The requirements for Small-Boat Sailing merit badge were revised
January 1, 1998.
- Show that you know first aid for injuries or
illnesses that could occur while small-boat sailing,
including hypothermia, heatstroke, heat exhaustion,
dehydration, sunburn, insect stings, tick bites,
blisters, and hyperventilation.
- Do the following:
- Identify the conditions that must exist before
performing CPR on a person. Explain how such
conditions are recognized.
- Demonstrate proper technique for performing CPR
using a training device approved by your counselor.
- Before doing the following requirements, successfully
complete the BSA swimmer test. Jump feetfirst into
water over your head in depth, swim 75 yards or
75 meters in a strong manner using one or more of
the following strokes: sidestroke, breaststroke,
trudgen, or crawl; then swim 25 yards or 25 meters
using an easy resting backstroke.
The 100 yards or 100 meters must be swum continuously
and include at least one sharp turn. After completing
the swim, rest by floating as motionless as possible.
- Describe the boat you will be using for the sailing
requirement, naming all of the major parts and the
functions of those parts.* Tell the difference between
keel, centerboards, dagger board, bilgeboard, and
leeboard. Explain the purpose of each.
- Before going afloat do the following:
- Discuss the nine points of the BSA Safety Afloat
- Discuss the rules of the road in general and any
specific rules or laws that apply to your area or
- Discuss with your counselor how the hazards of
weather and heavy water conditions can affect both
safety and performance in sailing.
- Prepare a typical float plan.
- With the help of a buddy, show you can sail a boat
properly by doing the following:
- Prepare the boat for sailing, include a safety
- Get under way from a dock, mooring, or beach.
- Properly set sails for a course that will include
running, beating, and reaching -- the basic points
- Change tack by coming about; by jibing.
- Anchor properly.
- Demonstrate the rescue of a man overboard and
capsize procedures. **
- Demonstrate the procedure to use in the following:
helping others, bad weather, running aground.
- Upon returning to your dock, mooring, or beach,
properly secure all equipment, furl or stow sails,
and prepare the craft for unattended docking,
mooring, or beaching for overnight or longer.
- Have a working knowledge of marlinspike seamanship
and do the following:
- Show how to tie the square or reef knot, clove
hitch, two half-hitches, bowline, figure-eight
knot, and mooring hitch. Demonstrate the use of
- Show how to heave a line, coil a line, fake down a
- Whip the ends of a line; tell why whippings are
- Discuss the kinds of lines used on sailboats and
the types of fibers used in their manufacture.
Tell the advantages and disadvantages of each.
- Describe how you would care for and maintain a
sailboat and its gear throughout the year.
- With the counselor, review sailing terminology;
include points of sailing. Discuss various types of
sailboats in use today; tell their differences.
- Give a short history of sailing in the United States,
including its importance in the growth of our nation.
Discuss commercial and recreational sailing, including
racing and the America's Cup. This requirement may be
completed in written or oral form.
* The skill may be demonstrated on any boat available to the
Scout. While no specific sail plan is recommended, it is
suggested that the craft be under 20 feet. The boat must
have the capability of sailing windward.
** Capsize procedures should be conducted under the close
supervision of the counselor. A rescue boat should be
standing by to assist, if necessary, and to tow the capsized
craft to shore. Self-bailing boats are acceptable for this
requirement. Extreme care should be taken to avoid personal
injury and damage to the boat or its equipment.