Whitewater Merit Badge
CLASS PREPARATION PAGE
 
GENERAL INSTRUCTIONS
 
Please arrive with ample time prior to the start time of your class for registration.  Remember there will be others checking in as well and depending on the size of the class, and the event the class is being held in conjunction with, that registration may take a little time.

You should bring a blue card filled out properly for this class. - Scoutmaster Bucky Online participants - you will not be allowed to participate if you have not provided your signed blue card prior to the class - you should have forwarded your blue card to Scoutmaster Bucky prior to the class via email or postal mail:
Scoutmaster Bucky - 5724 Aldrich Avenue South  Minneapolis, Minnesota  55419.

If you are not familiar with how to fill out a blue card, you should familiarize yourself with Scoutmaster Bucky's "How To Fill Out A Blue Card" document. Click here for Scoutmaster Bucky's "How To Fill Out A Blue Card".  Remember it is a Scout's responsibility to take care of their own blue card from beginning to end.
 
 
 
Your Scout Uniform is required to be worn for attending this Merit Badge session.   If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact Brian Reiners; Scoutmaster Bucky via email or on the phone at 612-483-0665.

Reviewing the merit badge pamphlet PRIOR to attending and doing preparation work will insure that Scouts get the most out of these class opportunities. The merit badge pamphlet is a wealth of information that can make earning a merit badge a lot easier. It contains many of the answers and solutions needed or can at least provide direction as to where one can find the answers.

It is NOT acceptable to come unprepared to a Scoutmaster Bucky event. You can (and should) use the Scoutmaster Bucky Whitewater Merit Badge Workbook to help get a head start and organize your preparation work. Please note that the use of any workbook is merely for note taking and reference and completion of any Merit Badge workbook does not warrant, guarantee, or confirm a Scouts completion of any merit badge requirement(s). You can download the Scoutmaster Bucky Whitewater Merit Badge Workbook by clicking here .   If this link is not working please check the internet for other merit badge workbook options.

It should be noted that this merit badge class is not meant for those who just want to come and see what they can get done. It is possible to complete this merit badge by being properly prepared and having done the preparation work prior to the class. Preparation is a MUST 
 
 
Other Whitewater MERIT BADGE PAGES
 
Whitewater Merit Badge Current Requirements
 
Scoutmaster Bucky's - Whitewater Merit Badge Workbook
 
Whitewater Merit Badge and Merit Badge History Page
 
Whitewater MERIT BADGE SPECIFICS
 

Whitewater Merit Badge Things to remember to bring for this Merit Badge Class:

1. Merit Badge Blue Card properly filled out and signed off by your Scoutmaster

2. Whitewater Merit Badge Pamphlet

3. Scout Uniform

4. Proper and appropriate swimwear

5. Proof of having passed your BSA Swimmer Test within the last 12 months (failure to provide this proof to the satisfaction of the Merit Badge Counselor and/or Class Instructor will negate your eligibilty to participate in the class.

6. Proof of having earned the Canoeing or Kayaking Merit Badge (failure to provide this proof to the Merit Badge Counselor and/or Class Instructor will negate your eligibilty to participate in the class.

7. Permission Slip signed by parent or guardian when and if required, by the facility or location the Whitewater activity is being held at (check with Scoutmaster Bucky if you are uncertain whether a permission slip is needed) 

8. Supporting documentation or project work pertinent to this merit badge which may also include a Merit Badge Workbook for reference with notes

9. A positive Scouting focus and attitude

 
REQUIREMENTS WITH SUGGESTED STUDY PREPARATION NOTES
 

IT MUST BE NOTED THAT DUE TO THE SAFETY LEVEL REQUIRED FOR THIS MERIT BADGE CLASS, SCOUTS NOT FOLLOWING DIRECTION OR FAILING TO ADHERE TO CLASS INSTRUCTIONS MAY BE REMOVED FROM THE CLASS AND FORFEIT PARTICIPATION FEES AND PRIVILEGE OF CONTINUING TO PARTICIPATE. PARENT OR GUARDIAN WILL BE ASKED TO COME AND REMOVE SCOUT FROM THE EVENT.

