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In honor of the 90th anniversary of Sea Scouts in 2002, BoatUS, the nation’s largest recreational boating organization, instituted the annual Sea Scout National Flagship Award. Since then the award has been presented to ships from Texas, Ohio, Maryland, West Virginia, California, and Oregon.


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. You will find attached the Annual Sea Scout Flagship Application, Sea Scout Ship Performance outline, and the Ship’s Performance Scoresheet for the Journey to Excellence Award.


 Download the PDF version of the National Flagship Application HERE.


Make sure the ship meets the entire minimal standard on this scoresheet. If you feel that the ship qualifies, have the Sea Scouts in the ship put together a compelling packet of information that tells the judges why the ship deserves this prestigious honor. The application should include the completed scoresheet and a written narrative supplemented by other materials to support the ship’s application. Supporting material can include, but is not limited to, videos, scrapbooks, newspaper clippings, meeting minutes, letters, etc. Be comprehensive, yet concise and creative.  Please note that simply filling out the scoresheet and mailing it without supporting materials will not qualify the ship for this award.

A ship must meet the minimal national standards in all areas for a calendar year starting January 1 and ending December 31. The application is due to the National Sea Scout Office by March 31, 2014 to be considered for the National Flagship Award. The address is National Flagship Competition, Boy Scouts of America, National Sea Scout Office, SUM 250, 1325 West Walnut Hill Lane, Irving, Texas 75038. Call (972) 580-2448 for answers to your questions regarding this award.


The ship that is awarded the National Flagship honor will be allowed to wear the National Flagship patch with the current year and fly the National Flagship flag with four stars. (There are patches for the uniform and a ship’s flag available through the BSA Supply Group, which can be ordered and paid for by the winning ship.)

Download the PDF version of the National Flagship Application HERE

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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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Barque Eagle
National Boatswain

How to Start a Ship

Stuff for Sea Scouts!

Adult Resources

Sea Scout Recognition

Recognition is an important part of the Sea Scout experience.  These experiences help Sea Scouts to set realistic goals, accomplish projects, and gain knowledge and understanding of the world around them.

Sea Scout Specific


Small Boat Handler

The Small Boat Handler Course is designed for Sea Scout ships whose members are not interested in following the advancement plan leading to Quartermaster, or it can serve as a training outline for traditional ships.  Topics include:  Aids to Navigation, Rules of the Road, and Boating Safety.

Details supporting the course outlines are found in the technical sections of the Sea Scout Manual along with references to other publications listed in the bibliography.


Qualified Seaman

The Qualified Seaman Course is designed for Sea Scout ships whose members are not interested in following the advancement plan leading to Quartermaster, or it can serve as a training outline for traditional ships.  Topics include:  Aids to Navigation, Rules of the Road, Seamanship, Safety, Piloting, Charts, Safe Boating and Operating a Boat

Details supporting the course outlines are found in the technical sections of the Sea Scout Manual along with references to other publications listed in the bibliography.


Long Cruise

The Long Cruise badge may be earned by both youth and adults registered in Sea Scouts.  A Sea Scout must be Ordinary rank before he or she can start recording cruising time for the Long Cruise badge. The Sea Scout must cruise for two weeks on any vessel or boat provided by the local council or the ship, or their own vessel when authorized by an adult leader in that Sea Scout ship. Each additional long cruise earned is marked by a red arc above the badge, until five such cruises have been completed. Then a single white arc replaces them above the badge.  In the event that it is not possible to make a two-week cruise, a series of weekend or overnight cruises on any boat or ship may be made, provided that the total number equals 14 days.  An adult leader may qualify for the badge without qualifying for Ordinary rank.


USPS Finley Sea Scout Service Award

The USPS “Finley Sea Scout Service Award” recognizes thosemembers of the United States Power Squadrons who are also youth or adult Sea Scout leaders, and who have provided outstanding civic,educational, and fraternal leadership to both the Sea Scouts and theUnited States Power Squadrons, through civic involvement, educational achievement, and active participation in both programs.

USPS Finley Sea Scout Service Award Application




This award for Sea Scouts has been implemented as a part of the special activities a Sea Scout can participate in during times when they are not engaged in their nautical programs. It is designed to give programming for the ship when they are not able to get on the water, as extracurricular program.  A Sea Scout would begin with the Basic Shooter requirements. He or she chooses which discipline or disciplines they would like to participate in.

Note that they can choose to learn how to shoot more than one firearm. A special “Sea Scout Shooting Sports Medal” is being designed to be earned after a Sea Scout earns their first level, no matter what discipline they shoot. From the main medal, we would have small medal bars that would hang off of this original medal. The bar would state what the discipline is they shot and the level they are currently at. For an example, there would be 4 Bars for each discipline – i.e.: Rifle –Basic, Intermediate, Advanced, and Expert. Each discipline would have these 4 bars. The Sea Scout would only wear the bar for the highest level they have achieved. If the Sea Scout shoots all 3 disciplines, they could only have a maximum of 3 bars hanging off of their medal showing the highest level achieved for each discipline.

