premises (“BOP”) insurance coverage. (Scheduling is just the process of providing the insurance agent with a list of specific property of value that the insured wishes to include on the insurance policy. This is very sensitive to the type of property being scheduled and the nature of the underlying BOP policy terms.)
Thank you to our Order of the Arrow Advisor John Ruggles for the links to these article.