2016-sea-scout-manual-coverAre you interested in serving as a staff member at the 2017 Jamboree?

The Sea Scout National Committee is sponsoring an exhibit at the Jamboree and we need volunteers; both youth and adults. (Youth must be 16 by the time Jamboree starts.)  This is an excellent opportunity to reach thousands of Scouting youth and adults and tell them about our great program; so they can find existing Ships or form new Ships.  Your job at the Jamboree will be to man our main exhibit and provide some support to satellite areas.  Go to SeaScout.org for more information; then click this link to sign up: https://seascout.org/news/seeking-volunteers-2017-jamboree/.

On the cover of the new Sea Scout Manual, there is a picture of a Sea Scout saluting with a three-finger salute.  So are Sea Scouts supposed to use the Boy Scout Salute?

Short answer:  Yes; but it is the Scout salute.

Explanation:  There was a policy decision, by the BSA National Executive Board, in the fall of 2012, that all BSA programs would use the Scout Oath and Law; and Scouts, Venturers, and Sea Scouts would use the three-finger Scout sign and Scout salute.  The implementation of this policy was to be phased in as new materials were published.  This policy was first publicized in October of 2012 in a “Bryan on Scouting” blog.  For Sea Scouts, the change appeared May 6, 2013 in the third on-line update of the old Sea Scout Manual.  So, this isn’t new, it’s just the first time it has appeared in a printed Sea Scout Manual.

By the way:  One Sea Scout Leader says, “I like to think of the salute as being restored to us.”  The 1925 Sea Scout Manual describes the salute: “Raise the right hand smartly, the fingers held as in the Scout Sign, till the tip of the forefinger touches the brim of the hat above the right eye, or the eyebrow if uncovered, palm to the left, forearm inclined at 45 degrees, hand and wrist straight …”

The Sea Scout on the cover of the new Sea Scout Manual is wearing the New Century uniform.  I like the old uniforms; that’s what we wear at my Ship.  Can we keep wearing them?  Why was the new uniform created? 

Of course, you can keep wearing your traditional Sea Scout uniform, because that is a unit option.  Traditional Sea Scout uniforms are adapted from Navy uniforms; and details on proper wear are included on pages 19-23 in the new Sea Scout Manual.

The main reason the New Century uniform was created was to make it easy for new units starting-up to get into uniforms quickly and inexpensively; using readily available commercial garments and existing badges.  (When the Navy tightened security at their bases after the 9/11 attacks, some units began to have difficulty getting on military bases to purchase Navy garments.) With on-line orders from Dickies.com and ScoutStuff.org a new unit can be in uniform in less than two weeks.

Here’s some more info on the New Century Universal Uniform: 

Why Dickies dark navy color?  Some Sea Scouts were already using dark navy (DN) trousers and cargo shorts as part of the traditional work uniform.  Dickies makes DN trousers and shirts in the full range of sizes, for both genders; and has made that style and color since the company began 90 years ago!  This gave some assurance that Dickies would continue to make the garments we need.   Plus, existing badges, on black background, could be used for a quick transition.

Why is it called the New Century Universal Uniform?

We were entering the second century of Sea Scouting; so the name could have been Second Century; but we’re second to none!  So the name became New Century Universal UniformUniversal Uniform means it is worn by all the members of the Ship, youth and adults, male and female.

Why are uniforms such a big deal in Sea Scouts; sometimes generating lots of heated discussion on-line?

First, there a lot of opinions on how uniforms should be done in Sea Scouts.  Many of these opinions have been incorporated into the new Sea Scout Manual and are reflected in the Guide to Awards and Insignia, No. 33066.  These are the official references.  If you want to be official, follow the references.  Otherwise, as one well-respected old-hand remarked, “You’re wearing a costume, not a uniform.”

Second, Sea Scouts strive to look sharp in uniform.  As representatives of the best program in BSA, Sea Scouts want to be their best in uniform, too.

Third, looking sharp in uniform is a tradition of the Sea Services of the United States; with the Marines as the best example. Sea Scouts uphold nautical traditions; and the traditional uniforms are definitely a tradition in Sea Scouts.

Fourth, the New Century uniform is as new tradition that generated lots of discussion, partly because it is a significant change from the past.  On the other hand, it is sharp, practical, affordable, and serves the purpose; without eliminating the traditional uniforms.

Lastly, if you want to look your best in uniform, refer to the appendix on page 238 in the new Sea Scout Manual for correct insignia and stock numbers.

Why is paddlesports being included in the Sea Scout Manual?

The majority of our nation is not blessed to live by big water, but the Sea Scout program offers youth a path to great career opportunities and recreational opportunities–while encouraging them to live by the principles of the Scout Oath and Law.  By including paddlesports, we are opening our program to greater numbers of youth across the nation.  Likewise, developing partnerships with organizations involved in paddlesports will insure we have a safe, vibrant program for Sea Scouts pursuing this interest area.  You will note new elective advancement requirements, to fully incorporate paddlesports into the program.

What number should I use to order the new Sea Scout Manual?

To insure you get the new Manual, order SKU 620543. From the questions above, you’ve figured out that the cover of the new manual has a Sea Scout wearing the New Century uniform and saluting with the Scout sign. So it should be easy to pick out on the shelf at your local Scout Shop.

I saw some photos from the 2016 Sea Scouts Aboard CGC EAGLE Program.  The Sea Scouts had embroidered name strips on their New Century uniforms.  Are these name strips going to become an official part of the New Century uniform?

No, the name strips are only a temporary addition for Sea Scouts who participate in the CGC EAGLE program.  The EAGLE is a military training ship and cadet trainees wear name strips to make it easy to call them by name (and occasionally to berate them).  The Sea Scouts in this program train right alongside their cadet counterparts–doing everything from setting sails to washing dishes.  So, the Sea Scouts wear name strips, too–temporarily.

How do I apply for the 2017 Sea Scouts Aboard CGC EAGLE program?

Look for an announcement on SeaScout.org by early January.  The application form and the process will be similar to 2016; so you can look over the materials for 2016 and have a good idea of how to apply.

How can I submit a question to the Commodore’s Corner?

Send your question to: ; 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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Even with the fall season upon us, #SeaScouts can still #getonthewater

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