Ordinary rank

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Ordinary Rank

1. White patch; 2. Blue patch.

Ordinary rank focuses on the Sea Scout's ever-increasing skills in the boat handling and maintenance, as well as leadership and navigation.


Ordinary rank requirements

  1. Ideals
    1. Explain the symbolism of the Sea Scout emblem.
    2. Give a brief oral history of the U.S. flag.
    3. Demonstrate how to fly, hoist, lower, fold, display and salute the U.S. flag. Explain flag etiquette and protocols for both land and sea.
    4. Discuss with an adult leader how you live the Scout Oath and Law in your daily life.
  2. Active Membership
    1. Meet your ship’s bylaws requirement for active participation in your ship’s meetings and activities for three months.
    2. Do one of the following. Recruit a new member for your ship and follow through until the new member is registered and formally admitted with an admissions ceremony, or assist in planning and carrying out a ship recruiting activity, such as an open house or joint activity with a youth group or organization. (Another Sea Scout ship will not count.)
  3. Leadership
    1. Participate in the BSA’s Introduction to Leadership Skills for Ships (ILSS) course. Complete quarterdeck training, either as an officer or as a prospective officer.
    2. Serve as an activity chair for a major ship event. Responsibilities should include planning, directing, and evaluating the event.
  4. Swimming
    1. Pass all requirements for the BSA’s Swimming merit badge.
  5. Safety
    1. Discuss BSA Safety Afloat with an adult leader.
    2. Describe the safety equipment required by law for your ship’s primary vessel.
    3. Develop a ship’s station bill for your ship and review it with an adult leader.
    4. Plan and practice the following drills: man overboard, fire, and abandon ship.
    5. Describe three types of equipment used in marine communications.
    6. Demonstrate your knowledge of correct maritime radio telephone communications procedures by making at least three calls to another vessel, marinas, bridges, or locks.
    7. Galley
      1. Before an activity, submit a menu that uses cooked and uncooked dishes, a list of provisions, and estimated costs for a day’s meal (breakfast, lunch, and dinner). Once the provision list is approved, help obtain the items on the list.
      2. Explain the use of charcoal, pressurized alcohol, and propane. Include safety precautions for each.
      3. Prepare breakfast, lunch, and dinner while on the activity. Demonstrate your ability to properly use the galley equipment or personal cooking gear generally used by your ship.
      4. Demonstrate appropriate sanitation techniques for food preparation and meal cleanup.
  6. Marlinspike Seamanship
    1. Name the various materials used to manufacture rope, the advantages and disadvantages of each, and the characteristics of laid and braided rope. Discuss the meaning of lay, thread, strand, and hawser. Explain how rope is sized and measured.
    2. Using both large and small lines, tie and explain the use of the following knots: stevedore’s knot, French (double) bowline, bowline on a bight, timber hitch, rolling hitch, marline hitch, trucker’s hitch, and midshipman’s (taut-line) hitch.
    3. Demonstrate your ability to secure a line to pilings, cleats, and rings, and to coil, flake, and flemish a line.
    4. Demonstrate how to cut and heat-seal a synthetic line and whip the end of plain-laid line using waxed cord or similar material.
  7. Boat Handling
    1. Name the principal parts of the masts, booms, spars, standing and running rigging, and sails of a gaff- or Marconi-rigged sloop, schooner, and ketch or yawl.
    2. Demonstrate your ability to handle a vessel with paddles or oars by doing one of the following:
      Safely board a rowboat and row in a straight line for 200 yards, stop, make a pivot turn, return to the starting point and backwater in a straight line for 50 yards/meters. Make a turn and return to the starting point.
      Safely board a canoe, kayak, or paddleboard and paddle a straight line for 200 yards, stop, pivot, return to the starting point, and backwater in a straight line for 50 yards/meters. Make a turn and return to the starting point. Demonstrate a draw stroke to move the boat sideways both right and left, and forward and reverse sweeps to spin the boat both clockwise and counter.
  8. Ground Tackle
    1. Name the parts of a stock anchor and a stockless anchor.
    2. Describe five types of anchors. Describe how each type holds the bottom, the kind of bottom in which it holds best, and the advantages or disadvantages of each type.
    3. Calculate the amount of anchor rode necessary for your ship’s primary vessel in the following depths: 10, 20, and 30 feet in normal and storm conditions.
    4. Demonstrate the ability to set and weigh anchor.
  9. Navigation Rules
    1. Explain the purpose of Navigation Rules, International and Inland.
    2. Know the general “Rule of Responsibility.”
    3. Define stand-on and give-way vessels for the following situations: meeting, crossing, and overtaking for both power and sailing vessels.
    4. Explain “Responsibility Between Vessels” (vessel priority).
    5. Explain the navigation lights required for power-driven and sailing vessels underway. Explain what is required for a vessel under oars. Describe the lighting requirements for paddlecraft. Explain why carrying a sound producing device like a whistle is important when operating a paddlecraft.
    6. Describe the sound signals for maneuvering, warning, and restricted visibility.
  10. Piloting and Navigation
    1. Demonstrate your understanding of latitude and longitude. Using a chart, demonstrate that you can locate your position from given coordinates and determine the coordinates of at least five aids to navigation.
    2. Explain the degree system of compass direction. Explain variation and deviation and how they are used to convert between true headings and bearings to compass headings and bearings.
    3. Describe three kinds of devices used aboard ship for measuring speed and/or distance traveled and, if possible, demonstrate their use.
    4. Explain the 24-hour time system and demonstrate that you can convert between 12- and 24-hour time.
    5. Understand Universal Coordinated Time (Greenwich Mean Time or Zulu Time) and zone time. Demonstrate your ability to convert from one to the other for your local area.
    6. Make a dead reckoning table of compass and distances (minimum three legs) between two points, plot these on a chart, and determine the final position. Note: Ideally this requirement should be met while underway. If this is not possible, it may be simulated using charts.
    7. Discuss how a GPS works. Explain possible uses and functions including different screen views. Use a GPS to set a waypoint and navigate to the waypoint you have set.
  11. Practical Deck Seamanship
    1. Name the seven watches and explain bell time.
    2. Explain the duties of a lookout and demonstrate how to report objects in view and wind directions with respect to the vessel.
    3. Name relative bearings expressed in degrees.
    4. While underway, serve as a lookout for two hours total. When boating in a manually propelled craft, boating alone or as a bow paddler for a tandem craft will meet this requirement.
    5. Demonstrate the use of wheel or helm commands found in the Sea Scout Manual.
    6. Describe the deck log kept aboard your ship’s principal craft. Contribute to the cruise log for three days of cruising (one cruise or a combination of day cruises). Submit the cruise logs to your Skipper.
  12. Environment
    1. Discuss with an adult leader the Federal Water Pollution Control Act as related to oil discharges. Explain what a “Discharge of Oil Prohibited” placard is and, if applicable, find it aboard your ship’s vessels.
    2. Explain what aquatic nuisance species are and how you can help stop their spread.
  13. Weather
    Read and understand a local weather bulletin. Know how to obtain current marine and weather reports from the National Weather Service in your area by telephone, radio, or online.
  14. Cruising
    1. Help plan and participate in an overnight cruise.
    2. While on the cruise, perform the duties of a helmsman for at least 30 minutes. If underway in a paddlecraft, paddling independently or as a stern paddler/steersman will meet this requirement.
  15. Boating Safety Course
    Successfully complete a boating safety course approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) offered by one of the following agencies: a state boating agency, the United States Power Squadrons, the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary, or other private or military education courses.
  16. Service
    1. Log at least 8 hours of work on ship equipment, projects, or activities other than ship meetings, parties, dances, or fun events.
    2. Participate with your ship for at least 8 hours in community service projects.
  17. Electives
    Choose any three electives from the options listed following Quartermaster rank requirements.


