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Sea Scout Experience Advanced Leadership Training (SEAL)

The Sea Scout Experience Advanced Leadership (SEAL) training program is designed to teach leadership skills while underway. SEAL is designed to “jump start” the junior leaders of new Ships and to fine tune leaders of experienced Ships. It is a hard core, physically and mentally demanding, and remarkably rewarding hands-on leadership experience. New and experienced Sea Scouts can succeed at SEAL so long as they are willing to learn and work hard at preparation.

Download the SEAL Application 2015 here.


History and Purpose

In 1996, the National Sea Scouting Committee created a new youth leadership course called Sea Scout Advanced Leadership (SEAL) training. The course is designed to develop leadership skills in young adults. Seamanship is the medium through which the course is taught; however, nautical skills are the means, not the end. This course, which utilizes an “at sea” experience as a laboratory, is intended to teach and apply leadership skills. There are few other media offering the opportunity for young people to actually put leadership skills utilizing group dynamics into practice. In SEAL, there is no “play acting.” All situations and tasks are real, not created. Bad decisions or team failure can produce immediate and real problems.



This week long “at sea” experience allows the student to learn and apply new skills immediately. Courses consist of five to seven youth with a Course Skipper and two instructors. Each instructional module relates to a specific leadership skill with exercises designed to show mastery of the concepts taught while under the leadership of the Boatswain of the Day. SEAL is NOT a seamanship course. All applicants are expected to have basic seamanship skills prior to arrival.

Skills Taught

Evaluation Team Building Leadership
Training Communicating Goal Setting
Planning & Preparing Motivating Managing, Supervising & Commanding
Counseling Implementing & Re-Implementing Problem Solving


Preparing for SEAL

SEAL candidates must arrive at the course prepared to learn, lead, and excel. It is not a seamanship course and all candidates must become intimately familiar with the Safety & Seamanship chapter and appendix of the current Sea Scout Manual. Candidates will be required to outline the chapter in detail. Additionally, candidates must be able to perform basic coastal navigation on paper and must be able to tie all knots required for Apprentice Sea Scout and Ordinary Sea Scout ranks. They must know and understand the basic nomenclature of a sailing vessel; know and understand helm commands and points of relative bearings. All of this information is in the Sea Scout Manual.


Conducting the Training

This course is managed by the National Sea Scout Committee and have been conducted at Chesapeake Bay, the Texas Gulf Coast, the Pacific, the Ohio River Valley, Florida Keys, Long Island Sound, and the Great Lakes. Course dates vary but are always held in the summer months. Costs are typically from $125 to $250 not including candidate transportation to and from the course. Check our event calendar for course offerings.



    • Achieve Ordinary Rank by June 1st the year of the course.
    • Apply leadership skills with their ship after the course.

Before Students Arrive

The student will:

  • Prepare an outline of “Chapter 4” of the Sea Scout Manual to be forwarded to the course’s Skipper for evaluation.
  • Know basic nomenclature of a sailing vessel.
  • Know and be able to perform basic coastal navigation.
  • Be able to tie all knots required for Apprentice and Ordinary Ranks in less than three minutes.
  • Know standard helm commands.

Two practice tests are sent to the applicant’s Skipper prior to the course that cover seamanship covered in “Chapter 4” of the Sea Scout Manual and basic coastal navigation. The student’s performance on these practice tests helps the student know better how to prepare for the course.



By the end of the course, graduates will be equipped with leadership skills and management tools necessary to fire up a ship’s program. They will be prepared to serve in leadership positions such as Boatswain or Boatswain’s Mate in their ships as well as in their schools, jobs, and communities.



Each graduate receives the coveted SEAL pin. SEAL patches are also available to graduates, which can be worn on their uniform instead of the pin. SEAL graduates are also selected to represent Sea Scouts with other opportunities such as trips on submarines, aircraft carriers, and as course marshals for the America’s Cup races.



Applications are due each year by March 1st, and are available for download here. All courses are posted, and the applicant must list their preference in priority order. If two or more Scouts from the same ship are applying, they should apply for different locations. Further questions should be directed to the National SEAL Training Coordinator, Mr. Jim Elroy here or by telephone at (805) 797-7900.


Preparing for SEAL

The Skipper’s evaluation of the candidate’s readiness for SEAL is critical. The application consists of an admonition and instructions to the Skipper regarding evaluation of the applicant. Preparation and full readiness regarding the knowledge of seamanship as set out in the Safety & Seamanship Chapter of the Sea Scout Manual and coastal piloting is absolutely essential prior to arrival at the training site. Failure to fully prepare ensures failure of this course and the waste of a valuable space for someone else that would have been able to participate.


