Sea Scout Electives

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The Sea Scout ranks of Ordinary, Able, and Quartermaster require sea scouts to complete various electives. Electives must be chosen within sepcific tiers. Each elective below is preceded by its tier level.

Sea Scout Electives requirements

  • Ordinary: Choose any three electives.
  • Able: Choose any four additional electives, level 2 or higher.
  • Quartermaster: Choose any four additional electives, level 3 only
1. Attend National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT).
Attend National Advanced Youth Leadership Experience (NAYLE).
Attend Wood Badge (youth 18 and over).
Attend Powder Horn (youth 14 and over).
Duty to God
1. Participate in two appropriate interfaith Scout’s Own religious services during ship outings.
Plan and conduct two appropriate Scout's Own interfaith religious services during ship outings.
Complete the requirements for the religious emblem of your faith. (Refer to the Duty to God brochure, No. 05-897A 512-879.
1. In a cat-rigged or similar small vessel, demonstrate your ability to sail single-handedly a triangular course (leeward, windward, and reaching marks). Demonstrate beating, reaching, and running. A qualified sailing instructor should observe this requirement.
While leading a crew of not less than two other persons, demonstrate your ability to sail a sloop or another suitable vessel correctly and safely over a triangular course (leeward, windward, reaching marks), demonstrating beating, reaching, running, and the proper commands.
Know the principles of handling a schooner, ketch, yawl, or other suitable sailing vessel. Under competent oversight, take charge of a crew and demonstrate your ability to handle a suitable sailing vessel in all points of sail.
1. Join the American Canoe Association (ACA) or an ACA Paddle America Club.
Take a course from an ACA certified instructor.
Complete the requirements for one of the following: Boardsailing BSA, Kayaking BSA, or Stand Up Paddling BSA (sic), or the Kayaking, Whitewater, or Canoeing merit badge. (Note: This must be a different activity from the one chosen under Level 1 Electives – Specialty Proficiency.)
Compete in a freestyle, downriver, flatwater or slalom paddling race in a canoe, kayak, or Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP), using nationally accepted rules.
Successfully complete an ACA level one or higher assessment in canoe, kayak or SUP.
Complete an ACA level 3 or higher swiftwater rescue course.
Earn ACA instructor certification in canoe, kayak or SUP at any level.
Complete the Scout Leader Watercraft Safety Course. Conduct a watercraft safety class for your ship using Paddle Smart America materials. Identify sources of safety brochures and other materials that could be used by your ship and distribute to troops in your area or your chartered organization.
1. Teach and lead a crew under oar using a boat pulling at least four oars single- or double-banked. Perform the following maneuvers: get underway, maneuver ahead and back, turn the boat in its own length, dock, and secure.
Under competent oversight, assume the duties of navigator of your ship’s vessel. Plot its projected course between two ports at least two hours apart and cruise that course mooring to mooring handling all piloting duties. The cruise should be made in daylight hours with good visibility.
1. Describe the procedures used in yacht racing and the signals used by the race committee to start a race. Serve as a crew member in a race sailed under current International Sailing Federation Rules.
i) Demonstrate your understanding of the shapes, flag hoists, gun, and horn signals used in yacht racing as well as a working knowledge of the racing rules of the International Sailing Federation (ISAF).
ii) Serve as helmsman, with one or more additional crew members, of a sloop-rigged or other suitable boat with a spinnaker in a race sailed under ISAF racing rules.
Take charge of a crew in a race using current ISAF racing rules.
1. Perform routine maintenance on your ship’s propulsion system, including filter, spark plug, oil changes, proper fueling procedures and other routine maintenance tasks. Refer to operations manuals or your ship’s adult leaders for correct procedures and guidance.
i) Understand the safe and proper procedures for the use of gasoline and diesel inboard engines, including fueling, pre-start checks, ventilation, starting, running, periodic checks while running, securing, postoperative checks, and keeping an engine log.
ii) Using the type of engine aboard the vessel you most frequently use, demonstrate your understanding of basic troubleshooting and the preventive maintenance schedule recommended by the manufacturer.
i) Explain the principal features of steam turbine, turboelectric, direct reversing diesel, diesel-electric, gas turbine, nuclear, gasoline, and diesel engines and the relative advantages of each type.
ii) Explain the operation of spark ignition and compression ignition for internal combustion engines used aboard small vessels.
iii) Demonstrate your familiarity with the engine aboard the vessel used by your ship, including its principles of operation, fuel, lubrication, cooling and electrical systems, and their component parts.
iv) Demonstrate your ability to locate and correct minor engine troubles according to the engine manufacturer’s troubleshooting guide.
