PADI and Boy Scouts of America Scuba Diving Merit Badge

PADI Instructor with Boy Scouts
Boy Scouts and adventure have always been synonymous. By 2010, Scouts who want to explore the underwater world can earn a scuba diving merit badge.

Before we go any farther, there’s something I have to disclose: I was a Campfire girl, so, in this article I’ll be faking my way through Boy Scout-ese. For those of you who were scouts, my apologies if I flub some of the terminology.

Completion of PADI’s Open Water course is one of six steps for a scout to earn a scuba diving merit badge. Most of these steps the scout will complete with their merit badge counselor, but in case you’re curious here are all six:

#1 – First aid for diving-related illnesses and injuries
#2 – Swimming merit badge
#3 – Discuss scuba diver’s code
#4 – Open Water certification
#5 – Discuss the underwater ecosystem
#6 – Research scuba diving occupations and what experience is needed for each

Read a detailed description of the SCUBA merit badge requirements from the BSA’s website.

Each scout will need a set of standard PADI Open Water materials, or they can enroll in eLearning (min. age: 10). Additionally, they will purchase a scuba diving merit badge booklet from their Boy Scout Council Store.

Read the Boy Scouts of America brochure describing the new Scuba Merit Badge.

To find out if there is a Boy Scout troop near you, use the troop locator on You can also read our overview about becoming a merit badge counselor. You don’t have to become a merit badge counselor to certify scouts, however, it can be beneficial.

Before making contact with your local council or troop you should be ready to answer the following questions:

Will you offer a private class just for the scouts?
Can parents be in the class too?
Will you offer a group rate?
What about a special rate for troup leaders who want to continue through Divemaster?
What is your policy if a scout misses a class/pool session?
Do you have special mouthpieces for boys with braces?
What is your experience working with young people?

Something else to consider: Boy Scout groups often need to do fund-raising. 

Your scuba-fied scouts can be great ambassadors for your business. Create Discover Scuba Diving vouchers and have the scouts sell them and share in the income. Read our complete write up on the discover scuba fundraising idea.

Read PADI’s official announcement about our partnership with the BSA.

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