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Sea Scout Experience Advanced Leadership Training (SEAL)

The Sea Scout Experience Advanced Leadership (SEAL) training program is designed to teach leadership skills while underway. SEAL is designed to “jump start” the junior leaders of new Ships and to fine tune leaders of experienced Ships. It is a hard core, physically and mentally demanding, and remarkably rewarding hands-on leadership experience. New and experienced Sea Scouts can succeed at SEAL so long as they are willing to learn and work hard at preparation.

Download the SEAL Application 2015 here.


History and Purpose

In 1996, the National Sea Scouting Committee created a new youth leadership course called Sea Scout Advanced Leadership (SEAL) training. The course is designed to develop leadership skills in young adults. Seamanship is the medium through which the course is taught; however, nautical skills are the means, not the end. This course, which utilizes an “at sea” experience as a laboratory, is intended to teach and apply leadership skills. There are few other media offering the opportunity for young people to actually put leadership skills utilizing group dynamics into practice. In SEAL, there is no “play acting.” All situations and tasks are real, not created. Bad decisions or team failure can produce immediate and real problems.



This week long “at sea” experience allows the student to learn and apply new skills immediately. Courses consist of five to seven youth with a Course Skipper and two instructors. Each instructional module relates to a specific leadership skill with exercises designed to show mastery of the concepts taught while under the leadership of the Boatswain of the Day. SEAL is NOT a seamanship course. All applicants are expected to have basic seamanship skills prior to arrival.

Skills Taught

Evaluation Team Building Leadership
Training Communicating Goal Setting
Planning & Preparing Motivating Managing, Supervising & Commanding
Counseling Implementing & Re-Implementing Problem Solving


Preparing for SEAL

SEAL candidates must arrive at the course prepared to learn, lead, and excel. It is not a seamanship course and all candidates must become intimately familiar with the Safety & Seamanship chapter and appendix of the current Sea Scout Manual. Candidates will be required to outline the chapter in detail. Additionally, candidates must be able to perform basic coastal navigation on paper and must be able to tie all knots required for Apprentice Sea Scout and Ordinary Sea Scout ranks. They must know and understand the basic nomenclature of a sailing vessel; know and understand helm commands and points of relative bearings. All of this information is in the Sea Scout Manual.


Conducting the Training

This course is managed by the National Sea Scout Committee and have been conducted at Chesapeake Bay, the Texas Gulf Coast, the Pacific, the Ohio River Valley, Florida Keys, Long Island Sound, and the Great Lakes. Course dates vary but are always held in the summer months. Costs are typically from $125 to $250 not including candidate transportation to and from the course. Check our event calendar for course offerings.



    • Achieve Ordinary Rank by June 1st the year of the course.
    • Apply leadership skills with their ship after the course.

Before Students Arrive

The student will:

  • Prepare an outline of “Chapter 4” of the Sea Scout Manual to be forwarded to the course’s Skipper for evaluation.
  • Know basic nomenclature of a sailing vessel.
  • Know and be able to perform basic coastal navigation.
  • Be able to tie all knots required for Apprentice and Ordinary Ranks in less than three minutes.
  • Know standard helm commands.

Two practice tests are sent to the applicant’s Skipper prior to the course that cover seamanship covered in “Chapter 4” of the Sea Scout Manual and basic coastal navigation. The student’s performance on these practice tests helps the student know better how to prepare for the course.



By the end of the course, graduates will be equipped with leadership skills and management tools necessary to fire up a ship’s program. They will be prepared to serve in leadership positions such as Boatswain or Boatswain’s Mate in their ships as well as in their schools, jobs, and communities.



Each graduate receives the coveted SEAL pin. SEAL patches are also available to graduates, which can be worn on their uniform instead of the pin. SEAL graduates are also selected to represent Sea Scouts with other opportunities such as trips on submarines, aircraft carriers, and as course marshals for the America’s Cup races.



Applications are due each year by March 1st, and are available for download here. All courses are posted, and the applicant must list their preference in priority order. If two or more Scouts from the same ship are applying, they should apply for different locations. Further questions should be directed to the National SEAL Training Coordinator, Mr. Jim Elroy here or by telephone at (805) 797-7900.