Vessel Maintenance
Demonstrate your proficiency and knowledge of fiberglass repair and gel coating while working on your ship’s vessel or other similar vessel.
Demonstrate your knowledge of small paddlecraft construction by building your own or assisting in building a canoe or kayak from wood, fiberglass, or other suitable materials. Kits may be used.
Take charge of reconditioning or overhauling at least one of your ship’s vessels, or take charge of hauling out the principal vessel used by your ship. In either case, lay out a plan of the work to be done in advance, including an estimate of the materials, tools, cost, and time involved.
Take charge of building a paddlecraft. Lay out the plan of work to be done, identify suitable building plans, estimate materials, tools, cost, and time involved. Launch the craft.
i) Know and demonstrate the correct method of rescuing a person in contact with a live wire.
ii) Understand the construction of simple battery cells. Demonstrate the proper care of storage batteries.
iii) Explain the difference between direct current and alternating current and the best uses for each.
iv) Demonstrate that you know how to replace fuses, reset circuit breakers, and properly splice shipboard electric cable.
v) Submit a diagram of the electrical system aboard the vessel used by your ship.
vi) Explain wire tables, the current-carrying capacity of circuits, and the hazards and prevention of electrical overloading.
vii) Explain electrolysis as applied to the deterioration of a boat’s underwater fittings by galvanic action and its prevention.
Demonstrate your ability to splice and handle wire rope, attach wire rope fittings, and complete a safety and tuning inspection of a vessel.
Specialty Proficiency
Complete the requirements for one of the following: Boardsailing BSA, Kayaking BSA, or Stand Up Paddling BSA (sic), or the Kayaking, Whitewater, or Canoeing merit badge. (Note: This must be a different activity from the one chosen under Level 1 Electives – Paddlecraft.)
Become a certified scuba diver or become proficient in boardsailing, surfing, kayaking, or whitewater rafting/canoeing.
Teach another Sea Scout the information needed to complete the BSA Kayaking, Canoeing or Whitewater merit badge or the SUP or Boardsailing award
Ornamental Ropework
1. Make a three-strand Turk’s head and a three-strand monkey’s fist. Using either ornamental knot, make up a heaving line.
Demonstrate your ability to fashion the following items of ornamental ropework: four-strand Turk's head, coach whipping, cockscombing, round braid, flat sennit braid, wall knot, and crown knot. Make a useful item such as a boatswain's lanyard, rigging knife lanyard, bell rope, etc., or decorate a portion of your ship’s equipment such as a stanchion, rail, lifeline, tiller, etc.
Maritime Tradition
1. Boatswain Call: Demonstrate your ability to use a boatswain’s pipe by making the following calls—word to be passed, boat call, veer, all hands, pipe down, and piping the side.
1. Drill: Demonstrate your ability to execute commands in close-order drill.
Maritime History: Describe the highlights of maritime history from the earliest times to the present. Include the evolution of vessel construction and propulsion, important voyages of exploration and development, the origin of maritime traditions, and the achievements of notable maritime leaders in U.S. sea history.
Drill: Demonstrate your ability to give and execute commands in close-order drill.
Celestial Navigation:
i) Explain how the sextant works. Show how to use it and demonstrate measuring horizontal angles and altitudes.
ii) Find latitude by the altitude of Polaris or by the sun’s altitude at local apparent noon. Demonstrate how longitude is determined.
iii) Demonstrate finding error in the boat’s compass by the sun’s azimuth.
Drill: Demonstrate your ability to handle the ship’s company in close-order drill. Do all required maneuvers.
Communication: Draw the International Code flags and pennants from memory and give the single-letter meanings (Alpha = Have diver down, keep clear) of the flags. Show how to use the book International Code of Signals.
United States Coast Guard Auxiliary
1. Be inducted as a Basic Qualified member of a United States Coast Guard Auxilliary flotilla.
Successfully complete either the Coast Guard Auxiliary Boating Skills and Seamanship or Sailing Skills and Seamanship course. All core sessions, as well as at least three elective sessions, must be completed to fulfill this requirement.
Successfully complete the Coast Guard Auxiliary Weekend Navigator course.
Join a local Coast Guard Auxiliary flotilla as a Basic Qualified member and qualify for any Operational Auxiliary Program (AUXOP) or any Trident Marine Safety specialty rating.
United States Power Squadrons
1. Be inducted as a member of your local USPS Squadron.
As a member of the United States Power Squadrons complete the Seamanship and Piloting courses.
As a member of the United States Power Squadrons complete the Advanced Piloting course.
Complete any Nova Award.
Complete any Supernova Award.

The official source for the information shown in this article or section is:
Sea Scout Manual, 12th edition, ISBN 978-0-8395-3239-2, 2016 Edition (BSA Supply SKU #620543)

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