Swim Test

Anyone that wants to swim or boat at camp need to have a swim test to determine whether their swimming ability matches the ability for fun water activities. 


The swim classification of individuals participating in a Boy Scouts of America activity is a key element in Safe Swim Defense and Safety Afloat. The swim classification tests should be renewed annually, preferably at the beginning of each outdoor season. Traditionally, the swim classification test has only been conducted at a long-term summer camp. However, there is no restriction that this be the only place the test is conducted. It is highly recommended to conduct the swim classification prior to attending summer camp.

All persons participating in BSA aquatics are classified according to their swimming ability. The classification tests and test procedures have been developed and structured to demonstrate a skill level consistent with the circumstances in which the individual will be in the water. The Swimmer’s Test demonstrates the minimum level of swimming ability for recreational and instructional activity in a confined body of water with a maximum 12-foot depth, and with shallow water footing or a pool or pier edge always within 25 feet of the swimmer.

Swimmer’s 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: side stroke, breast stroke, trudgen, or crawl. Then swim 25 yards using an easy resting back stroke. The 100 yards must be swam continuously and include at least one sharp turn. After completing the swim, rest by floating for about one minute.

Beginners 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.


Administration of Swim Classification Test

Preferred Method (at unit level with council approved aquatics resource people)
The swim classification test done at a unit level should be conducted by one of the following council approved resource people: Aquatics Instructor, BSA; Aquatics Supervisor, BSA Lifeguard, certified lifeguard, swimming instructor; or swim coach. When the unit goes to a summer camp, each individual will be issued a buddy tag under the direction of the Camp Aquatics Director for use at the camp. Northern Star Council requires that swim classification tests be conducted within three months prior to the unit’s arrival at camp. The signed form must be presented upon arrival in camp.


At Camp Option
The swim classification test is completed before your first aquatic activity by camp aquatics personnel.

Special Note:
When swim tests are conducted away from or at camp, the Aquatics Director shall at all times reserve the authority to review or retest individuals or entire units to ensure that standards have been maintained.

Swim Test

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