Mechanics of Advancement: In Sea Scouts
PLEASE NOTE: The Guide to Advancement has been updated for 2017.
The online version of this resource is being updated and will be available soon. In the meantime, refer to the PDF for the latest and most accurate information.
Download the Guide to Advancement 2017 here.
Sea Scouts has its own distinct language, customs, and
advancement track. It combines traditions of the past with
technology of the future, and whether one looks to the sea
as a career or lifelong hobby, it is worth exploring. Sea
Scout units, called “ships,” use a variety of power boats
and sailing vessels of all sizes, and promote service to
others and advancement that rewards individual pursuits
of excellence. Each level marks progressive growth as a
seaman and leader, culminating in the prestigious
184.108.40.206 Sea Scout Ranks and Awards
The awards and four ranks in Sea Scouts are described
below. All requirements must be completed before the
21st birthday, and the ranks are available to registered
Sea Scouts only.
Note that a Sea Scout who earned the First Class rank as
a Boy Scout or Varsity Scout in a troop or team may
continue work through the Boy Scouting advancement
program until the 18th birthday. See “Boy ScoutAdvancement in Venturing and Sea Scouts,” 220.127.116.11.
18.104.22.168 Apprentice Rank
Striving for Apprentice rank, active Sea
Scouts learn ideals, courtesies, procedures,
and responsibilities, and how members of
a ship are organized and uniformed. Basic
swimming and beginning seamanship skills
are required, as is knowledge of safety,
emergency procedures, and Safe Swim
Defense. Sixteen hours of service in ship
projects, activities, or equipment maintenance fill out
22.214.171.124 Ordinary Rank
Active Sea Scouts attain Ordinary rank
through additional service, knowledge of
the Sea Scout emblem, U.S. flag etiquette,
and land and sea protocols. Successful
candidates will participate in strengthening
ship membership, serve as an event chair,
complete quarterdeck training, pass the
Swimming merit badge requirements, and
qualify on various safety and emergency procedures,
drills, communication methods, and Safety Afloat. They
learn about the galley, build on seamanship and boathandling
skills, and learn about anchoring, piloting and
navigation, and related regulations. Overnight cruise
planning and participation provides for skills application,
and completing three electives broadens horizons.
126.96.36.199 Able Rank
To achieve Able rank, Sea Scouts master
ceremony presentation and demonstrate
knowledge of maritime history. They also
teach others—perhaps Boy Scouts and
Venturers—about the program and fulfill
leadership responsibilities. They must pass
the Lifesaving merit badge requirements
and develop further expertise in safety and first aid.
There is a continued progression in seamanship, boathandling
skills, anchoring, and piloting and navigation,
as well as a deeper understanding of maritime
environmental issues. The Sea Scout Long Cruise badge
is required for Able, as is completion of three electives.
188.8.131.52 Quartermaster Rank
The highest award for Sea Scouts presents a
challenge that, when met, will affect a young
person lifelong. The Quartermaster candidate
must think analytically about how the program
is delivered and supported, while developing
a deeper understanding of Scouting ideals.
Most requirements represent intensification of
what was learned for previous ranks, but with significant
additions in the Quartermaster service project, cruise, and
study of weather and forecasting. The cruise involves taking
long-term command of a vessel and crew and conducting
Note: Sea Scouts must use the Quartermaster Leadership
Service Project Workbook, No. 420-011, available at
www.seascout.org, and secure approval from the
Skipper, ship committee, project beneficiary, and the
council or district advancement committee. A youth’s
Quartermaster, Eagle, or Venturing Summit Award
service project must not be the same project; these
projects must be separate and distinct from each other.
184.108.40.206.1 Time Extensions for Earning Quartermaster Rank.
If a Sea Scout foresees that, due to no fault of his or her
own, the requirements to complete the Quartermaster
rank are not achievable before age 21, he or she may
apply for a limited time extension. These are rarely
granted, and reserved only for work on Quartermaster.
The tests that apply and the procedures to follow are the
same as those outlined for an extension to earn the Eagle
Scout rank (see “Time Extensions,” 220.127.116.11). Note that
references to age 18 in the Eagle Scout procedure
would relate to age 21 in Sea Scouts, and that extension
requests are sent to, and approved by, the national
Sea Scout director. Quartermaster time extensions are
not granted through the National Advancement Team.
The local council does not grant or deny Quartermaster time extensions.These are granted only by the national Sea Scout director after consideration of local council recommendations.
18.104.22.168.2 Submitting the Quartermaster Application.
Once approved by the Skipper, the ship committee,
and the bridge of review, the Quartermaster Application,
No. 420-015, must be approved by the district or council
advancement committee. It must then be sent to the
national Sea Scout director. A certificate is returned to the
local council service center.
22.214.171.124 The Skipper Conference
Skippers hold a conference with youth who indicate they
are ready to advance to the next Sea Scout rank. Once
the conference has taken place and the other requirements
for the rank are fulfilled, the application for rank is
forwarded to the ship’s bridge of review. The process is
similar to that for a Scoutmaster conference. (See “Unit Leader [Scoutmaster] Conference,” 126.96.36.199.)
Sea Scouts working on the Eagle Scout rank follow the procedures listed in "The Eagle Scout Rank," 188.8.131.52.