To assist candidates' preparation, two tests are forwarded to their Skipper. The first tests the candidates knowledge on the Safety & Seamanship Chapter of the current Sea Scout Manual, the second tests their knowledge of basic coastal navigation. In the navigation test, candidates will set a course, compute speed, time and distance, compass error, a fix by two lines of position and finding latitude and longitude. These tests are used by the candidate and her Skipper to determine the candidate's readiness for SEAL. Using the results of the test, the Skipper can tell if the candidate needs help before she reports to SEAL training.

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A unique opportunity of a summer cruise week aboard the 145’ topsail schooner Californian and an accredited 3-unit university history course all in one.

Now is the time for all ships to take stock of their past year’s program and document their accomplishments to apply for the annual National Flagship Competition.

LONG BEACH – For the fifth time in seven regattas, a California team has won the William I. Koch International Sea Scout Cup, narrowly beating the strongest field of sailors in the history of the event. 

This award for Sea Scouts has been implemented as a part of the special activities a Sea Scout can participate in during times when they are not engaged in their nautical programs.

National Capital Area Council as the recipient of the 2014 Boats and the Sea Scouts, BSA “National Flagship” Award.

2014-15 National Boatswain Banner

Announcement 2014-2015 National Sea Scout Boatswain

The National Sea Scout Support Committee announces the selection of Peter Schmidt of Springfield, Illinois as the 2014-2015 National Sea Scout Boatswain. His term of office is June 1, 2014 through May 31, 2015. He is a member of Ship 123, Popeye, of the Abraham Lincoln Council, Boy Scouts of America.

Peter will represent Sea Scouts from across the United States as the youth representative on the National Sea Scout Committee. He will report to the National Commodore and the National Director of Sea Scouts. He will serve as the liaison with the Regional Boatswains' and other youth leaders.

Peter is a Quartermaster Sea Scout. During his tenure in Sea Scouts, he has served as Ship Boatswain, Ship Yeoman, and Council Boatswain. He served as the Central Region Area 3 Boatswain from 2010-2011 and as Central Region Boatswain from 2011-2013. He earned the Centennial Long Cruise award and the first Long Cruise Arc, along with his small boat handler and qualified seaman bars. Peter also earned his Eagle Scout Award, Vigil Honor member of the Order of the Arrow, and the Venturing Silver. He was recognized by his local council with the Venturing Leadership Award; as well as the Area and Region Venturing Leadership Awards for his service to Sea Scouts.

He attended the BSA Powderhorn course and has attended training with the National Youth Leadership Training and the Venturing Leadership Skills Course. He has completed the introduction to SCUBA program and BSA snorkeling. He has completed the NASBLA certification in the State of Illinois by BoatED and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

Peter is currently a freshman at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign studying Civil and Environmental Engineering. His primary focus will be in construction management with a secondary focus in sustainable and resilient infrastructpeter2ure systems. He has begun work on a computer science and a leadership studies minor.

Peter shares his reasoning for wanting to serve as the National Boatswain. His goals cover the areas of marketing, recruitment, and communication. While serving as the National Boatswain, he would like to establish quarterly communications with the Region Boatswains to discuss ideas, events, and recruitment practices to help grow the program from a youth perspective. He would also like to focus on using social media, in order to publicize the Sea Scouting program as well as to continue sharing our great program. He wants to create a National Youth Task Force, utilizing the diversity in our program to address opportunities for the Sea Scout program.

Sea Scouts Aboard Tall Ship Coast Guard Barque Eagle - Applications Accepted Now


Do you want the adventure of a lifetime?  Apply now to sail aboard the tall ship Coast Guard Barque Eagle!  The Eagle is a three-masted barque-rigged ship used to train cadets and officer candidates in the U.S. Coast Guard.  The Eagle was  built in Germany in 1936 and was taken as a war reparation by the U.S. after World War II. Since then the Eagle has been homeported in New London, Connecticut, the location of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.


The National Sea Scout Support Committee has again made special arrangements with the US Coast Guard Academy for select Sea Scouts to join as crew aboard the Eagle during its 2015 summer cadet cruise.  This opportunity is available to all Sea Scouts who desire fun, adventure, and a summer cruise to remember - you don't want to miss this chance.  This year's cruises are:

      • July 12 – 18
      • July 19 25
      • July 26 - August 1
      • August 2 - August 8
      • Other dates/ports-of-call may become available


      The ideal candidate is an active Sea Scout who is at least Able rank, a leader in his/her Ship, a SEAL graduate, 16 or 17 years old, in the 10th or 11th grade at the time of application, with an interest in the Coast Guard or other military or maritime career.  Remember though, many prior successful applicants have not had all of these attributes. So who should apply?  Any Sea Scout who is interested!


