Commodore’s Corner- April 2019

Safety Notice – LED lighting systems can interfere with VHF radio operation

From time to time, the Coast Guard issues safety notices to the boating public.  Learn more about the potential for radio interference from Light Emitting Diode (LED) systems from the USCG Marine Safety Alert.

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Is there any format or program for an active Maritime Explorer Club including the initial set up of the club? 

Explorer clubs are a part of the broader Explorer program; and serve youth who are in middle school.  Some BSA Councils use Maritime Explorer Clubs as a feeder program for Sea Scouts; with the youth transitioning as they graduate from eighth grade.  The clubs may be affiliated with one or more Sea Scout Ships (units).
There is a great deal of flexibility in the Explorer Club program and Councils, adult leaders, and youth may structure a program that aligns with local resources and interests.  Representatives from some of the earliest Maritime Explorer Clubs have provided some guidelines at seascout.org/maritime-explorer-club.

How’s it going with the Sea Scout partnership with the Coast Guard Auxiliary?

The Coast Guard Auxiliary signed an agreement with the Sea Scouts last August to designate Sea Scouting as its official youth leadership development program. On March 1st, the Coast Guard Headquarters issued instructions to the two pilot Auxiliary districts (5th Southern – MD-DC-VA-NC; and 9th Eastern – upstate NY-northwest PA-northeast OH) on how to implement the agreement. Since then these two districts have been working closely with local Sea Scout leaders to explore the best ways to work together.

In the two months since we began working with the Coast Guard Auxiliary, their Flotillas are beginning to start new Sea Scout Ships, and exciting new opportunities are being offered to our Sea Scouts. Many of the flotillas are offering seamanship and navigation training to local Ships, and Safety at Sea events are being planned for Cleveland, Buffalo, and Baltimore.

The pilot rollout is scheduled to wrap up at the end of August, and we’re hoping to see a nationwide rollout this fall. In the meantime local Sea Scout leaders can be reaching out to local Auxiliary flotillas to invite them to Ship meetings and generally introduce themselves. For more information, go to the Auxiliary partnerships page on the Sea Scouts BSA website atseascout.org/cgaux.

The last major revision to Sea Scouts, BSA advancement requirements incorporated paddle craft electives.  What future electives may be incorporated for scuba-focused programs?

There is already an elective for becoming a certified scuba diver (Page 60 of the Sea Scout Manual–Specialty Proficiency, level 3.)  Going forward, the Sea Scout program will continuously review advancement requirements with an eye toward providing additional electives; while preserving the core requirements that align with the ideals contained in the Sea Promise and the tradition of seamanship. 

Has anyone else run into resistance from other units toward Sea Scouts?  I have repeatedly had issues from other units thinking we are out to “steal” “their” youth; even to the point of denying a Troop leadership position to a youth who was dual-registered in a Troop and a Ship.

This concern is not uncommon.  As youth mature in the Scouts BSA program, they often seek additional high-adventure activities that may not be available at their Troop level.  The Venturing and Sea Scout programs fill this need.  Many of these same youth remain affiliated with their Troop through dual-registration, mentorship, participation in Eagle service projects, or other activities.  Thoughtful leaders, both volunteer and professional, see the co-ed senior programs of Venturing and Sea Scouts as retaining youth who may have otherwise drifted away from BSA, typically following attainment of Eagle rank, or as their interests change.  This is a strong “talking point” when encountering resistance from hesitant Scouters.  Another point is that about 25% of Sea Scouts are dual-registered; so many Scouts do remain attached to their home Troop.  The percentage of dual registration is likely to rise as more young women participate in Scouts BSA.

Are metal collar pins authorized for wear on The Official Sea Scout Uniform?

No; legacy collar pins are not worn on The Official Sea Scout Uniform.  The collar pins, also called “collar devices” or “collar brass,” were part of the legacy khaki adult work uniform only. 

To recognize positions in Sea Scouts, there is a set of round badges-of-office for wear on The Official Sea Scout Uniform.  These badges and other insignia authorized for wear on The Official Sea Scout Uniform are shown in the Guide to Insignia.

Can we get more round badges-of-office for the Sea Scout program?

The set of round badges-of-office for Sea Scouts is generally aligned with those of the other BSA programs; and the set even includes a few badges-of-office unique to Sea Scouts. Since there is parity with the other BSA programs, it is unlikely that we will see additional Sea Scout badges-of-office; other than for newly created positions such as the relatively recent Chaplain Aide badge-of-office.  

Many Sea Scout youth members and adult leaders wear nameplates (name tags) above the right pocket.  The second line of the nameplate may be used to describe an individual’s role.  For example:  A Sea Scout or adult leader may be a Regional Committee member (badge-of-office No. 633348); their name plate could indicate a specific role such as “Regional Boatswain’s Mate” or “Vice Commodore – Membership.”

You can submit your question to the Commodore’s Corner at   commodorescorner@seascout.org; or click here. We’ll answer the most frequent or urgent questions in a future edition of the Commodore’s Corner.

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