arrowHOMETroop 97High Adventure—BSA Safety Plans

BSA Safety Plans for Various Activities

(more detailed information in BSA "Guide to Safe Scouting for Unit Activities" #34416A)

General Requirements for All High Adventure Activities

  1. Two-deep leadership (minimum of 2 adults, at least one over age 21, at least one BSA Youth Protection trained, at least one registered with BSA)
  2. Safety rule of four (no fewer than 4 individuals, including at least 2 adults, on any backcountry trip—if an accident occurs, one stays with the injured person, and two go for help)
  3. Separate male/female & adult/child tenting
  4. Tour permit (file a BSA tour permit for all activities)
  5. Back-country trips are required to follow the BSA Wilderness Use Policy (see bottom of this page)

"The Sweet 16 of BSA Safety" (BSA #19-130)

  1. Qualified Supervision
  2. Physical Fitness
  3. Buddy System
  4. Safe Area or Course
  5. Equipment Selection and Maintenance
  6. Personal Safety Equipment
  7. Safety Procedures and Policies
  8. Skill Level Limits
  9. Weather Check
  10. Planning
  11. Communications
  12. Plans and Notices
  13. First Aid Resources
  14. Applicable Laws
  15. CPR Resource
  16. Discipline

Trek Safely (2-sheet oversize flyer, BSA #430-125)

  1. Qualified Supervision
  2. Keep Fit
  3. Plan Ahead
  4. Gear Up
  5. Communicate Clearly and Completely
  6. Monitor Conditions
  7. Discipline

Water Activities

Safe Swim Defense (BSA #34370A)

  1. Qualified Supervision
  2. Personal Health Review
  3. Safe Area
  4. Response Personnel
  5. Lookout
  6. Ability Groups
  7. Buddy System
  8. Discipline

Safety Afloat (BSA #34159C)

  1. Qualified Supervision
  2. Personal Health Review
  3. Swimming Ability
  4. Life Jackets
  5. Buddy System
  6. Skill Proficiency
  7. Planning
  8. Equipment
  9. Discipline

Kayaking Safety (6-page booklet, BSA #19-510)

  1. Qualified Supervision
  2. Physical Fitness
  3. Swimming Abiity
  4. Personal Flotation Equipment
  5. Buddy System
  6. Skill Proficiency
  7. Planning
  8. Equipment
  9. Discipline

Scuba Safety (16-page booklet, BSA #19-515)

  1. Qualified Supervision
  2. Personal Health Review
  3. Safe Area
  4. Emergency Preparedness
  5. Ability
  6. Buddy System
  7. Communication
  8. Equipment
  9. Buoyancy Control
  10. Understanding Pressure
  11. Discipline

Snorkeling Safety (6-page booklet, BSA #19-176)

  1. Qualified Supervision
  2. Physical Fitness
  3. Safe Area
  4. Proper Equipment
  5. Lifeguards/Lookout
  6. Ability
  7. Buddy System
  8. Discipline

Whitewater Safety
Follow Safety Afloat; there is additional
information in the Guide to Safe Scouting,
including the American Whitewater Affiliation
(AWA) Safety Code.

Other Activities

Bike Safety

  1. Qualified Supervision
  2. Physical Fitness
  3. Helmets and Clothing
  4. Buddy System
  5. Position in Traffic
  6. Safety Rules
  7. Turns and Intersections
  8. Equipment
  9. Bicycle Accessories
  10. Maintenance
  11. Racing
  12. Planning
  13. Discipline

Cave Safety (8-page booklet, BSA #19-102B)
(Details in the policy statement booklet above)

Climb on Safely (BSA #20-099B)

  1. Qualified Supervision
  2. Qualified Instructors
  3. Physical Fitness
  4. Safe Area
  5. Equipment
  6. Planning
  7. Environmental Conditions
  8. Discipline

Winter Camping Safety

  1. Qualified Supervision
  2. Equipment
  3. Physical Fitness
  4. Buddy System
  5. Planning
  6. Safe Area
  7. Weather Check
  8. Burning (no flames in tents or snow shelters)
  9. Discipline

BSA Wilderness Use Policy

[link to BSA Wilderness Use Policy & Outdoor Code sheet]

All privately or publicly owned backcountry land and designated wildernesses are included in the term "wilderness areas" in this policy. The Outdoor Code of the Boy Scouts of America and the principles of Leave No Trace apply to outdoor behavior generally, but for treks into wilderness areas, minimum-impact camping methods must be used. Within the outdoor program of the Boy Scouts of America, there are many different camping-skill levels. Camping practices that are appropriate for day outings, long-term Scout camp, or short-term unit camping might not apply to wilderness areas. Wherever they go, Scouts need to adopt attitudes and patterns of behavior that respect the rights of others, including future generations, to enjoy the outdoors.

In wilderness areas, it is crucial to minimize human impact, particularly on fragile ecosystems such as mountains, lakes and streams, deserts, and seashores. Because our impact varies from one season of the year to the next, it becomes important for us to adjust to these changing conditions to avoid damaging the environment.

The Boy Scouts of America emphasizes these practices for all troops, teams, and crews planning to use wilderness areas:

  • Contact the landowner or land-managing agency (USDA Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, state and private agencies, etc.) well before an outing to learn the regulations for that area, including group size limits, to obtain required permits and current maps, and to discuss ways Scouts can fulfill the expectations of property owners or land managers.
  • Obtain a tour permit (available through local council service centers), meet all of its conditions, and carry it during the trip.
  • Review the appropriate BSA safety literature relating to planned activities. (See Safe Swim Defense, Safety Afloat, Climb On Safely, and Trek Safely.) Also see the Guide to Safe Scouting on the BSA Web site at for more information on current BSA policies and procedures for ensuring safe activities, as well as the Fieldbook Web site at
  • Match the ruggedness of high-adventure experiences to the skills, physical ability, and maturity of those taking part. Save rugged treks for older unit members who are more proficient and experienced in outdoor skills.
  • Conduct pretrip training for your group that stresses proper wilderness behavior, rules, and skills for all of the conditions that may be encountered, including lightning, missing person, wildfire, high winds, flooding, and emergency medical situations.
  • Participate in training in how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace, and be proficient and experienced in the leadership and skills required for treks into wilderness areas.
  • Adhere to the principles of Leave No Trace.

Outdoor Code

As an American, I will do my best to-

Be clean in my outdoor manners. I will treat the outdoors as a heritage. I will take care of it for myself and others. I will keep my trash and garbage out of lakes, streams, fields, woods, and roadways.

Be careful with fire. I will prevent wildfire. I will build my fires only when and where they are appropriate. When I have finished using a fire, I will make sure it is cold out. I will leave a clean fire ring, or remove all evidence of my fire.

Be considerate in the outdoors. I will treat public and private property with respect. I will follow the principles of Leave No Trace for all outdoor activities.

Be conservation-minded. I will learn about and practice good conservation of soil, waters, forests, minerals, grasslands, wildlife, and energy. I will urge others to do the same.