Search and Rescue Merit Badge (WORKSHEET & REQUIREMENTS)

The Search and Rescue (SAR) merit badge is a badge that Scouts of all levels can earn to demonstrate their knowledge of safety and search operations.

In order to obtain and complete this badge, Scouts must demonstrate their knowledge of SAR and safety operations in both practical and knowledge-based ways. By the end of the badge requirements, Scouts will have a firm understanding of how to remain safe during a search, what gear to bring, how to read maps and directions, how to use a compass, and how to properly use a Global Positioning System (GPS).

The badge requirements are as follows:

  • Do the following:
    • Demonstrate knowledge to stay found and prevent yourself from becoming the subject of a SAR incident.
    • Identify typical search and rescue equipment, including communications devices.
    • Describe how technology is used in search and rescue operations.
    • Explain the importance of maintaining accurate and up-to-date maps and charts.
    • Discuss the principles of land navigation, including use of the compass and the Global Positioning System (GPS).
    • Describe the use of search and rescue as a science.

  • Have a conversation with a counselor to discuss search and rescue techniques.
  • Identify five search and rescue teams or organizations, and explain the roles of each.
  • Identify and use appropriate landmarks and terrain features to stay found. (You may need to go online with your parent’s permission.)
  • With a partner, practice map and compass navigation and GPS operations.
  • Demonstrate the correct method of using a short-range radio device.
  • Explain the importance of leaving a trip plan with a responsible adult and the importance of proper clothing and equipment preparation.
  • Discuss and demonstrate the proper operation of a motor vehicle in a search and rescue operation.
  • Explain the guidelines for a search and rescue team member.
  • Demonstrate the appropriate methods of search management and the appropriate use of resources and volunteers.

Completing the Search and Rescue Merit Badge will give Scouts the necessary knowledge and skills to help in search and rescue operations, and equip Scouts to remain safe and prevent SAR incidents.

For more information about the Search and Rescue Merit Badge, visit Scoutles and the Boy Scouts of America website.

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