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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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Albatross Honored - 2012 National Sea Scout Flagship 

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IRVING, TX -The Sea Scout Ship Albatross has been selected as the 2012 National Flagship by the Boy Scouts of America. 2012 is the 100-year anniversary of the Sea Scout program, which will be celebrated by over 7000 Sea Scouts and their communities throughout the United States.

BoatUS and Sea Scouts, BSA recognizes Sea Scout Ship 72, S.S.S. Albatross from Martinez, California, chartered by Security Owners Corporation of the Mt. Diablo Silverado Council as the recipient of the 2012 National Flagship Award. 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. It is these attributes, as reflected by the S.S.S. Albatross and its exemplary program of seamanship and youth development, that we honor them with this award.

A heartfelt congratulation goes to Ship Boatswain Catherine Murphy-Bevan, Skipper Adam Mollwitz, and the dedicated S.S.S. Albatross crew and adult volunteers. The S.S.S, Albatross 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 at the 60th Ancient Mariner Regatta, onboard the USS Hornet, in Alameda California.

As a part of the Ship’s qualifications, they met or exceeded all national standards as a part of their application for consideration. 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.

Since 1932, the Sea Scouts have been an active part of the Martinez Community, and the Western Region. This year the ship is participating in the Relay for Life, as well as hosting two Regattas.

The Albatross Sea Base, with the help of the crew, parents, and the adult staff, has become the training center for several units of the area. The Albatross main training vessel is a 65 foot ex-Navy torpedo Retriever from 1968, aptly named "Albatross". Their other training vessels include a ski boat named "Little Tross", a runabout named "Tadpole", a whaleboat named "Shanagagines", and other small sail and powerboats.

The co-ed Albatross crew works hard and plays hard: learning to maintain their boat; learn new skills; and compete in a wide array of events. A few highlights of their activities include:

  • Achieved the Gold level of the Journey to Excellence national award for 2011.
  • 100 % of their youth members advanced in rank, or advanced during the year
  • Increased their youth membership by a net of 17%
  • 45% of their youth members achieved Ordinary rank or higher, including one Quartermaster
  • An average of 90 % of their members attended their ship activities annually
  • The crew participated in over 50 on-the-water activities during the year. Including a 10 day Summer Cruise
  • Maintained their Boat and Sea Base, including installing a new cabin top for their crew's quarters.
  • 6 community service projects were held as a ship , such as color guards and cleaning up the local water front
  • Competed in 8 Regattas through out the region; hosted 2 Regattas; participated in Safety at Sea at Yerba Buena Island; participated in many more active meetings and months of events too numerous to mention.

An official Sea Scout SALUTE goes to Ship 72, S.S.S. Albatross for their efforts. We wish them well as they continue to promote water safety and provide a quality Sea Scout program to the youth of their area.

link-PDF  2012 National Flagship Albatross