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Can a scout drive a ski boat with a scout in tow?


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#1 T2Eagle

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 12:25 PM

We have a water sports weekend coming up, and one question we have is whether one of our scouts can drive the boat while another scout is skiing.

It looks to me like he can. He is 16, has a boating license from the state where we're boating, is a competent and experienced driver and will have a qualified adult in the boat with him.

Safety Afloat seems to say this is OK, but never specifically addresses a scout driving while another scout skies.

Anyone know a definitive, sourced answer?

Edited by T2Eagle, 11 July 2017 - 12:27 PM.

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#2 T2Eagle

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 12:27 PM

Also, if any of the moderators could fix my typo in the title I would appreciate it.

Thanks,


Edited by NJCubScouter, 11 July 2017 - 03:24 PM.
Done - NJCubScouter

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#3 KenD500

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 12:41 PM

I'm digging into the Aquatics Supervision now but this is from the Guide to Safe Scouting:

Tow Sports

All participants in towed activity afloat (waterskiing, wakeboarding, kneeboarding, tubing, etc.) must have successfully completed the BSA swimmer classification test and must wear a life jacket with an impact rating consistent with the activity. Supervision must include both a skilled boat driver currently trained in Safety Afloat and a separate observer. Participants should observe the Water-skiers Safety Code and the Boat Drivers Safety Code found in Aquatics Supervision, No. 34346. Use only floats specifically designed for towing that provide secure handholds for each rider.


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#4 Stosh

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 01:15 PM

Perfectly unclear, as per BSA policy.

 

I don't know if Safety Afloat training is only for adult scouters or not.  However, it seems that both the driver and observer could be scouts if the driver is SA certified.  Everyone, driver, observer and skiers all need to know Water-skiers Safety Code and Boat Drivers Safety Code.  (Yes, the skiers need to know what the drivers are doing, too)


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Stosh

 

There's a reason why I don't always answer the phone, doorbell or comments on forums.  :)


#5 qwazse

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 01:24 PM

How else is the kid going to earn motor-boating?

 

Whatever you do, don't let some hack like me get behind the wheel! :laugh:


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#6 Col. Flagg

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 01:30 PM

We don't allow it. We make sure an adult with proper training is driving and that we have one look out per Scout in the water, never exceeding two Scouts.

 

Reason? A local troop had a water fatality a few years back and several gaps in the BSA aquatics guide would have prevented that tragedy. So now we overkill on safety, observation, training and operations of water craft.


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#7 qwazse

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 01:47 PM

Flagg, I get the exuberance on safety.

 

I've just seen that an adult with years of bad habits is as much of a hazard as a youth with a one year solid track record and attendance at safety courses.

 

That said, I wouldn't take any youth's with a license for granted. Immaturity could be a problem. So looking case-by-case makes better sense than counting on an age boundary for safety.


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#8 Stosh

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 01:52 PM

Age boundaries?  They are arbitrary and useless in most cases.  I know of a lot of 14 year old adults and 40 year old children.


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Stosh

 

There's a reason why I don't always answer the phone, doorbell or comments on forums.  :)


#9 Eagledad

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 01:59 PM

Ah the memories, Water Skiing was my first MB. The first thing we did was to learn how to drive the boat. And over the course of the badge, we learned how to pull skiers. I skill I've used for the rest of my life.

 

Barry


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#10 T2Eagle

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 02:56 PM

We don't allow it. We make sure an adult with proper training is driving and that we have one look out per Scout in the water, never exceeding two Scouts.
 
Reason? A local troop had a water fatality a few years back and several gaps in the BSA aquatics guide would have prevented that tragedy. So now we overkill on safety, observation, training and operations of water craft.


What gaps were there/are there that would have helped? Have they been filled since then?

It is a flaw in our system that we don't publish after-action reports that show where and how something went wrong so that we're aware, and can avoid, mistakes others have made.

Edited by T2Eagle, 11 July 2017 - 02:56 PM.

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#11 Col. Flagg

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 03:15 PM

What gaps were there/are there that would have helped? Have they been filled since then?

It is a flaw in our system that we don't publish after-action reports that show where and how something went wrong so that we're aware, and can avoid, mistakes others have made.

