Three Swimming Ability Groups

BSA Swim Board

All persons participating in BSA Aquatic activities or summer camps are classified according to swimming ability. The classification tests and test procedures have been developed and structured to demonstrate a skill level consistent with the circumstances.

The BSA Aquatics swim test classifies Scouts into three swimming ability groups. The three swimmer ability groups are swimmer, beginner and learner/non-swimmer.

  • The swimmer test demonstrates the minimum level of swimming ability required for safe deep-water swimming. 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.
  • The beginner test demonstrates that the Scout is ready to learn deep-water skills and has the minimum ability required for safe instructional and recreational activity in a confined swimming area in which shallow waters, sides, or other support are less than 25 feet from any point on the water.
  • All Scouts and Scouters who do not complete the beginner test or who choose to not participate in any test are classified as learners/non-swimmer. All learners should be encouraged to take swim lessons to improve their swimming ability and become comfortable participating in water activities. The nonswimmer area should be no more than waist to chest deep and should be enclosed by physical boundaries such as the shore, a pier, or lines. The enclosed beginner area should contain water of standing depth and may extend to depths just over the head. The swimmer area may be up to 12 feet in depth in clear water and should be defined by floats or other markers.