Sea Scout Advancement Electives

Requirements were REVISED effective October 19, 2015.

The previous listing of electives was arranged by levels 1, 2, and 3, then by topic. The current listing, below, is arranged by topic, then by level.

The requirements for the Ordinary, Able, and Quartermaster Sea Scout ranks each have a requirement that the candidate complete a number of Elective requirements. Prior to the current set of requirements, the electives appeared at the end of the requirements for those ranks, and were specific to those ranks. The current set of electives are listed separately in the Sea Scout Manual, following the requirements for the Quartermaster Rank. There are three levels which have been designated for the electives. Candidates for the Ordinary rank may select any electives in any of the levels. Candidates for the Able rank may select from electives in levels 2 and 3, and Quartermaster candidates may select only from level 3.The levels are shown in the first column of the tables below.

Rank Requirement
Ordinary: Choose any three electives.
Able: Choose any four additional electives, level 2 or higher.
Quartermaster: Choose any four additional electives, level 3 only.
  • Leadership

    2 Attend National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT).
    2 Attend NYLT Leadership Academy.
    3 Attend National Advanced Youth Leadership Training (NAYLE).
    3 Attend a Kodiak Challenge.
    3 Attend SEAL (can only be counted if SEAL was not used for your Quartermaster Cruise requirement).
    3 Attend Wood Badge (youth 18 and over).
    3 Attend Leadership Challenge at Philmont or the Summit (youth 18 and over).
    3 Attend Seabadge (youth 18 and over).

  • Duty to God

    1 Participate in two appropriate interfaith religious services during ship outings
    2 Plan and conduct two appropriate interfaith religious services during ship outings
    3 Complete the requirements for the religious emblem of your faith. (Refer to the Duty to God brochure, No. 512-879.)

  • Sailing

    1 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.
    2 While leading a crew of not less than two other persons, demonstrate your ability to sail a sloop or another suitable vessel correctly and safely over a triangular course (leeward, windward, and reaching marks), demonstrating beating, reaching, running, and the proper commands.
    3 Know the principles of handling a schooner, ketch, yawl, or other suitable sailing vessel. Under competent oversight, take charge of a crew and demonstrate your ability to handle a suitable sailing vessel in all points of sail

  • Paddlecraft

    1 Join the American Canoe Association (ACA) or an ACA Paddle America Club
    2 Complete the requirements for one of the following: Boardsailing BSA, Kayaking BSA,or Stand Up Paddling BSA award, or the Kayaking, Whitewater, or Canoeing merit badge.
    (Note: This must be a different activity from the one chosen under level 1 electives – Specialty Proficiency.)
    2 Take a course from an ACA certified instructor or an equivalent, ie: State- certified paddling instructor
    2 Compete in a freestyle, downriver, flatwater, or slalom paddling race in a canoe, kayak, or stand up paddleboard (SUP) using nationally accepted rules.
    2 Successfully complete an ACA level 1 or higher assessment in canoe, kayak, or SUP.
    2 Complete an ACA level 3 or higher swiftwater rescue course.
    2 Earn ACA instructor certification in canoe, kayak, or SUP at any level.
    3 Complete the SmartStart for Paddlers course. Conduct a watercraft safety class for your ship using Paddle Smart America materials. Identify sources of safety brochures and other materials that could be used by your ship and distribute to troops in your area or your chartered organization


    2 Complete an Open Water Diver course from NAUI, PADI, or any other Recreational Scuba Training Council Certification Agency
    2 Plan and coordinate a public service event such as underwater trash cleanup, coral reforestation project, or invasive species reduction project.
    2 Complete an Advanced Diver course from any RSTC agency.
    3 Complete a DAN Oxygen Administration Course
    3 Maintain a dive logbook (either electronic with backup or paper) to record a minimum of 25 dives after receiving basic Open Water Diving Certification
    3 Take an additional certification course such as VIP process, tank filler/ compressor operations, night diving, underwater navigation, underwater archaeology, underwater photography. Each course may be counted as an elective
    3 Complete a Rescue Course from any RSTC agency.
    3 Become a certified Dive Master, Assistant Instructor or Instructor. Each certification may be counted as an elective. (Must be over 18 and log at least 50 dives.)

  • Vessels

    1 Teach and lead a crew under oar using a boat pulling at least four oars single- or double-banked. Perform the following maneuvers: get underway, maneuver ahead and back, turn the boat in its own length, dock, and secure
    3 Teach and lead a crew under oar using a boat pulling at least four oars single- or double-banked. Perform the following maneuvers: get underway, maneuver ahead and back: turn the boat in its own length, dock, and secure
    3 Obtain a US Coast Guard OUPV (Operator of Uninspected Passenger Vessels) boat operator license. (Must be over 18 to take test but can collect Sea Service time before 18.)

  • Sail Racing

    1 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
    i) Demonstrate your understanding of the shapes, flag hoists, gun, and horn signals used in yacht racing as well as a working knowledge of the racing rules of the International Sailing Federation (ISAF).
    ii) Serve as helmsman, with one or more additional crew members, of a sloop- rigged or other suitable boat with a spinnaker in a race sailed under ISAF racing rules.
    3 Take charge of a crew in a race using current ISAF racing rules

  • Engines

    1 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
    i) Understand the safe and proper procedures for the use of gasoline and diesel inboard engines, including fueling, pre-start checks, ventilation, starting, running, periodic checks while running, securing, postoperative checks, and keeping an engine log.
    ii) Using the type of engine aboard the vessel you most frequently use, demonstrate your understanding of basic troubleshooting and the preventive maintenance schedule recommended by the manufacturer.
    i) Explain the principal features of steam turbine, turboelectric, direct reversing diesel, diesel-electric, gas turbine, nuclear, gasoline, and diesel engines and the relative advantages of each type.
    ii) Explain the operation of spark ignition and compression ignition for internal combustion engines used aboard small vessels.
    ii) Demonstrate your familiarity with the engine aboard the vessel used by your ship, including its principles of operation, fuel, lubrication, cooling and electrical systems, and their component parts
    iv) Demonstrate your ability to locate and correct minor engine troubles according to the engine manufacturer&#;s troubleshooting guide.

