Sea Scouts has been a part of BSA since 1912 and has a long maritime tradition. While it’s among the smaller programs within BSA it makes an impact on Boater’s education and training. In February of 2022, the program advancement requirements were enhanced to include advancement options for paddle craft units such as kayaking, canoeing, and white-water rafting. The growing popularity of paddle craft and SCUBA Ships brought proactive changes which were more inclusive to a variety of Ships with the release of errata 6.
Ships are youth lead and adults serve as guides and mentors, as the program is targeted to youth ages 14-21. With the heart of the program focusing on boaters’ safety and education training combined with hands-on adventure, partnerships through memorandums of understanding have been developed with organizations such as the America’s Boating Club (ABC) also known as United States Power Squadron (USPS), the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary (USCGA), and the American Canoe Association (ACA).
An important training for both youth and adult leaders is the NASBLA Boaters Safety Education Training. There are a variety of certifications one can attain from a free on-line course to a 16-hour hands-on training offered through US Power Boating. NASBLA is a United States non-profit organization which works to establish public policy for recreational boaters’ safety. State approved NASBLA boaters’ safety education courses are utilized within the Sea Scout program. Everyone ages 14 and above are encouraged to take a NASBLA Boaters Safety Education Training Course and referred to the appropriate state boating laws for the state in which they reside. For advancement, a NASBLA Boaters Safety Education Course satisfies Sea Scout Advancement requirement Ordinary 15. Once completed, the course is then recorded in the adult leader training records under Boating Safety (P47) and under Sea Scout Advancement Ordinary 15 requirement. The following links are resources to take an NASBLA Boaters Safety Education Training Course for free or for a small fee. Training and safety are essential for being on the water.
NASBLA – http://nasbla.org is the national association of state boating law administrators is a national nonprofit, 501(c) 3 organization that works to develop public policy for recreational boating. NASBLA represents the recreational boating authorities of all 50 states and the U.S. territories.
BoatUS – https://www.boatus.org/free/ the Boat US foundation offers a free-online NASBLA approved boaters safety education course. The course is self-paced, and Boat US does accept donation to help defray the cost. A pocket size plastic card can be ordered on-line to keep on you while boating. It’s highly recommended to order the card for verification of course completion.
USPS – https://www.usps.org the United States Power Squadron (USPS) has a long-standing partnership with BSA and supports Sea Scouting through training and education. USPS is also known as America’s Boating Club (ABC). Youth membership is encouraged, and Sea Scouts can be a member for $12.00 which also satisfies a Sea Scout elective Level 1 requirement. Sea Scouts who complete both Boat Handling and Marine Navigation can earn a Level 2 Elective. The NASBLA Boaters Safety Education course is listed as America’s Boating Course and the link is https://www.americasboatingcourse.com. The course can be taken in-person or online. The online cost is $34.99. The website allows for one to search for an in-person class or register for the online course.
USPS also offers the opportunity to earn one of the most prestigious Sea Scout Awards, which is the United States Power Squadron Sea Scout Service Award for both youth and adults. To be eligible for the award as a youth, one must be a member of the USPS, attain advanced grade of Pilot ‘P,’ earn at least two USPS merit marks, and as a Sea Scout be a Quartermaster Award Recipient, serve in a leadership role as a Sea Scout, and plan, organize, a Sea Scout/USPS joint civic, educational, boating, and/or social activity. Adult leader recipients must obtain additional requirements as outlined by the USPS and can be found on the USPS website listed above.
USCG Auxiliary – https://www.cgaux.org offers an eight-hour Boat America course that varies in cost and duration per location and by flotilla. Courses can be identified by entering the zip code search on the USCG Auxiliary website.
US Powerboating – https://www.uspowerboating.com offer’s a 16-hour hands-on boaters safety education training course. This is the premier boater’s safety education course as it’s one of the only ones that offers individual or group on-the-water instruction with the exam following course completion.
Be prepared! Take a NASBLA Boaters Safety Education Course before getting on the water and challenge a friend to take it with you.
See you on the Water!