Sea Scout Advancement and Awards

Sea Scouts has its own distinct language, customs and advancement track. It combines traditions of the past with technology of the future, and whether one looks to the sea as a career or life long hobby, it is worth exploring. Sea Scout units, called "ships," use a variety of power boats and sailing vessels of all sizes, and promote service to others and advancement that rewards individual pursuits of excellence. Each level marks progressive growth as a seaman and leader, culminating in the prestigious Quartermaster rank.

The 11th printing of the Sea Scout Manual, No. 33239,was published in fall 2010. The ship committee should regularly update its library to reflect changes to Boy Scout requirements, and also other references not in the manual, such as U.S. Coast Guard navigation rules, International Sailing Federation Rules, and Occupational Safety and Health Administration requirements, many of which change frequently.

The awards and four ranks in Sea Scouts are described below. All requirements must be completed before the 21st birthday, and the ranks are available to registered Sea Scouts only.

A male Sea Scout who has achieved the First Class rank as a Boy Scout in a troop or as a Varsity Scout in a team may continue working toward the Eagle Scout rank as a Sea Scout until his 18th birthday. There is no alternate Sea Scout advancement route to qualify for the Eagle Scout rank. The Sea Scout requirements for rank advancement towards Eagle Scout are the same as for Boy Scouts.

Apprentice Rank

Striving for Apprentice rank, active Sea Scouts learn ideals, courtesies, procedures, and responsibilities, and how members of a ship are organized and uniformed. Basic swimming and beginning seamanship skills are required, as is knowledge of safety, emergency procedures, and Safe Swim Defense. Sixteen hours of service in ship projects, activities, or equipment maintenance fill out the requirements.

Ordinary Rank

Active Sea Scouts attain Ordinary rank through additional service, knowledge of the Sea Scout emblem, U.S. flag etiquette, and land and sea protocols. Successful candidates will participate in strengthening ship membership, serve as an event chair, complete quarterdeck training, pass the Swimming merit badge requirements, and qualify on various safety and emergency procedures, drills, communication methods, and Safety Afloat. They learn about the galley, build on seamanship and boat handling skills, and learn about anchoring, piloting and navigation, and related regulations. Overnight cruise planning and participation provides for skills application, and completing three electives broadens horizons.

Able Rank

To achieve Able rank, Sea Scouts master ceremony presentation and demonstrate knowledge of maritime history. They also teach others—perhaps Boy Scouts and Venturers—about the program and fulfill leadership responsibilities. They must pass the Life saving merit badge requirements and develop further expertise in safety and first aid. There is a continued progression in seamanship, boat-handling skills, anchoring, and piloting and navigation, as well as a deeper understanding of maritime environmental issues. The Sea Scout Long Cruise badge is required for Able, as is completion of three electives.

Quartermaster Rank

The highest award for Sea Scouts presents a challenge that, when met, will affect a young person lifelong. The Quartermaster candidate must think analytically about how the program is delivered and supported, while developing a deeper understanding of Scouting ideals. Most requirements represent intensification of what was learned for previous ranks, but with significant additions in the Quartermaster service project, cruise, and study of weather and forecasting. The cruise involves taking long-term command of a vessel and crew and conducting critical drills.

Note: Sea Scouts must use the Quartermaster Service Project Workbook, available at, and secure approval from the Skipper, ship committee, project beneficiary, and the council or district advancement committee. A youth's Quartermaster service project and Eagle Scout service project must not be the same project; these projects must be separate and distinct from each other.

Additional Resources

Sea Scouts Awards

A variety of awards are available to Sea Scouts who accomplish specific achievements. These awards include:

Special Opportunities for Sea Scouts

Other awards designed to provide recognition for youth and adults include:

Hiking Awards

Conservation Awards