Ordinary Sea Scout Rank emblem

Ordinary Sea Scout


Requirements were REVISED effective October 19, 2015.

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Deleted portions are struck through RED italic text like this sentence.

To see the requirements, without the changes highlighted, Click here.

For the previous requirements, Click here.


These new requirements took effect immediately upon their release on October 19, 2015. Current Sea Scouts had until May 2017 to complete a rank under the old requirements. The old advancement requirements were retired in May of 2017.


  1. Ideals
    1. Explain the symbolism of the Sea Scout emblem.
    2. Give a brief oral history of the U.S. flag.
    3. Demonstrate how to fly, hoist, lower, fold, display and salute the U.S. flag. Explain flag etiquette and protocols for both land and sea.
    4. Discuss with an adult leader how you live the Scout Oath and Law in your daily life.
  2. Active Membership
    1. Attend at least 75 percent of Meet your ship’s bylaws requirement for active participation in your ship's meetings and activities for six three months. Note: Check with your ship's yeoman.
    2. Do one of the following. Recruit a new member for your ship and follow through until the new member is registered and formally admitted with an admissions ceremony, or assist in planning and carrying out a ship recruiting activity, such as an open house or joint activity with a youth group or organization (another Sea Scout ship will not count).
  3. Leadership
    1. Participate in the BSA’s Introduction to Leadership Skills for Ships (ILSS) course.
    2. a. Complete quarterdeck training, either as an officer or as a prospective officer.
    3. b. Serve as an activity chair for a major ship event. Responsibilities should include planning, directing, and evaluating the event.
  4. Swimming
  5. Safety
    1. Discuss BSA Safety Afloat with an adult leader.
    2. Describe the safety equipment required by law for your ship's primary vessel.
    3. Develop a ship's station bill for your ship and review it with an adult leader.
    4. Plan and practice the following drills: man overboard, fire, and abandon ship.
    5. Describe three types of equipment used in marine communications.
    6.  Demonstrate your knowledge of correct maritime radio telephone communications procedures by making at least three calls to another vessel, marinas, bridges, or locks.
    7. Galley
      1. Before an activity, submit a menu that uses cooked and uncooked dishes, a list of provisions, and estimated costs for a day's meal (breakfast, lunch, and dinner). Once the provision list is approved, help obtain the items on the list.
      2. Explain the use of charcoal, pressurized alcohol, and propane. Include safety precautions for each.
      3. Prepare breakfast, lunch, and dinner while on the activity. Demonstrate your ability to properly use the galley equipment or personal cooking gear generally used by your ship.
      4. Demonstrate appropriate sanitation techniques for food preparation and meal cleanup.
  6. Marlinspike Seamanship
    1. Name the various materials used to manufacture rope, the advantages and disadvantages of each, and the characteristics of laid and braided rope. Discuss the meaning of lay, thread, strand, and hawser. Explain how rope is sized and measured.
    2. Using both large and small lines, tie and explain the use of the following knots: stevedore's knot, French (double) bowline, bowline on a bight, timber hitch, rolling hitch, marline hitch, trucker's hitch, and midshipman's (taut-line) hitch.
    3. Demonstrate your ability to secure a line to pilings, bitts, cleats, and rings, and to coil, flake, and flemish a line.
    4. Demonstrate how to cut and heat-seal a synthetic line and whip the end of plain-laid line using waxed cord or similar material.
  7. Boat Handling
    1. a. Name the principal parts of a typical sailboat and a runabout.
    2. b. Name the principal parts of the masts, booms, spars, standing and running rigging, and sails of a gaff or Marconi-rigged sloop, schooner, and ketch or yawl.
    3. c. Describe the identifying characteristics of a sloop, ketch, yawl, cutter, and schooner.
    4. d. Demonstrate your ability to handle a rowboat vessel with paddles or oars by doing the following:
      Safely board a rowboat and row in a straight line for a quarter mile 200 yards, stop, make a pivot turn, return to the starting point and backwater in a straight line for 50 yards/meters. Make a turn and return to the starting point.
      or
      Safely board a canoe, kayak, or paddleboard and paddle a straight line for 200 yards, stop, pivot, return to the starting point, and backwater in a straight line for 50 yards/meters. Make a turn and return to the starting point. Demonstrate a draw stroke to move the boat sideways both right and left, and forward and reverse sweeps to spin the boat both clockwise and counter.
  8. Anchoring Ground Tackle
    1. Name the parts of a stock anchor and a stockless anchor.
    2. Describe five types of anchors. Describe how each type holds the bottom, the kind of bottom in which it holds best, and the advantages or disadvantages of each type.
    3. Calculate the amount of anchor rode necessary for your ship's primary vessel in the following depths: 10, 20, and 30 feet in normal and storm conditions.
    4. Demonstrate the ability to set and weigh anchor.
  9. Navigation Rules
    1. Explain the purpose of Navigation Rules, International and Inland.
    2. Know the general "Rule of Responsibility":
    3. Define stand-on and give-way vessels for the following situations: meeting, crossing, and overtaking for both power and sailing vessels.
    4. Explain "Responsibility Between Vessels" (vessel priority).
    5. Explain the navigation lights required for power-driven and sailing vessels underway. Explain what is required for a vessel under oars. Describe the lighting requirements for paddlecraft. Explain why carrying a sound producing device like a whistle is important when operating a paddlecraft.