Preparing for SEAL

The Skipper’s evaluation of the candidate’s readiness for SEAL is critical. The application consists of an admonition and instructions to the Skipper regarding evaluation of the applicant. Preparation and full readiness regarding the knowledge of seamanship as set out in the Safety & Seamanship Chapter of the Sea Scout Manual and coastal piloting is absolutely essential prior to arrival at the training site. Failure to fully prepare ensures failure of this course and the waste of a valuable space for someone else that would have been able to participate.


To assist candidates' preparation, two tests are forwarded to their Skipper. The first tests the candidates knowledge on the Safety & Seamanship Chapter of the current Sea Scout Manual, the second tests their knowledge of basic coastal navigation. In the navigation test, candidates will set a course, compute speed, time and distance, compass error, a fix by two lines of position and finding latitude and longitude. These tests are used by the candidate and her Skipper to determine the candidate's readiness for SEAL. Using the results of the test, the Skipper can tell if the candidate needs help before she reports to SEAL training.

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2015-2016 National Sea Scout Boatswain

Announcement 2015-2016 National Sea Scout Boatswain                      

The National Sea Scout Support Committee announces the selection of Edward Campbellof Albion, Indiana as the 2015-2016 National Sea Scout Boatswain. His term of office is June 1, 2015 through May 31, 2016. He is a member of Ship 5111, Patriotic Pearl of the Anthony Wayne Area Council, Boy Scouts of America.

Edward will represent Sea Scouts from across the United States as the youth representative on the National Sea Scout Committee. He will report to the National Commodore and the National Director of Sea Scouts. He will serve as the liaison with the Regional Boatswains’ and other youth leaders.


Edward earned the highest award in Sea Scouts, the Quartermaster Award. During his tenure in Sea Scouts, he has served his ship as Ship Boatswain, Council Boatswain and currently serves as Central Region Area 6 Boatswain, which includes him running an annual, CR-A6, event called Spring Icebreaker. He is an Eagle Scout; earned his Venturing Silver, all five Bronze awards and the Ranger Award; he is also a Vigil Honor member of the Order of the Arrow. He served as Lodge Chief of his Order of the Arrow Lodge. He is also currently involved in a Varsity Team and serves as Captain while working on his Denali Award. He is working to earn his Venturing Quest and Trust award as well. He is also working on his finals papers for his Venturing Summit award project.


He has served Scouting, in many leadership opportunities, as well as others in the community. For ten years, he has been an active member of 4-H, completing many projects over the years. He aspires to take these leadership experiences and earn a degree in Political Science. Edward graduated a semester early from high school with his Academic Honors Diploma. During high school, outside of Scouting, he was an active member of the National Honor Society and a member of the Tennis team where he has earned the IHSAA Sportsmanship award.


He aspires to go to the Naval Academy after his year of serving as the National Boatswain. August 1st, he took on a personal challenge to sleep outdoors for 365 days, in a tarp, in an effort to raise funds to help scouts experience the program of which he has been blessed. 100% of those pledges will go to fellow scouts to help them on their Scouting journey. You too can follow his day to day challenge on Facebook;


Edward shares his reasoning for wanting to serve as the National Boatswain. His goal is to represent all youth in the program from around the country. His aspirations include expanding the program by helping to guide the formation of additional ships and expanded opportunities for all Sea Scouts. He wants to be the voice of change to help youth see what they can do through the program. He is considered an asset to the program by many who have encountered his involvement.


Join us in congratulating Edward Campbell in his selection as the

2015-2016 National Sea Scout Boatswain!

National Flagship Application Now Available

Now is the time for all ships to take stock of their past year’s program and document their accomplishments to apply for the annual National Flagship Competition.

2014 William I. Koch International Sea Scout Cup

LONG BEACH – For the fifth time in seven regattas, a California team has won the William I. Koch International Sea Scout Cup, narrowly beating the strongest field of sailors in the history of the event.