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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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Seabadge Underway Advanced Leadership Training

It is the mission of Seabadge Underway (SBU) Training to provide basic vessel operation training to Sea Scout and other adult Scout leaders, with little vessel experience, to help prepare these leaders to operate a Sea Scout vessel in a safe and productive way under moderate conditions. It is also the mission of this course to provide experienced vessel operators with training in the methods and objectives of operating a Sea Scout vessel to achieve maximum benefit to the youth involved in Scouting's programs on the water


By the end of this course the SBU student should be able to:

  • Properly inspect a vessel to determine if it is properly equipped to get underway and has aboard the safety equipment that is required by law and is recommended for prudent operation.
  • Demonstrate the ability to navigate using dead reckoning, GPS, and other navigation equipment that may be on the training vessel.
  • Demonstrate basic deck skills including tying basic knots, handling ground tackle, and deploying various lines utilized for coming alongside.
  • Set the watch and supervise the navigator, helmsman, and lookouts.
  • Properly identify aids to navigation.
  • Conduct safety drills including man overboard, fire, abandon ship and rescue.
  • Have a working knowledge of the International and Inland Rules of the Road and BSA Safety Afloat policies.
  • Have a working knowledge of the responsibilities of the Sea Scout Skipper and other adult leaders and knowledge of proper unit operations including adult leader relationships with Sea Scout youth leaders.
  • Develop the ability to determine if an adult vessel operator is competent, safe and in compliance with local and federal law and is managing the vessel in accordance with BSA and Sea Scout policy.
  • Identify tools and materials available to assist in training of Sea Scout youth leaders.
  • Safely operate a small auxiliary vessel with outboard (dinghy)
  • Know and demonstrate Sea Scout customs while underway.
  • Have knowledge of the Sea Scout philosophy regarding the development of leadership skills and seamanship skills in youth members while underway.

Participant Requirements

A student does not need sea experience to attend this course but must come prepared. For the inexperienced vessel operator a great deal of effort must be expended to prepare for this course. Not completing the course is usually the result of poor preparation.. Please review the below pre-requisite tasks and training.

  1. Applicants must have a good working knowledge of basic coastal navigation. This may be achieved by reading the Sea Scout Manual, taking a US Power Squadrons (USPS) or US Coast Guard Auxiliary course in piloting. It is highly recommended that the student successfully complete the USPS Piloting level course prior to taking this course. Applicants will be given a navigation test to be completed at home and must pass this test. Mastery of these basic skills is imperative for success in this course. A similar test will be administered during the course. All students must pass this navigation test.
  2. Applicants must be able to tie all 15 knots required for Sea Scout Apprentice and Ordinary ranks including a cleat hitch within a three minute time period. See section on knot tying in this manual.
  3. Applicants must be in good physical condition, able to manage 16 hour days, and must submit a pre-qualification BSA Medical Examination Form and be qualified for "High Adventure" activities including meeting the height and weight standards. Applicants must be able to swim 200 meters. BSA medical form available at:
  4. Applicants must currently be registered as an adult Sea Scout leader, Scout leader or Professional Scouter. (If not a Sea Scout leader, there is a great deal of preparation that will be required).
  5. Applicants must study and master the contents of the "Safety and Seamanship" chapter of the current Sea Scout Manual. A test covering this chapter will be given to applicants to complete at home. Applicants must pass this test prior to attending this course. All students must pass a final seamanship test to complete this course.
  6. Applicants must have completed Venturing Youth Protection Training.
  7. Applicant must have a complete dress white or dress blue official Sea Scout Leader's uniform with insignia placed as set out in the Sea Scout Manual or if in another Scouting program, must have a dress uniform for that program. (The New Century uniform will be accepted as a dress uniform.)
  8. Applicants must have complete basic first aid and CPR and must have a current card.
  9. Applicants must have completed Sea Scout Adult Leader Basic Training (SSALBT).Course applicants must meet the following minimum standard requirements prior to consideration for participation in a Seabadge course:

Uniform Requirements

Students and course staff will be in Sea Scout working uniform at all times. The course director will utilize the national Sea Scout adult leader khaki work uniform (or the New Century uniform) with either short or long pants and will provide students with a list of required uniforms and personal equipment in advance of their arrival. A list of personal equipment required for the course will be furnished to the student when the course director customizes the Student SBU Manual for his or her course. Students will bring a dress white or blue uniform as set out in the Sea Scout Manual or if not a Sea Scout leader, a dress uniform as set out in the Scout Manual.

Course Schedule

The next course will be offered October 18, 2014- October 26, 2014 at theMaryland Yacht Club, 1500 Fairview Beach Road, Pasadena, Maryland. Cost: $400.00 per participant.


Application Process

The register download the Seabadge Underway and Seabadge Underway Course Director Certification Flyer Maryland October 2014.  For more information Contact Jim Elroy, National Sea Scout Training Coordinator, Email: .

Course Application Deadline Calculator

 The National Sea Scout Support Committee must receive requests to host a Seabadge Underway Course at least 9 months in advance of the anticipated course date. The earliest course date for applications received today will be: December 27,2015