184.108.40.206 Other Sea Scout Awards
Other awards Sea Scouts may earn include the Small-Boat Handler bar, the Qualified Seaman bar, and the
Long Cruise badge and arcs. The requirements are
detailed in the Sea Scout Manual, No. 33239. Also
available are any BSA recognitions that are not limited to
Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Varsity Scouts, or Venturers.
Examples that may interest Sea Scouts include BSA
Lifeguard, Boardsailing BSA, Snorkeling BSA, Paddlecraft
Safety, Kayaking BSA, Mile Swim BSA, and many more.
A bridge of honor, like a court of honor in Boy Scouting,
is the forum where awards are presented. It should be
impressive and well planned. It is often held in connection
with a social affair. As in any other BSA program, it is
important that Sea Scouts receive prompt recognition;
thus it may be a good idea to present awards informally
first at a ship meeting and then again (more formally) at
the next bridge of honor.
220.127.116.11 The Sea Scout Bridge of Review
Sections 18.104.22.168 through 22.214.171.124 below cover bridge of review procedures that apply to all Sea Scout ranks. These are followed by "Particulars for Apprentice Through Able Ranks," 126.96.36.199; sections 188.8.131.52 through 184.108.40.206 pertain only to the Quartermaster rank.
220.127.116.11 Purpose and Timeliness of Bridges of Review
After completing the requirements for any Sea Scout rank,
the Sea Scout appears before a bridge of review. He or
she cannot be denied this opportunity. The purpose of
the review is to determine the quality of the candidate’s
experience and decide whether the youth is qualified to
advance. The bridge of review date becomes the effective
18.104.22.168 Composition of the Bridge of Review
A bridge of review must consist of no fewer than three
members and no more than six. For further specifications,
see “Particulars for Apprentice Through Able Ranks,” 22.214.171.124, and “Particulars for the Quartermaster Rank,” 126.96.36.199. Skippers and mates may not serve on a bridge
of review for a Sea Scout in their own ship. Parents or
guardians may not serve on a bridge for their son or
daughter. The candidate or his or her parent(s) or
guardian(s) shall have no part in selecting any bridge
of review members.
188.8.131.52 Conducting the Bridge of Review
Procedures for conducting Sea Scout bridges of review are
very similar to those for Boy Scout rank boards of review.
The applicable references, with exceptions noted for Sea
Scouts, are listed below. Where there are references to “unit
leader” or “Scoutmaster,” to “troop” or “unit,” or to “Scout,”
these can be read as “Skipper,” “ship,” and “Sea Scout.”
184.108.40.206 Particulars for Apprentice Through Able Ranks
The preceding applies to bridges of review for all Sea
Scout ranks, but there are a few differences for those
leading up to Quartermaster. See “Particulars for the Quartermaster Rank,” 220.127.116.11, below, to learn about
the differences for Quartermaster.
- After a Skipper conference, the youth advancing
meets with the bridge of review made up of three
to six members of the quarterdeck or ship committee.
- The boatswain serves as bridge of review chair,
conducts the review according the BSA procedures,
and reports results to the ship advancement coordinator.
- The location should be comfortable, such as the unit
meeting place or a leader’s home.
- The review should take approximately 15 minutes,
but no longer than 30 minutes.
- Ranks must not be presented until the advancement
is reported to the local council through the BSA’s
Internet portal for reporting advancement or on the
official Advancement Report form.
18.104.22.168 Particulars for the Quartermaster Rank
With the few exceptions listed below, the particulars
for handling bridges of review for Quartermaster rank
are identical to those for Eagle Scout boards of review.
See Particulars for the Eagle Scout Rank," 22.214.171.124.
126.96.36.199 Quartermaster Bridge of Review Beyond the 21st Birthday
See "Eagle Scout Board of Review Beyond the 18th Birthday," 188.8.131.52; the procedures are the same, with a few exceptions:
- References to the 18th birthday are replaced with
the 21st birthday for Sea Scouts.
- Where petitions, etc., are indicated to be sent to
the National Advancement Team, for Sea Scouts
they are sent to the national Sea Scout director.
- Procedures for awarding the Quartermaster rank to
someone who completed the requirements as a youth
but never received the recognition are the same as
outlined for those in the same circumstances who
are seeking the Eagle Scout rank. The required
documentation, however, would relate to proving
Quartermaster requirements were met.
184.108.40.206 Initiating Quartermaster Bridge of Review Under Disputed Circumstances
A Quartermaster bridge of review under disputed
circumstances can be requested if:
- A Skipper or ship committee chair does not sign
the Quartermaster application.
- A Skipper conference is denied.
- It is thought a ship will not provide a fair hearing.
- The Skipper or Quartermaster service project
beneficiary refuses to sign final approval for what
might be considered a satisfactory project.
The procedures are the same as those outlined in "Initiating Eagle Scout Board of Review Under Disputed Circumstances," 220.127.116.11.
18.104.22.168 Appealing a Quartermaster Bridge of Review Decision
If a bridge of review does not recommend a candidate
for Quartermaster rank, only the Sea Scout or his or
her parent or guardian may appeal the decision to the
local council. The procedures are the same as those
for advancement in Boy Scouting (see "Appealing a Decision," 22.214.171.124, "Filing and Processing an Appeal," 126.96.36.199, and "Appeal Board Must Research the Case,"188.8.131.52); simply replace the Boy Scouting references with
those relating to Sea Scouts. Note that only Quartermaster
rank may be appealed beyond the ship, and appeals
to the national level are sent to the national Sea Scout
director, not to the National Advancement Team.