 

THE CANOEING OR KAYAKING MERIT BADGE MUST BE EARNED PRIOR TO WORKING ON MOST OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE WHITEWATER MERIT BADGE.  IT SHOULD GO WITHOUT SAYING, AND ALTHOUGH REQUIRED FOR COMPLETION OF THE CANOING OR KAYAKING MERIT BADGE, SCOUTS MUST HAVE PASSED THEIR BSA SWIMMERS TEST WITHIN THE PAST YEAR.

SCOUTS WILL NOT HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO PERFORM THEIR BSA SWIM TEST AT THIS CLASS OFFERING IF THEY ARE NOT CURRENT.  YOU WILL NEED TO MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A CURRENT CERTIFICATION / VALIDATION.  HOWEVER, AT THE DISCRETION OF THE COUNSELOR / INSTRUCTOR FOR THE CLASS, INDIVIDUAL SCOUTS MAY BE ASKED TO VALIDATE THEIR SWIMMING ABILITIES TO THE STANDARDS OF THE BSA SWIMMER TEST FOR SAFETY CONCERNS ONLY.

 

1. Do the following:

a. Explain to your counselor the most likely hazards you may encounter while participating in whitewater activities and what you should do to anticipate, help prevent, mitigate, and respond to these hazards.

b. Review with your counselor the prevention, symptoms, and first aid treatment for the following injuries or illnesses that could occur while participating in whitewater activities including cold-water shock; hypothermia; head, neck, and back injuries; heat-related illnesses; sunburn; dehydration; blisters; bruises; cuts; sprains and strains; shoulder dislocation; and submersion injuries.

Scouts should review these two (1a and 1b) requirement components and be prepared to discuss, demonstrate, explain, and show as necessary their first aid knowledge and proficiency as it applies to this merit badge as well as the ability to identify hazards likely to be encountered in whitewater activities.

c. Discuss with your counselor the BSA Safety Afloat policy and the American Whitewater safety guidelines.

Scouts should review the BSA Safety Afloat policy prior to the class. It is NOT acceptable to attend the class not having read the BSA Safety Afloat policy and having a general understanding of it applies to this merit badge and canoeing activities. Scouts clearly not having prepared ahead of class will not be allowed to continue participation in the class after arrival until they show their comprehension of this policy.

 

2. Do the following:

a. Explain the following river features: upstream V, downstream V, riffle, eddy, eddy line, pillow, ledge, bend, shallows, current, drop, horizon line, wave, standing wave, wave train.

Scouts will find using the merit badge pamphlet helpful, if not easiest, to prepare for this requirement. It is highly recommended that Scouts make notes to help prepare themselves for explanation during the class on this requirement.

b. Explain when, why, and how you should scout a river while ashore and while on the river.

Scouts will find reviewing the merit badge pamphlet will be their best resource for preparing for this requirement. Scouts should be prepared to share their explanation during class discussion led by the merit badge counselor.

 

3. Before doing requirements 4 through 12, earn the Canoeing merit badge if you will be using a canoe to earn this merit badge. If you will be using a kayak, earn the Kayaking merit badge. Then do the following:

ALL SCOUTS SHOULD BRING PROOF OF HAVING PASSED THE BSA SWIMMER TEST IN THE PAST YEAR.  (A camp swimmer's tag clearly showing it belongs to the Scout, a signed letter from a certified swimming instructor stating the Scout's competency as measured against the BSA Swimmer's test requirements, or a signed note from a BSA Swimming Merit Badge Counselor or Scoutmaster will suffice - parental notes are not enough for this due to the merit badge requirements.)

ALL SCOUTS SHOULD BRING PROOF OF HAVING PASSED EITHER THE CANOEING MERIT BADGE OR KAYAKING MERIT BADGE.  Ideally, Scouts should bring either their signed blue card for the Canoeing / Kayak Merit Badge and/or a transcript of their official Scout Advancement Record (available through Scoutbook. This is the easiest and most accurate way for a merit badge counselor to identify that a Scout has met the first part of this requirement before proceeding. Bringing your sash or the respective merit badge is NOT proof of earning the badge in this case. Just saying you did it likely will not be enough to be able to continue if you do not bring this proof. Be Prepared.