    6. Describe the sound signals for maneuvering, warning, and restricted visibility.
  10. Piloting and Navigation
    1. Demonstrate your understanding of latitude and longitude. Using a Mercator chart, demonstrate that you can locate your position from given coordinates and determine the coordinates of at least five aids to navigation.
    2. Explain the degree system of compass direction. Explain variation and deviation and how they are used to convert between true headings and bearings to compass headings and bearings.
    3. Describe three kinds of devices used aboard ship for measuring speed and/or distance traveled and, if possible, demonstrate their use.
    4. Explain the 24-hour time system and demonstrate that you can convert between 12- and 24-hour time.
    5. d. Understand Universal Coordinated Time (Greenwich Mean Time or Zulu Time) and zone time. Demonstrate your ability to convert from one to the other for your local area.
    6. e. Explain the 24-hour time system and demonstrate that you can convert between 12- and 24-hour time.
    7. Make a dead reckoning table of compass and distances (minimum three legs) between two points, plot these on a chart, and determine the final position.
      Note: Ideally this requirement should be met while underway. If this is not possible, it may be simulated using charts.
    8. Discuss how a GPS works. Explain possible uses and functions including different screen views. Use a GPS to set a waypoint and navigate to the waypoint you have set.
  11. Practical Deck Seamanship
    1. Name the seven watches and explain bell time.
    2. Explain the duties of a lookout and demonstrate how to report objects in view and wind directions with respect to the vessel.
    3. Name relative bearings expressed in degrees.
    4. While underway, serve as a lookout for one watch two hours total. When boating in a manually propelled craft, boating alone or as a bow paddler for a tandem craft will meet this requirement..
    5. Demonstrate the use of wheel or helm commands found in the Sea Scout Manual.
    6. Supervise and contribute Describe the deck log kept aboard your ship’s principal craft. Contribute for two hours total. When boating in a manually propelled craft, boating alone or as a bow paddler for a tandem craft will meet this requirement. to the cruise log for three days of cruising (one cruise or a combination of day cruises). Submit the cruise logs to your Skipper.
  12. Environment
      Discuss with an adult leader the Federal Water Pollution Control Act as related to oil discharges. Explain what a "Discharge of Oil Prohibited" placard is and find it aboard your ship's vessels.
  13. Cruising
    1. Plan Help plan and participate in an overnight cruise in an approved craft under leadership that lasts a minimum of 36 hours.
    2. While on the cruise, perform the duties of a helmsman for at least 30 minutes. . If underway in a paddlecraft, paddling independently or as a stern paddler/steersman will meet this requirement.
  14. Boating Safety Course
      Successfully complete a boating safety course approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) offered by one of the following agencies: a state boating agency, the United States Power Squadrons, the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary, or other private or military education courses.
  15. Service
    1. As an Apprentice, log Log at least 16 8 hours of work on ship equipment, projects, or activities other than regular ship meetings, parties, dances, or fun events.
      Note: Arrange for this work through the ship's officers.
    2. Participate with your ship for at least 8 hours in community service projects.
  16. Electives: Do any three of the following:
    Choose any three electives from the options listed following Quartermaster rank requirements.
    Click Here to see the list of electives.
    1. Drill: Demonstrate your ability to execute commands in close-order drill.
    2. Yacht Racing: Describe the procedures used in yacht racing and the signals used by the race committee to start a race. Serve as a crew member in a race sailed under current International Sailing Federation Rules.
    3. Sailing: In a cat-rigged or similar small vessel, demonstrate your ability to sail single-handedly a triangular course (leeward, windward, and reaching marks). Demonstrate beating, reaching, and running. A qualified sailing instructor should observe this requirement.
    4. Ornamental Ropework: Make a three-strand Turk's head and a three-strand monkey's fist. Using either ornamental knot, make up a heaving line.
    5. Engines: Perform routine maintenance on your ship's propulsion system, including filter, spark plug, oil changes, proper fueling procedures and other routine maintenance tasks. Refer to operations manuals or your ship's adult leaders for correct procedures and guidance.
    6. USPS: Join a local Power Squadron as an Apprentice member.
    7. Boatswain Call: Demonstrate your ability to use a boatswain's pipe by making the following calls - word to be passed, boat call, veer, all hands, pipe down, and piping the side.

Reference materials such as U.S. Coast Guard navigation rules, International Sailing Federation Rules, OSHA requirements, International Code of Signals, and some others change frequently. They should be available in your ship's library. They are not reprinted in the Sea Scout Manual.

For more details on Sea Scouting,
including References, and Web References for the requirements shown above,
see the official Sea Scouting Web Site, at http://www.seascout.org

Source: Sea Scout Advancement, FINAL, 19 Oct.2015.pdf and Sea Scout Manual (#33239 - 2016 Edition - SKU 620543)


Page updated on: December 02, 2017



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