 

I don't want to give out too much info because I know some of the folks here are from my area and might know the unit. A few of the issues that needed addressing (not necessarily things this unit did or didn't do) were:

  • Too many people on the boat. Too many distractions for driver and observers.
  • Not enough observers (should be one observer for each person in the water, think boat observer to swimmer buddy system).
  • No established procedures for downed skiers (e.g., who to recover first, how to recover, etc.).
  • Lake overcrowding. 
  • Untrained drivers (might know how to drive but not how to drive and recover skiers).
  • Visibility of folks in the water (we now use VERY bright florescent life jackets with strobes).

You can't always foresee every scenario, but I'd like to think we can learn from tragedies and take steps to make sure they don't happen again. Sure it's fun, but those responsible and taking part always need to be vigilant while having fun.


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#12 CalicoPenn

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 03:20 PM

How else is the kid going to earn motor-boating?

 

Whatever you do, don't let some hack like me get behind the wheel! :laugh:

Motor-boating Merit Badge does not include towing skiiers (or anything else) behind a boat.


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#13 Col. Flagg

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 03:20 PM

Flagg, I get the exuberance on safety.

 

I've just seen that an adult with years of bad habits is as much of a hazard as a youth with a one year solid track record and attendance at safety courses.

 

That said, I wouldn't take any youth's with a license for granted. Immaturity could be a problem. So looking case-by-case makes better sense than counting on an age boundary for safety.

 

No argument from me about adults and bad vehicle practices.

 

We only allow boys to operate the boat *if* we are in a small group, we are working on the MB and there are no state or federal restrictions. If there is one of our swimmers in the water, we follow the USCG guidelines (forget BSA) on picking up swimmers. We do not move an inch until we have eyes on EACH swimmer AND we have a bow lookout confirming our path to the downed skiers. Also, an adult driver is right there ready to hit the engine kill switch.


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#14 NJCubScouter

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 03:28 PM

As Ken says, the answer is most likely in Aquatics Supervision (# 34346) but I don't have it, it doesn't appear to be online for free and scoutstuff.org wants $29.99 for it, so...


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#15 Col. Flagg

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 03:29 PM

The pdf is out there. Someone has scanned and uploaded it.  ;)


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#16 CalicoPenn

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 03:45 PM

Supervision must include both a skilled boat driver currently trained in Safety Afloat and a separate observer.

 

I think the key is this sentence - I read it to mean that the boat driver is considered a supervisor and an aquatics activity supervisor must be 21 years of age or older.  I believe this also means that the official observer must also be an adult 21 years of age or older because the observer is also a supervisor. 


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#17 Stosh

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 04:19 PM

When I was a kid I did a ton of water skiing.  We had an established protocol.

 

1) Driver did not watch the skier

2) Observer sat in the boat backwards and did nothing but watch the skier.

3) If the skier went down. raise a ski to signal they are okay.

4) Observer reels in the tow rope while the driver goes back to the skier

5) While the boat circles 15-20' away from the skier, the observer throws the tow rope in the vicinity of the skier making sure not to hit them.

6) The circling boat will draw the line to the skier.

7) Any time the boat gets less than 15' from skier, kill switch is hit.

 

never had a problem


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Stosh

 

There's a reason why I don't always answer the phone, doorbell or comments on forums.  :)


#18 Eagle94-A1

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 06:07 PM

I think the key is this sentence - I read it to mean that the boat driver is considered a supervisor and an aquatics activity supervisor must be 21 years of age or older.  I believe this also means that the official observer must also be an adult 21 years of age or older because the observer is also a supervisor. 

 

No. "Qualified Supervision" could be on shore. Boat Observer could be a "Lookout," could be someone any age. And anyone can get Safety Afloat certified.


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#19 T2Eagle

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 07:50 PM

As Ken says, the answer is most likely in Aquatics Supervision (# 34346) but I don't have it, it doesn't appear to be online for free and scoutstuff.org wants $29.99 for it, so...


I found a 2009 version online, it didn't shed any light on the subject. Someday someone will explain to me why BSA makes documents harder than they need to be to get, either through cost or lack of convenience, but that day hasn't arrived yet.
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#20 Back Pack

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 09:13 PM

The

I found a 2009 version online, it didn't shed any light on the subject. Someday someone will explain to me why BSA makes documents harder than they need to be to get, either through cost or lack of convenience, but that day hasn't arrived yet.


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