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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 Advanced Leadership Training

Seabadge is intense leadership and management training focused on the "how-to" aspects of managing a successful youth led Sea Scout program. While Seabadge was developed as an advanced leadership training program for experienced Sea Scout adult leaders the course is open to all adult Scout leaders.  The driving theme for the training is to "Focus on Youth", which makes the course especially valuable for any Scout leader dealing with older youth.  Seabadge does not cover topics like boating, knots, or other program-related materials found in the Sea Scout Manual.

Overview & Purpose

Seabadge is a weekend course that begins Friday afternoon and concludes with a closing ceremony before lunch on Sunday.  Course participants and staff function as a model ship to help participants understand how a ship or youth-led unit should function. The curriculum includes twenty sessions, with established objectives, that are presented in a motivating and informative forum.

The objectives of Seabadge are to:

    • Improve the understanding of leadership, management, and motivational skills among adult leaders.
    • Provide management, leadership, and presentation skills and tools to adult leaders so that they may use and share them with others in their day-to-day Scout activities.
    • Use the skills and tools acquired at Seabadge to improve the quality of the Sea Scout program.
    • Encourage the development of lifelong contacts and sharing of resources by and between course participants and staff.

Participant Requirements

Course applicants must meet the following minimum standard requirements prior to consideration for participation in a Seabadge course:

    1. Is a registered adult member of the Boy Scouts of America. 
    2. Has completed the basic training courses for their Scouting position and Leader Specific: Sea Scout Adult Leader Basic training.
    3. Has actively and effectively served in their current registered position for at least one continuous year. An adult does not have to be registered in Sea Scouts in order to attend the course.
    4. Has been nominated and approved by their home council for participation in Seabadge.

Uniform Requirements

Sea Scout participants will wear the official Sea Scout uniforms as described in the Sea Scout Manual.  The dress uniform will be worn for the banquet and graduation.  The work uniform will be worn during the remainder of the course.

Other Scout participants will wear their official Scouting uniforms (official Scout leader shirt, Scout pants, leather or web belt, and official socks) with the shoulder loops signifying their Scouting program.  Each person has the option of wearing uniform short, long pants, or a skirt.

For Councils - How to Host a Course

A Seabadge course can be sponsored by a council, a group of councils or by a region after determining a need to conduct a course.  The host council will:

    1. Determine the need for a Seabadge course and assign a professional staff advisor.
    2. Contact the National Sea Scout Director to receive the most current Seabadge Administrative Guide that includes planning guidelines and a course application.
    3. Select a qualified course director from a national list of qualified course directors.
    4. Submit an application to conduct a Seabadge course and a signed Course Director's Pledge to the National Director of Sea Scouts for final approval. The course application should be submitted at least 9 months in advance of the selected beginning date of the course.
    5. Following approval from the National Director of Sea Scouts, each course will be issued a national course number and the course director will receive the most current course materials via CD or by email.

Download Participant Application

Staff Requirements

Seabadge staff members must meet the following qualifications:

    1. Currently registered member of the Boy Scouts of America as a Sea Scout adult leader for at least two continuous years.
    2. Successfully completed an official Seabadge course.
    3. Be approved by their local council to serve on the Seabadge staff.
    4. Agree to adhere to the Seabadge Administrative Guide and Seabadge Instructor Manual when planning and presenting Seabadge topics.
    5. Agree to wear a national standard Sea Scout adult leader uniform and insignia (exactly as outlined in the current edition of the Sea Scout Manual) during the Seabadge course.
    6. Once selected, staff members must review all current prerequisite training materials including; Venturing Leader Youth Protection Training, and Leader Specific: Sea Scout Adult Leader Basic Training.  

Download Staff Application

Course Director Requirements

In addition to meeting the requirements for a Seabadge staff member, to serve as a Seabadge course director a Sea Scout adult leader must have the following qualifications:

    1. Must have successfully completed staff assignments at two Seabadge courses, including serving as a crew advisor.
    2. Successfully completed a National Seabadge Course Director Seminar.
    3. Must be enthusiastic, open-minded, flexible, people-oriented, and committed to implementing the Seabadge course in a positive manner.
    4. Must sign the "Course Director's Pledge".


Course Application Deadline Calculator

 The National Sea Scout Support Committee must receive requests to host a Seabadge 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