  • Vessel Maintenance

    2 Demonstrate your proficiency and knowledge of fiberglass repair and gel coating while working on your ship&#;s vessel or other similar vessel.
    2 Demonstrate your knowledge of small paddlecraft construction by building your own or assisting in building a canoe or kayak from wood, fiberglass, or other suitable materials. Kits may be used
    3 Take charge of reconditioning or overhauling at least one of your ship&#;s vessels, or take charge of hauling out the principal vessel used by your ship. In either case, lay out a plan of the work to be done in advance, including an estimate of the materials, tools, cost, and time involved.
    3 Take charge of building a paddlecraft. Lay out the plan of work to be done; identify suitable building plans; and estimate materials, tools, cost, and time involved. Launch the craft.
    i) Know and demonstrate the correct method of rescuing a person in contact with a live wire
    ii) Understand the construction of simple battery cells. Demonstrate the proper care of storage batteries
    iii) Explain the difference between direct current and alternating current and the best uses for each.
    iv) Demonstrate that you know how to replace fuses, reset circuit breakers, and properly splice shipboard electric cable.
    v) Submit a diagram of the electrical system aboard the vessel used by your ship
    vi) Explain wire tables, the current-carrying capacity of circuits, and the hazards and prevention of electrical overloading.
    vii) Explain electrolysis as applied to the deterioration of a boat&#;s underwater fittings by galvanic action and its prevention
    3 Rigging: Demonstrate your ability to splice and handle wire rope, attach wire rope fittings, and complete a safety and tuning inspection of a vessel

  • Specialty Proficiency

    2 Complete the requirements for one of the following: Boardsailing BSA, Kayaking BSA, or Stand Up Paddleboarding BSA award, Mile Swim BSA, Whitewater Rafting BSA, SCUBA BSA, or Snorkeling BSA award or the Kayaking, Whitewater, or Canoeing merit badge. (Note: This must be a different activity from the one chosen under level 1 electives–Paddlecraft.)
    2 Complete the National Safe Boating Council course Boat Control On-Water Training
    3 Become proficient in boardsailing, surfing, kayaking, or whitewater rafting/canoeing
    3 Teach another Sea Scout the information needed to complete the Scouts BSA Kayaking, Canoeing, or Whitewater merit badge, or the Kayaking BSA, Stand Up Paddleboarding BSA, or Boardsailing BSA award
    3 Attend Powder Horn (youth 14 and over

  • Ornamental Ropework

    1 Make a three-strand Turk&#;s head and a three-strand monkey&#;s fist. Using either ornamental knot, make up a heaving line
    2 Demonstrate your ability to fashion the following items of ornamental ropework: fourstrand Turk&#;s head, coach whipping, cockscombing, round braid, flat sennit braid, wall knot, and crown knot. Make a useful item such as a boatswain&#;s lanyard, rigging knife lanyard, bell rope, etc., or decorate a portion of your ship&#;s equipment such as a stanchion, rail, lifeline, tiller, etc.

  • Maritime Tradition

    1 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.
    1 Drill: Demonstrate your ability to execute commands in close order drill
    2 Maritime History: Describe the highlights of maritime history from the earliest times to the present. Include the evolution of vessel construction and propulsion, important voyages of exploration and development, the origin of maritime traditions, and the achievements of notable maritime leaders in U.S. sea history
    2 Drill: Demonstrate your ability to give and execute commands in close- order drill.
    Celestial Navigation
    i) Explain how the sextant works. Show how to use it and demonstrate measuring horizontal angles and altitudes
    ii) Find latitude by the altitude of Polaris or by the sun&#;s altitude at local apparent noon.
    Demonstrate how longitude is determined
    iii) Demonstrate finding error in the boat&#;s compass by the sun&#;s azimuth
    3 Drill: Demonstrate your ability to handle the ship&#;s company in close-order drill. Do all required maneuvers
    3 Communication: Draw the International Code flags and pennants from memory and give the single-letter meanings of the flags (for example, Alfa = Have diver down, keep clear). Show how to use the book International Code of Signals

  • United States Coast Guard Auxiliary

    1 Be inducted as a Basic Qualified member of a United States Coast Guard Auxilliary flotilla
    2 Successfully complete the Coast Guard Auxiliary Boating Skills and Seamanship course. All core sessions, as well as at least three elective sessions, must be completed to fulfill this requirement
    3 Successfully complete the Coast Guard Auxiliary Weekend Navigator course
    3 Join a local Coast Guard Auxiliary flotilla as a Basic Qualified member and qualify for any Operational Auxiliary Program (AUXOP) or any Trident Marine Safety specialty rating

  • America's Boating Club (formerly United States Power Squadrons)

    1 Be inducted as a member of your local USPS squadron
    2 As a member of America's Boating Club, complete the Seamanship and Piloting courses
    3 As a member of America's Boating Club, complete the Advanced Piloting course

  • Awards

    2 Complete any Nova Award. (Each award completed counts as a Level 2 Elective)

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

    Source: Sea Scout Manual Errata 6 -

    Page updated on: September 17, 2022

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