Even with this "proof" the counselor(s) reserve the right to retest any Scout that they deem necessary or to satisfy their interest in safety. Scouts not having any "proof" will be required to pass the BSA Swimmer Test prior to starting participation in the class.  Those not able to pass the BSA Swimmer Test may be dismissed from the class at the discretion of the counselor.  Those not able to pass the BSA Swimmer Test and allowed to stay in the class will be limited to "on land" requirements at the discretion of the counselor. The same holds true for those that cannot satisfactorily show proof of earning either the Canoeing or Kayaking merit badge.

a. If you will be using a canoe to earn this merit badge, demonstrate strokes and maneuvers from the Canoeing merit badge to the satisfaction of your merit badge counselor.

OR

b. If you will be using a kayak to earn this merit badge, demonstrate strokes and maneuvers from the Kayaking merit badge to the satisfaction of your merit badge counselor.

Scouts will be reviewed by the merit badge counselor in either a canoe or kayak (as per the requirements) in the strokes and maneuvers appropriate for the craft they are or will be utilizing. Only Scouts who are able to meet the counselor's satisfaction in proficiency in handling their craft safely for the water and weather conditions will be allowed to continue working on the following requirements after Requirement 3.

 

4. Do ONE of the following:

a. If you are completing these requirements as a tandem canoeist, perform the following on calm water:

1. Demonstrate the following strokes in the bow: cross forward, bow draw, cross bow draw, bow pry, Duffek, sculling draw, and sculling pushaway (reverse scull).

2. Demonstrate the following strokes in the stern: stern draw, stern pry, sculling draw, sculling pushaway (reverse scull), and forward with stern pry.

3. Demonstrate a high brace, low brace, and a righting pry.

OR

b. If you are completing these requirements as a solo canoeist, perform the following on calm water:

1. Demonstrate the following strokes: cross forward, bow draw, cross bow draw, stern draw, pry, stern pry, Duffek, sculling draw, sculling pushaway (reverse scull), and forward with stern pry.

2. Demonstrate a high brace, low brace, and righting pry.

OR

c. If you are completing these requirements as a solo kayaker, perform the following on calm water:

1. Demonstrate the following strokes: Duffek, bow draw, rudder, and sculling draw.

2. Demonstrate a high brace and low brace.

Whichever requirement component option utilized for Requirement 4, the Scouts will need to further demonstrate watercraft skills.

 

5. Do the following:

a. Explain the International Scale of River Difficulty and apply the scale to the stretch of river approved by your counselor.

Scouts should have this written out to show the counselor that some thought and research has gone into this requirement and Scouts should be prepared to explain their findings.

b. Identify the specific characteristics of the river that are factors in your classification according to the International Scale.

This requirement component will be completed as a part of this class. Scouts should come prepared having reviewed the information in the merit badge pamphlet and be knowledgeable of the elements of this requirement component.

c. Discuss how the level of flow changes a river from one class to another and what effects different flow rates have on the features of a river and its hazards.

This requirement component will be covered in class however Scouts should have read the section in the merit badge pamphlet that references this subject and be prepared to help give explanation from their readings and research in the class in order to complete this requirement component.

 

6. Explain the importance of communication during every whitewater outing. Demonstrate knowledge and ability to use the following American Whitewater Universal River Signals, both visual and auditory: "Stop," "Are you OK?," "Help/emergency," "Run river right," "Run river left," and "All clear-come ahead."

Scouts will find all they need to know to complete this requirement by reviewing the Whitewater Merit Badge pamphlet. The Counselor for the class will assist in further understanding through sharing of knowledge to ensure the Scout has a complete understanding in order to complete this requirement. The Counselors known expertise for this requirement should NOT be a reason Scouts minimize the importance of researching this requirement. Scouts still need to show that they have a basic understanding through their preparation work in order to be considered for completion of this requirement.

 

7. Do ONE of the following:

a. If completing this merit badge in a canoe, describe the various types of canoes used on moving water and how they differ in design, materials, and purpose.

OR

b. If completing this merit badge in a kayak, describe the various types of kayaks used on moving water and explain how they differ in design, materials, and purpose.

