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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.

Sea Scout Experience Advanced Leadership Training (SEAL)
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Makai Honored - 2013 National Sea Scout Flagship 


IRVING, TX - Sea Scout Ship 700, SSS Makai of San Leandro, California, San Francisco Bay Area Council has been selected as the 2013 National Flagship by the National Seas Scout Support Committee (“NSSSC”) of the Boy Scouts of America. 2013 is the beginning of the second century of the Sea Scout program, which provides nautical programs to more than 6,500 Sea Scouts throughout the U.S.
BoatUS and Sea Scouts, BSA recognizes the Makai is chartered by Bigham-Taylor Roofing Company. The award was created by BoatUS in 2002 to mark the 90th anniversary of Sea Scouts. It is presented in recognition of excellence in program quality, youth achievement, and adult commitment; attributes reflected by the Makai in its exemplary programs of seamanship and youth development. The Makai was part of the 2012 National Flagship Fleet.

The Ship’s quarterdeck and Skipper completed a full application and provided support through written summary of their accomplishments and activities they participated in during this past year. The Ship’s Boatswain Nick Rojos comments, “Makai is much more than a Sea Scout Ship, we’re a group of determined young men who want to work hard for regattas and enjoy our cruises to the fullest … I am proud to lead these young men and I’m even more proud of the Makai that I call my second family.” The crew works hard and plays hard learning to maintain their boat, learning new skills, and competing in a wide array of events. A few highlights of their activities include:

    • Achieved the Gold level 2012 Journey to Excellence national award with a perfect score
    • 82.6 % of youth members advanced in rank, or advanced during the year
    • 38% of youth members achieved Ordinary Sea Scout rank or higher
    • The crew participated in 42 days of on-the-water activities during the year (Total engine run time 110 hours 13 minutes, including a 17 day Long Cruise)
    • 15 community unit service projects including such as landscaping at a community church, Scouting for Food, and maintenance at various marinas
    • Sent a youth member to Sea Scout Advanced Leadership training (“SEAL”) in Miami, FL
    • Competed in 4 Regional Regattas (taking a top class rating at 3 of them); attended 5 fleet training and social activities; conducted 5 leadership training courses; participated in many more active meetings and months of events too numerous to mention for a total of 188 days of Sea Scout activities during the year
    • Had a youth member appointed as the Western Region Area 3 Boatswain
    • Acquired and rigged a new primary vessel in less than 2 months
    • Recruited 9 new youth members during the year bringing their total to 23 and recruited 5 new adult members during the year bringing their total to 13
    • 14 of their Crew and 13 of their adults earned the Sea Scout Centennial Gold Award pin

A heartfelt congratulation goes to Ship Boatswain Nick Rojos, Skipper Robert Karn, Executive Officer Mr. Kevin Trujillo, and the dedicated S.S.S. Makai crew and adult volunteers. The Makai’s name will be inscribed on a perpetual trophy now on display at the National Scouting Museum in Irving, Texas. An identical trophy will be presented to the ship’s leadership.

Join us in saluting Ship 700, SSS Makai for their outstanding efforts. We wish them well in continuing to promote water safety and provide a quality Sea Scout program to the youth in their area.

For more information about the S.S.S. Makai, visit their website:

[Download the 2013 National Flagship Makai Announcement here.]