Coast Guard Auxiliary – Sea Scout Partnership
In August 2018, an agreement between United States Coast Guard Auxiliary and the Boy Scouts of America made Sea Scouts the official youth program of the Coast Guard Auxiliary. The Coast Guard Auxiliary is the uniformed volunteer component of the United States Coast Guard. Since 1939 the Auxiliary has supported the Coast Guard in nearly all of the service’s missions. This partnership will give Sea Scouts an opportunity to benefit from Coast Guard seamanship and vocational training, while introducing Sea Scouts to the Coast Guard.
In March 2019, the Auxiliary Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) document (see below) has been signed, activating the program. The Auxiliary will begin with a pilot program in the 5th Southern and 9th Eastern districts including all of the opportunities discussed in the SOP. The program will be rolled out to the rest of the Auxiliary districts later. Until that time, there are still a multitude of opportunities for collaboration between the Auxiliary and Sea Scouts in all parts of the country. Check back regularly for more information and resources to put the agreement into use.
Key points regarding the MOA and the AUXSCOUT SOP
- The two big changes called for in the MOA are: (a) Sea Scouts who are least 14 years old will be able to apply for Auxiliary membership; and (b) local Auxiliary flotillas and divisions are encouraged to charter Sea Scout Ships.
- The initial Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) implementation of these and other changes is in Coast Guard Auxiliary districts 5th Southern (MD-DC-VA-NC) and 9th Eastern (upstate NY-northwest PA-northeast OH) only. Coast Guard headquarters wanted this initial test in just two districts to shake out the bugs so that the fuller implementation later this year will go smoothly. Auxiliarists in those two pilot districts will be briefed in the next couple of weeks and will be ready to work with Sea Scout leaders shortly thereafter.
- There is no general rollout of Sea Scout information to the other 14 Auxiliary districts yet. While most Auxiliarists have heard about the Sea Scout initiative, Auxiliarists outside of 5th Southern and 9th Eastern are probably not very familiar with the specifics.
- Sea Scout leaders in the areas covered by the SOP are strongly encouraged to reach out to their Auxiliary counterparts and explore how they can work with them. The coordinator for 5th Southern is Bruce Johnson, and for 9th Eastern is Gene Little.
- Sea Scout leaders in all other areas should feel free to reach out to their Auxiliary counterparts to introduce themselves and invite the Auxiliary to attend local Sea Scout meetings and activities. All Auxiliarists are already authorized to provide public education, vessel safety checks, and public affairs support, but this may not be widely understood.
- It is very important to remember that “A Scout is Friendly.” This is a new world for the Coast Guard Auxiliary, which has never made this sort of commitment in the past. Reaching out in a friendly way will definitely have the best results in the long run. Don’t make demands. Look for ways to work together. This could mean helping to staff a boating safety booth at a boat show or participating in a joint shoreline clean-up at the local beach.