      Get your USCG BARQUE EAGLE APPLICATION 2015 in by the deadline – March 31, 2015

      The Engineering Candidate Hawsepipe (TECH) Program

      TECH Program is a comprehensive training program created by American Maritime Officers (AMO) and Seafarers International Union (SIU). The purpose is to provide selected high school graduates with the opportunity to proceed on a seagoing marine engineering career path and help fill the developing shortage of marine engineers.

      Train to become a US Coast Guard Licensed Third Assistant Engineering Officer. Two to Three Year Program with no tuition or room and board fees. Alternates between classroom study and on-the-job training at sea.

      There are nine phases.

      • Phase 1 to 3: Unlicensed Apprentice Program - Seafarers Harry Lundeberg School of Seamanship in the Paul Hall Center at Piney Point, MD
      • Starting with Phase 4, the Candidate will alternate between sea time and classroom time
      • Final Phase 9 will be approximately 15 weeks at STAR Center in Dania Beach, Florida. At the completion of Phase 9, the Candidate will be approved to take the USCG 3 A/E Motor Exam.

      Benefits of this program include:

      • Job of approximately $75K starting salary upon completion.
      • See the world.
      • Gain valuable hands on experience.
      • There is no tuition or room and board.
      • All transportation costs involved with travel between ships and class are covered.
      • Small weekly stipend for classroom portions.
      • Cadet wages during sea duty.
      • Individual Medical Benefit Coverage

      Entry Criteria:

      • Must be 18 years or older
      • U.S. Citizen
      • No criminal record
      • Good Physical and Mental Health
      • Pass the medical and dental examinations
      • Be able to obtain a TWIC and a Coast Guard Merchant Mariner Credential (MMC)
      • Pass a Functional Capacity Evaluation and Coast Guard Evaluation of Fitness
      • Pass Math and Reading exams

      Application deadline April 14, 2014.

       Additioanl and application information can be found here: The Engineering Candidate Hawsepipe (TECH) Overview Powerpoint

      2013-2014 National Boatswain SelectedNatlBosn Background

      The National Sea Scout Support Committee (“NSSSC”) announces the selection of Billy McElligott of Dunedin, Florida as the 2013-2014 National Sea Scout Boatswain. (June 1, 2013 through May 31, 2014). He is a member of Ship 956, Carpe Diem of the West Central Florida Council, Boy Scouts of America.
      Billy will represent Sea Scouts from across the United States as the youth representative on the NSSSC and reports to the National Commodore and the National Director of Sea Scouts. He will serve as the liaison with the Regional Boatswains’ and other youth leaders.

      McElligott is an Able Sea Scout, but is expected to qualify for his Quartermaster Sea Scout Award this year. During his tenure in Sea Scouts, he has served his ship as Ship Boatswain, Boatswain’s Mate, and Coxswain. He has also served as the Southern Region Boatswain for the past two years. He is a graduate of Sea Scout Advanced Leadership training (SEAL 2012, Miami, Florida) and has earned his Long Cruise Award; Qualified Seaman; Small Boat Handler; Venturing Silver, Gold and Bronze awards; and is a BSA Lifeguard.

      Billy is a member of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary and a member of the St. Petersburg Sail and Power Squadron and the West Palm Sail and Power Squadron. He has submitted documentation and awaiting the results for qualification for the United States Coast Guard Captains license. He holds an American Red Cross Open Water/Beach Lifeguard certification and is a member of the Dunedin Boat Club. His certifications also include: FAA Private Pilot Certification, PADI’s Advanced Open Water SCUBA Certification, National Emergency Medical Technician, and American Red Cross CPR/AED/Oxygen certifications.

      He is a freshman at the Florida Atlantic University with a double major in Political Science and Biomedical Sciences. His goal is to attend law school to eventually work foreign policy and diplomacy actions for the United States Coast Guard.

      When asked why he wants to serve as the National Boatswain, Billy indicates he would like to focus on program marketing, recruitment, and communication. While serving as the National Boatswain, he would like to establish monthly communications with the Region Boatswains to discuss ideas, events, and recruitment practices. He would also like to focus on using social media in order to publicize the Sea Scouting program as well as to continue sharing our great program. This would help in promotion of an incredibly strong, vibrant Sea Scout presence within the Boy Scouts of America.

