Hello everyone – it’s my pleasure to let you know that we’ve updated the Sea Scout advancement requirements to better accommodate paddle craft. The 2016 revision initially added paddle craft options, resulting in paddle craft becoming so popular that now 25% of all Sea Scout ships claim paddle craft as their primary focus.

Last year, a group of adult leaders with a great deal of paddle craft experience proposed that some improvements to better match the unique needs of paddling ships, and to complete the set of skills and experiences for a Scout choosing to advance in a paddle craft ship. They put together a very thoughtful and comprehensive proposal, which was approved and is now ready to go. These changes will be welcome in paddle craft ships, and will be beneficial for ships who focus mainly on small sailboats as well.

New and Updated Advancement Requirements

These requirements changes should not disrupt Scouts already working on advancement – they represent additional alternatives to existing requirements. Any Scout who has completed a rank has completed it. There is no reason to go back and redo. Any Scout who has completed a requirement need not go back and redo. However, any Scout who has not yet completed a rank that adds requirements will need to complete the additional requirements. There are only a few additions, these are:

  • Apprentice 1e adds personal safety awareness – this is a youth protection training for youth. An age-appropriate version of this is being required of all youth in BSA.
  • Apprentice 5e introduces Vessel Safety Checks for all Sea Scouts.
  • Ordinary 5g requires proficiency with whatever communication devices your ship uses (this will be the VHF radio from 5f most times)
  • Ordinary 12c learn how to apply “leave no trace” on the water.
  • Ordinary 14b learn how to check river levels.

Effective Date for New Requirements

The new requirements will take effect on February 21st, 2022. After that date, any rank completions should use the revised requirements. Skippers can, at their discretion, allow a Scout who is very close to completing a rank to wait up to 60 days to switch requirements if they believe switching will represent an issue for that Scout.

I am attaching a document showing the changes and the rationale. The Sea Scout manual and Advancement Central on seascout.org will be updated shortly. Scoutbook updates for this should follow very shortly as well.

Opportunities for Sea Scouts

Let me also remind you that several opportunities are presently available:

  • First, applications are still open for Territory Boatswain for next year. This year’s quarterdeck has been amazing, and I’m looking forward to meeting their successors. Apply here – Due March 15th.
  • Next, it’s time to apply to sail on the Coast Guard Barque Eagle. This is an incredible opportunity for a Sea Scout to cruise for a week on a tall ship. Applications here – due March 31st.
  • It is also time to nominate worthy individuals for the Territory or National Sea Scout Leadership Awards. Anyone can nominate someone, so please fill out this application – due March 1st (use that same form to nominate someone at the council level, but the due date for those varies by council).
  • And finally, it is time to apply for National Flagship. That application is available here – please consider whether your ship should apply!

Fair winds,
T.W. Cook, National Commodore

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