For Requirement 7, regardless of whether a Scout does component 7a or 7b, each Scout should be prepared for discussion on the various type of canoe/kayaks used and their design, materials, and purpose. Only those Scouts actively participating in the class discussion will be considered for sign off on this requirement. With the knowledge brought to and gained at the class, Scouts will work with the counselor to complete Requirement 7. It is highly recommended that Scouts consider using a notebook or Merit Badge Workbook to note and organize their findings for sharing during the class.

 

8. Discuss the personal and group equipment necessary for a safe whitewater outing and how and why it is used. Explain how to pack and protect these items.

This requirement will be discussed in class, however only Scout who can actively share their findings as required in this requirement will be signed off on this requirement. Scouts should make sure they have a general understanding of safe whitewater outing practices and use of personal and group equipment and be prepared to discuss their knowledge and understanding during the class.

 

9. Do the following:

a. Demonstrate your ability to read a Class II section of river approved by your counselor. Describe the most desirable paths or lines of travel as well as alternative routes and options. Point out how to use the existing water features to your advantage, and explain how to best avoid the hazards present.

b. Wearing a proper life jacket and being appropriately dressed for the weather and water conditions, perform the following skills in moving water in a properly equipped whitewater craft of your choice (tandem canoe, solo canoe, or solo kayak). If a tandem canoe is used, the skills must be demonstrated from both the bow and stern positions.

1. Launch and land.

2. Paddle forward in a straight line.

3. Backpaddle.

4. Ferry upstream.

5. Ferry downstream.

6. Eddy turn.

7. Peel out.

This requirement and its components are skill-based requirements. While the counselor will utilize the EDGE method; Explain, Demonstrate, Guide, and Enable to cover this requirement and its components, it is still not a guarantee that all Scouts will complete each of the requirement components. Only Scouts who successfully demonstrate these skills to the counselor's satisfaction will be signed off on each requirement component. Some Scouts may find it difficult to complete some of these requirements simply due to physical development or other reasons. Every effort will be made to assist and accommodate each Scout however it MUST be noted that this is predominantly skill-based. All Scouts will have an opportunity to demonstrate their ability to perform and maneuver for each of the components in each of the requirements.

As a part of Requirement 5a Scouts may find making notes for some of the techniques will be helpful in preparing for discussion on these during the class.

 

10. Explain and demonstrate the following to your counselor:

a. Self-rescue and procedures when capsized in moving water, including a wet exit if necessary

b. Proper use of a throw rope to rescue a swimmer in whitewater

c. Proper technique for receiving a throw rope as a swimmer

d. Portaging - where portaging would be appropriate, and when and how to do it

e. The whitewater buddy system using at least three persons and three craft

Scouts will want to review the Whitewater Merit Badge pamphlet ahead of time to familiarize themselves with the components of this requirement.  As a part of the class the counselor will provide guidance on performing these requirement components.  Scouts not having reviewed and prepared for this requirement may find it difficult to fully complete the requirement and its components.  The requirement clearly states that they not only need to demonstrate the techniques but also explain. While the counselor will give explanation during the class, it should not be assumed that this sharing of knowledge replaces the Scouts responsibility to be able to explain. Repeating what the counselor has shared is not sufficient enough for completion of this element of the requirement.  Be Prepared.

 

11. Discuss the use of inflatable rafts on moving water. In your discussion, explain the special safety precautions that should be taken when using an inflatable raft and the risks of "tubing" on moving water.

Scouts should review their merit badge pamphlet and come with an understanding for discussion in the class about inflatable rafts; as outlined in this requirement. It is highly recommended to utilize a Merit Badge Workbook to make notes of your findings. Scouts in attendance that have not reviewed their merit badge pamphlet and/or do not actively participate in the class discussion will find it difficult to complete this requirement.

 

12. Participate in a whitewater trip using either a canoe or kayak on a Class I or Class II river. Help to prepare a written plan, specifying the route, schedule, equipment, safety precautions, and emergency procedures. Determine local rules and obtain permission from landowners and land managers in advance. Explain what steps you have taken to comply with BSA Safety Afloat and the American Whitewater safety guidelines. Execute the plan with others.

This requirement will be done as a part of the class however Scouts should be ready to share their understanding of the elements of this requirement.

 
this page last reviewed / updated: April 2019
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