Is there an index of changes to the new Sea Scout Manual?

There were so many changes to the new Sea Scout Manual–from correcting typos to whole new sections–that we didn’t make a list of them all.  Here are the significant changes and additions in the 2016 Sea Scout Manual:

  • Quarterdeck training is defined and described
  • A completely new section on paddlecraft
  • Advancement: electives expanded and organized by tracks, new paddlecraft alternatives for some advancement requirements, trucker’s hitch added as a knot requirement for Ordinary Rank
  • Media Specialist added as a youth officer position
  • Uniform section reorganized and simplified
  • Official Sea Scout Uniform Insignia with BSA Supply stock numbers added to the appendix
  • Sea Scout Marksmanship Award requirements added to the appendix

Why was the trucker’s hitch added to the knot requirements? 

The trucker’s hitch is a very useful knot for securing small craft to trailers or vehicles, and for other uses aboard ship and ashore.

In the new Sea Scout Manual 2016, page 246, they show that the Diamond and Oval patches/insignia (for commodore and such) have been discontinued, but a recent online fact sheet showed Sea Scout leader flags with the diamond/oval insignia.  Was that an oversight or are the diamond/oval insignia only for leader flags?
The only official use of the diamond/oval insignia is on leader flags.  The following note is “in the fine print” right below the pictures of the heraldry leader flags in the Fact Sheet“Prestige Flag Co. is authorized to include the diamond or oval surrounding the Sea Scout Logo on Leader Flags. This is the only place this historic heraldry has been officially retained for use in the Sea Scout Program.”

The diamond/oval insignia for uniform wear have not been official for decades (although some Ships do continue to wear them based on a unit tradition; but such use is unofficial).

Is there any plan to update the online advancement reporting to include the Sea Scout marksmanship program?

The Sea Scout marksmanship program is not part of the rank advancement system; so it is handled separately from the BSA advancement tracking systems, whether paper or online.  This is similar to other non-advancement recognitions such as “Mile Swim.”  The Sea Scout marksmanship award is a popular proficiency recognition program; and it makes for a great off-season Ship activity.

skipper-of-merit-badgeWe are excited that Skipper has been added to the Unit Leader Award of Merit, and we saw the 2016 edition of the nomination form that includes skippers. When should we start using that form, and when do our councils order the new badges, No. 635892?  Picture of new patch?

You may start using the 2016 edition of the nomination form for Unit Leader Award of Merit immediately.  The new Skipper of Merit badge of office should be available through your local Scout Shop or very soon.

Is there a central location where we can find online, all the current BSA requirements for operating boats?  (One central location for insurance requirements, Sea Scout Safe Boating/Sailing Standards, and other documents.)

Great idea.  The National Sea Scout Support Committee is already planning to do a review/update of these safety issues; and do a better job of publicizing the results. Watch for this topic on in the coming months.  In the meantime, you can go to the Ship Management Resource Center at:

Find the Fact Sheet on Liability Insurance at:

And, the safety standards at:

Safety tip – BSA has produced safety incident reviews that may be helpful in preventing accidents, injuries, and deaths.  Check out this link to find lessons from some real on-the-water incidents.  The cases may send shivers down your spine; but your newfound knowledge may prevent a t
ragedy at your Ship.

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