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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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How to Start a Ship




The New Century Universal Sea Scout Uniform has been authorized by the National Sea Scout Support Committee as 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.

The ball cap and optional neckerchiefs are under development by the National Supply Group, BSA; and should be available at or by special order from local Scout Shops within a few months.

Download the New Century Universal Uniform Fact Sheet here.


New Century Universal Sea Scout Uniform Components

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  • Navy Blue ball cap; with SEA SCOUTS and the Sea Scout First Class Anchor embroidered in white. Youth may wear the white Dixie cup (unit option) and adults may wear the white combination cover (unit option)
  • Dark Navy Blue shirt (similar to Dickies Nos.1574(male) and FS574(female), color DN)
  • Dark Navy Blue crew-neck t-shirt
  • Optional neckerchief for youth (unit option) either the New Century Neckerchief (black “tar flap” design), or Sea Scout Neckerchief (triangular black with white embroidered Sea Scout First Class Anchor and edging)
  • Dark Navy Blue trousers (similar to Dickies Nos. 874(male) and 774 (female); color DN)
  • Black web belt with silver buckle and tab
  • Black plain-toe shoes and black socks

New Century Universal Sea Scout Uniform Specifics and Tips

  • “Unit option” means that all the members of a Ship (unit) wear the optional item; based upon a unit decision.
  • The optional neckerchiefs are worn under the shirt collar. The neckerchiefs may be tied with a reef (square) knot or an inverted wall knot that drapes better (unit option).
  • Placement of awards and insignia (black) is similar to other Sea Scout Dress Uniforms (see below).
  • Sea Scout uniforms are worn without temporary patches to help retain a sharp appearance. The Commemorative Sea Scout Centennial Patch is the only exception.
  • A silver buckle with Sea Scout First Class Anchor may be worn in place of a plain silver buckle (unit option).
  • Matching shorts, or cargo shorts, may be worn.
  • Remove all manufacturers’ labels and marks that show on the outside of the garment.
  • Activity footwear such as boat shoes, hiking boots, or athletic shoes may be worn as appropriate to the activity.
  • Shirts and trousers can be purchased at stores or websites that carry work clothing such as, or at Sears or Wal-Mart retail stores.

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New Century Universal Sea Scout Uniform Insignia

(Required insignia are marked with an asterisk*.)

Right Side     Left Side
  • American Flag*
  • Universal Sea Scout Emblem or custom ship emblem*
  • National Flagship Award or National Flagship Fleet Award
  • Journey to Excellence

Over Pocket

  • Sea Badge Pin
  • Nameplate (black with white lettering)
  • Sea Scouts BSA strip*

Pocket Flap

  • No items authorized


  • No items authorized


  • Council Strip*
  • Unit Number*
  • Badge of Office*
  • Long Cruise Badge

Over Pocket

  • World Crest*
  • Messengers of Peace insignia
  • SEAL Pin
  • Knots (up to six)
  • BSA Authorized Suspended Medals (suggested for formal events)

Pocket Flap

  • No items authorized


  • Youth rank insignia*

 Download the New Century Universal Uniform Fact Sheet here.

Uniform Details

Find details regarding specific Sea Scout uniforms by clicking below.

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