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Please note any errors found in the above requirements on this article's Talk Page.


Requirement Resources

All See the Sea Scout Manual, current edition.
1a Sea Scout Emblem

  • See p C3 (inside back cover) of the 'Sea Scout Manual, 11th ed.'

1b & 1c flag history and care

  • See pp 41 - 45 of the 'Sea Scout Manual, 11th ed.'
  • See also Flag Ceremonies

3a & 3b Leadership

  • Speak to your Boatswain and/or Crew Leader about Quarterdeck Training and serving as an activity chair.

4 Swimming Links

5a Safety Afloat

  • See pp 72 - 76 of the 'Sea Scout Manual, 11th ed.'

5b safety equipment

  • See pp 77 - 76 of the 'Sea Scout Manual, 11th ed.'

5c station bill

  • See pp 82 - 83 of the 'Sea Scout Manual, 11th ed.'

5d emergency drills

  • See pp 83 - 84 & 86 - 89 of the 'Sea Scout Manual, 11th ed.'

5e communications

  • See p 90 of the 'Sea Scout Manual, 11th ed.'

5e.vi food safety

  • See p 102 of the 'Sea Scout Manual, 11th ed.'

5f making radiotelephone calls

  • See p 91 of the 'Sea Scout Manual, 11th ed.'

5g Cooking Links

5g.ii galley fuels

  • See p 101 of the 'Sea Scout Manual, 11th ed.'

6a rope types and care

  • See pp 103 - 106 of the 'Sea Scout Manual, 11th ed.'

6b knots and hitches

6c securing, coil, flake and flemish

  • See pp 104 & 105 of the 'Sea Scout Manual, 11th ed.'

6d rope

  • See pp 103 - 106 of the 'Sea Scout Manual, 11th ed.'

10a lattitude and longitude

  • See pp 172 - 174 of the 'Sea Scout Manual, 11th ed.'

10b compass use

  • See p 175 of the 'Sea Scout Manual, 11th ed.'

10c measuring speed

  • See p 177 of the 'Sea Scout Manual, 11th ed.'

10d GMT and local time

  • See p 179 of the 'Sea Scout Manual, 11th ed.'

10e 24 hour time

  • See p 180 of the 'Sea Scout Manual, 11th ed.'

10f dead reckoning

  • See p 181 of the 'Sea Scout Manual, 11th ed.'

11a watches and bells

  • See p 203 of the 'Sea Scout Manual, 11th ed.'

11b the lookout

  • See p 204 of the 'Sea Scout Manual, 11th ed.'

11c names of relative bearings in degrees

  • See p 204 of the 'Sea Scout Manual, 11th ed.'

11e wheel and helm commands

  • See p 205 of the 'Sea Scout Manual, 11th ed.'

11f cruise log

  • See p 206 of the 'Sea Scout Manual, 11th ed.'

12 water pollution

  • See p 213 of the 'Sea Scout Manual, 11th ed.'
  • Requirement 18b: Flag semaphore signal schema Image:Pdficon small.gif (206K PDF) A diagram of flag semaphore signal actions and meanings in arm position order; action sequence required to send and receive a complete message; posing instructions for signaler. (Rev. 2, 3/10)

Related awards

Aquatic-related awards

See also

External links

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