The New Century of Sea Scouts

It is time to focus on the New Century of Sea Scouts. The Sea Scout Centennial was a great success, with over 45 Centennial events celebrating our first 100 years.

Sea Scouts celebrated a Centennial because of the work of dedicated leaders such as Arthur Astor Carey, Thomas J. Keane, Carl D. Lane and William Menninger. How did they succeed? How can we learn from them as we sail into the future?

The first true growth of Sea Scouts started in 1924 when Thomas Keane became the National Director of Sea Scouts. His first mention in the National Reports is very humble. They did not know what the following 16 years would bring.


The 1924 National Report, where Thomas J Keane is first mentioned.

Reviewing the National Reports from the 1920s to 1948, there is a definite formula of success we can look to for inspiration. So what did they do?

The National Sea Scout Committee identified several key issues in 1927, specifically:

The organization of Regions and Councils;

Training of Sea Scout leaders before registration of Sea Scout Ships;

Strong institutional backing be required for each Sea Scout Ship registered; and

Great emphasis placed on safety precautions.

The leaders of the 1920s and 1930s went to work building the future. New volunteers were required. Ships, Councils, Regions and National all worked together with Sea Scouts being an integrated part of the Boy Scouts of America. The results in growth were extremely successful.

Sea Scout Growth over a 6 year period of time.

Sea Scout Growth over a 6 year period of time.

How can we build a bright future in our New Century?

We must develop training material for volunteers, strengthen council relations and leverage technology to further both goals. We must never forget out primary objective: providing maritime opportunities for youth.

Council Development

We are developing materials to help councils executives and district executives understand the Sea Scout program. Due to the small numbers of Sea Scouts (less than 7,000), many do not understand the Sea Scout program. We have one presentation that volunteers can use to explain Sea Scouts to Council Executive Boards or Districts here for download. Another is available on YouTube:

Sea Scouts can help Boy Scout Councils & Districts with 1) the retention of older Boy Scouts; 2) retention of Boy Scouts who have “Eagled out” of their Troop; 3) provide opportunities for youth who were never Boy Scouts; and 4) provide new opportunities for young women to join Sea Scouts. Women make up 51% of the populations and we would be remissed to not highlight this recruiting opportunity.

Sea Scouts can build lasting partnership with Boy Scout Troops by becoming “Nautical” Merit Badge Counselors, hosting Cub Cruises and inviting Boy Scout Troops to see Sea Scout activities. Sea Scout leaders should also attend monthly district meetings. Having a Sea Scout leader serve on Council Committees such as Marketing, Aquatics and Risk Management are also ways to integrate with council operations.

Training for Adult Volunteers

Sea Scout leaders should all attend Sea Scout Basic Leader Training either before starting a Sea Scout Ship or shortly after joining one. Additional skills can be gained from Seabadge and Seabdge Underway.

We also must look ahead and leverage technology to increase training opportunities. These can include webinars, recorded video on YouTube and podcasts. Topics could cover recruiting best practices, specific pointers on teaching requirements such as Navigation or Rules of the Road to Sea Scouts, insurance requirements or how to prepare a vessel feasibility report when considering the acquisition of a new boat. There are many other topics that need to be covered for new and current volunteers.

The Second Star on the Right

Arthur Astor Carey started Sea Scouts based on the goal of providing opportunities for youth. Thomas J. Keane truly forged a 100 year program with competent professionals who knew how to train adults to empower youth. Our responsibility is to continue what Carey and Keane built, leveraging technology to provide new opportunities to Sea Scouts.

If you would like to help develop training materials, prepare white papers and create other content to help build our program, please contact us on the form below and state how you would like to help.


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