SCUBA DIVING MERIT BADGE
The Boy Scouts of America is pleased to announce the release of the Scuba Diving merit badge. The official earn date of this merit badge is December 1, 2009. Pamphlets are in the NDC and available for local council service center and scoutstuff.org orders - just in time for Christmas!
The first new merit badge in over three years, Scuba Diving reflects the new direction of BSA to develop merit badges based on youth/Scout input to assure relevance and excitement around the merit badge offering. This merit badge, developed in association with PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors), leverages our spirit of outdoor adventure and expands our aquatics offering. More than 84 percent of Scouts surveyed were interested in the merit badge and recommended that BSA adopt it.
Key facts you need to know about the merit badge are as follows:
* Completing the Scuba Diving merit badge will result in the boy achieving an open water certification enabling him to dive around the world with the appropriate supervision, based on his age.
* There are two important roles for this merit badge - the merit badge counselor and a certified dive instructor.
* Sometimes this may be the same person.
* More likely, the counselor will be an existing BSA adult member.
* Always the instructor will be one certified by one of a number of instructional agencies.
* The instructor does NOT have to be a BSA member.
* Earning the Scuba Diving merit badge is open to all Boy Scout-age youth. There are, however, limitations based on age with respect to how deep and with whom a boy can dive. These limitations vary by certifying organization.
* Completion of the Swimming merit badge is a requirement of the merit badge and must be completed prior to entering into scuba training portion of the requirements.
* Boys with a current open water certification will NOT have to recertify in order to earn the merit badge. They will, however, have to have completed the Swimming merit badge, present their certification to the merit badge counselor and complete all the other requirements.
* There are three important pieces of information which must be fully reviewed by the merit badge counselor prior to approving any Scout for the merit badge: the merit badge requirements, the notes to counselor and the scuba policy of the Guide to Safe Scouting.