Wilderness Swimming Site Field Assessment Tool

Section 7-2.11(a)(5) requires the camp to assess a wilderness swim site prior to use to assure that the water velocity, bottom slope and water clarity are acceptable and that the area is free of sharp drop-offs, jagged rocks or under water obstructions. In addition, the perimeter of the swimmer and non-swimmer areas must be designated.

Items needed to conduct assessment:

  • Small stick or other floating object
  • Watch or stopwatch
  • Tape Measure or measuring device, such as a weighted rope or a marked paddle or stick

Water Velocity

Measure and mark a distance of 30 feet on the shoreline. Drop a stick or other floating object into the water at the upstream point. Using a watch or stopwatch, determine and record below how many seconds it takes the floating object to travel between the two points. The Swim area is unacceptable if less than 10 seconds.

Time Taken for Object to Travel 30 Feet: __________

  • checkbox N/A - Non-flowing body of water

Bottom Slope

Measure and mark the 1 foot water depth location. Record the water depth in the table below as measured in 8ft. intervals from the 1-foot water depth mark to the outer limits* of the proposed swim area. The swim area is unacceptable if the water depth exceeds the depth listed in the corresponding "Maximum Depth" column.

Feet From 1 ft. DepthWater DepthMaximum Depth
8 ft. 2 ft.
16 ft. 3 ft.
24 ft. 4 ft.
32 ft. 5 ft.
40 ft. 5 ft.
48 ft. 5 ft.
56 ft. 5 ft.
64 ft. 5 ft.
72 ft. 5 ft.

* Outer perimeter must be no more than 75 feet from shore and no deeper than 5 ft.

Water Clarity

Place a measuring device, such as a weighted rope or a marked paddle or stick, into the water at various points within the designated swim area. Swim area is unacceptable if the marking is not visible at a depth of less than 4 feet.

Bottom, or to at least a depth of 4 feet below the water surface, is visible throughout swim area.

  • checkbox Yes
  • checkbox No

Underwater Hazards

Lifeguarding staff must enter the water and check the swim area for underwater hazards such as jagged rocks or other obstructions. Check the appropriate box below indicating results:

  • checkbox No hazards found
  • checkbox Underwater hazards found - swim area is unacceptable

Swim Area:

  • checkbox Acceptable
  • checkbox Unacceptable

Assessed by: ______________________________ Title: _____________________________________

Trip Location: ____________________________ Date: __________ Time: __________