Sea Scout Marksmanship Program Requirements and Sea Scout Marksmanship Award Order Form 430-934_Fillable



BSA Aquatics Related

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Scuba BSA

Snorkeling BSA

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BSA Stand Up


Venturing / Sea Scout


 Venturing Bronze Award

There are five different Venturing Bronze awards: Arts and Hobbies, Outdoor, Sea Scouts, Sports, and Religious Life.  All five Bronze awards contain the common elements of experience, learning a skill, and sharing experiences and skills with others. Earning at least one Venturing Bronze Award is required for the Venturing Gold Award. The Venturing Bronze Award is designed as the first tier so you can acquire usable skills that will carry you along the trail to the Venturing Silver Award.

Select this link to the National BSA webpage for more information:

- May continue working on them until Dec. 31, 2014.
- Must start working on the new awards beginning on Jan. 1, 2015.


 Venturing Gold Award

The Venturing Gold Award was developed to recognize the significant accomplishment in a Venturer's/Sea Scouts' life as he or she has proven outstanding performance in a broad spectrum of activities. Earning it will challenge and motivate Venturers over an extended period.

This award provides a favorable image of the program among youth, parents, schools, and the community. It offers challenging and stimulating opportunities for Venturers/Sea Scouts to develop and achieve personal goals in the areas of leadership, character development, and personal fitness.

Select this link to the National BSA webpage for more information:

- May continue working on them until Dec. 31, 2014.
- Must start working on the new awards beginning on Jan. 1, 2015.


 Venturing Silver Award

The Venturing Silver Award is available to all Venturing/Sea Scout youth members of the Boy Scouts of America. Its purpose is to provide a pathway for personal development; encourage Venturers/Sea Scouts to learn, grow, and serve; and recognize the high level of achievement of Venturers/Sea Scouts who acquire skills.

Select this link to the National BSA webpage for more information:

- May continue working on them until Dec. 31, 2014.
- Must start working on the new awards beginning on Jan. 1, 2015.


 Venturing, Discovery, Pathfinder and Summit awards

Venturing Award: The first step in any journey is the courage to begin. At this level, the new crew member makes their commitment to join and move forward into the experience of Venturing.

Discovery Award: The adventure of participating with the crew unfolds, and each Venturer begins to discover his or her interests and talents. As the Discovery Award recipients develop new skills and competencies, their eyes are opened and the world expands for them.

Pathfinder Award: The Venturer’s capabilities and skills expand and with them come increased responsibility for defining their own way forward in life, service to others and formal planning and leadership of the crew toward its goals.

Summit Award: The highest award of Venturing, the Summit Award, goes to those Venturers who have matured in their personal direction, skills, and life competencies, and who have accepted the responsibility to mentor others and serve their communities in a lasting way.

- May begin working on them in May 2014.
- Current Venturers would skip the Venturing Award and begin with working on the Discovery Award (previously known by the temporary title Level II), regardless of whether they’ve earned the Bronze, Gold and/or Silver awards.
- New Venturers would begin with the Venturing Award (previously known by the temporary title Level I).
- All Venturers must begin using the new awards beginning on Jan. 1, 2015.


 Venturing Ranger Award

The Ranger Award exemplifies a challenging high-level outdoor/high-adventure skills advancement program. Once earned, it will identify a Ranger as a person who is highly skilled at a variety of outdoor sports and interests, trained in outdoor safety, and ready to lead or assist others in activities. Rangers can be a great program asset to Cub Scout packs, Boy Scout troops, and others.

Select this link to the National BSA webpage for more information:


The Quest Award

While working on the Quest Award, Venturers/Sea Scouts will be required to learn more about what makes up a nutritional diet as well as design their own personal exercise plans based upon lifestyle, fitness levels, and desires for a healthy and long life. Hopefully this program will introduce Venturers/Sea Scouts to a sport or sports that they will enjoy the rest of their life. As with many other requirements throughout the Venturing/Sea Scout program, Venturers/Sea Scouts will be required to share what they learn with others. This sharing may be done through various sports clinics and presentations with other groups. In the electives section, Venturers/Sea Scouts will be required to choose at least one sport in which to become proficient.

Select this link to the Naional BSA webpage for more information:


 TRUST: Religious & Community Life Award

While working on the TRUST award, Venturers/Sea Scouts will learn more about themselves, their communities, their religion and culture, as well as those of others. As with many other requirements throughout the Venturing Program, Venturers/Sea Scouts will be required to share what they learn with others.

Select this link to the National BSA webpage for more information:



Leadership Recognition

Venturing & Sea Scout Leadership Awards (BSA Official) - The Venturing and Sea Scout Leadership Award is presented by councils, areas, regions, and the BSA National Council to Venturers and Sea Scouts who have made exceptional contributions to Venturing and Sea Scouts and who exemplify the Venturing Code, Venturing Oath, and Sea Promise.  

National Youth Leadership Society - The National Youth Leadership Society recognizes youth members of the BSA who have learned and practiced outstanding leadership skills—the elite of our program.  We want these youths, who have worked so hard at learning and leading, to enjoy a form of recognition that other organizations, such as schools, colleges, employers, and the military, can understand and value.  Youths inducted into this National Youth Leadership Society may now receive the recognition they deserve in a more tangible way.