      Join us in congratulating Billy McElligott in his selection as the 2013-2014 National Sea Scout Boatswain!

      Download the 2013-14 National Boatswain McElligott announcement here.

      Makai Honored - 2013 National Sea Scout Flagship 


      IRVING, TX - Sea Scout Ship 700, SSS Makai of San Leandro, California, San Francisco Bay Area Council has been selected as the 2013 National Flagship by the National Seas Scout Support Committee (“NSSSC”) of the Boy Scouts of America. 2013 is the beginning of the second century of the Sea Scout program, which provides nautical programs to more than 6,500 Sea Scouts throughout the U.S.
      BoatUS and Sea Scouts, BSA recognizes the Makai is chartered by Bigham-Taylor Roofing Company. The award was created by BoatUS in 2002 to mark the 90th anniversary of Sea Scouts. It is presented in recognition of excellence in program quality, youth achievement, and adult commitment; attributes reflected by the Makai in its exemplary programs of seamanship and youth development. The Makai was part of the 2012 National Flagship Fleet.

      The Ship’s quarterdeck and Skipper completed a full application and provided support through written summary of their accomplishments and activities they participated in during this past year. The Ship’s Boatswain Nick Rojos comments, “Makai is much more than a Sea Scout Ship, we’re a group of determined young men who want to work hard for regattas and enjoy our cruises to the fullest … I am proud to lead these young men and I’m even more proud of the Makai that I call my second family.” The crew works hard and plays hard learning to maintain their boat, learning new skills, and competing in a wide array of events. A few highlights of their activities include:

        • Achieved the Gold level 2012 Journey to Excellence national award with a perfect score
        • 82.6 % of youth members advanced in rank, or advanced during the year
        • 38% of youth members achieved Ordinary Sea Scout rank or higher
        • The crew participated in 42 days of on-the-water activities during the year (Total engine run time 110 hours 13 minutes, including a 17 day Long Cruise)
        • 15 community unit service projects including such as landscaping at a community church, Scouting for Food, and maintenance at various marinas
        • Sent a youth member to Sea Scout Advanced Leadership training (“SEAL”) in Miami, FL
        • Competed in 4 Regional Regattas (taking a top class rating at 3 of them); attended 5 fleet training and social activities; conducted 5 leadership training courses; participated in many more active meetings and months of events too numerous to mention for a total of 188 days of Sea Scout activities during the year
        • Had a youth member appointed as the Western Region Area 3 Boatswain
        • Acquired and rigged a new primary vessel in less than 2 months
        • Recruited 9 new youth members during the year bringing their total to 23 and recruited 5 new adult members during the year bringing their total to 13
        • 14 of their Crew and 13 of their adults earned the Sea Scout Centennial Gold Award pin

      A heartfelt congratulation goes to Ship Boatswain Nick Rojos, Skipper Robert Karn, Executive Officer Mr. Kevin Trujillo, and the dedicated S.S.S. Makai crew and adult volunteers. The Makai’s name will be inscribed on a perpetual trophy now on display at the National Scouting Museum in Irving, Texas. An identical trophy will be presented to the ship’s leadership.

      Join us in saluting Ship 700, SSS Makai for their outstanding efforts. We wish them well in continuing to promote water safety and provide a quality Sea Scout program to the youth in their area.

      For more information about the S.S.S. Makai, visit their website:

      [Download the 2013 National Flagship Makai Announcement here.]

      NCUni NekFrtSmThe National Sea Scout Support Committee is please to introduce the New Century Universal Sea Scout Uniform ("NCUSSU").  The NCUSSU is an alternate uniform to the current adult and youth dress and work uniforms. It is intended to make it easy for members of newly formed Sea Scout Ships to outfit themselves in a Sea Scout uniform and may be chosen by any unit new or existing. When chosen by the unit, this universal uniform is worn by all youth and adult Ship members and may serve as both a dress uniform and a work uniform. The New Century Universal Sea Scout Uniform will be included in the next edition of the Sea Scout Manual, No. 33239.

      Visit here to learn more about this exciting new option!


      Governor Deval L. Patrick of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has issued a proclamation making October 8, 2012 Sea Scouts Day in the Bay State.

      The Governor, in issuing his proclamation, reminded the citizens of Massachusetts that Sea Scouting in the United States began in Massachusetts, that it has grown from one Boy Scout Training Ship to become a national program for young men and young women that promotes our maritime heritage and provides hands-on maritime education, training, and experiences, while partnering with other civic organizations to promote safe boating, environmental conservation and community service.

      Massachusetts Proclamation


      News and information from the National Sea Scout Support Committee.