Re: LEADERSHIP OBJECTIVE OF SEA SCOUTING
Fri, 28 Feb 97 08:21:52 EST
There are several BSA policy statements that are at work
"Guide to Safe Scouting"
<http://www.usscouts.org/g2ssII.html#RTFToC4>. Note specifically the
section on 'Safety Afloat'
"BSA Safe Boating/Sailing Standards"
"Cruise Plan for Sea Explorer Ships and Explorer Posts"
To my knowledge, these three publications are the most relevant to
this discussion (apart from the "Sea Exploring Manual").
I cite specifically from the "Guide for Safe Scouting":
All activity afloat must be supervised by a mature and
conscientious adult age 21 or older who understands and knowingly
accepts responsibility for the well-being and safety of youth members
in his or her care, who is experienced and qualified in the
particular watercraft skills and equipment involved in the activity,
and who is committed to compliance with the nine points of BSA Safety
Afloat. One such supervisor is required for each ten people, with a
minimum of two adults for any one group. All supervisors must
complete BSA Safety Afloat and Safe Swim Defense training, and at
least one must be certified in CPR. (It is strongly recommended that
all units have at least one adult or older youth member currently
certified as a BSA Lifeguard to assist in the planning and
conduct of all activity afloat.)
All persons participating in unit activity afloat on the open
water must be trained and practiced in craft handling skills, safety,
and emergency procedures.
1.All persons planning to participate in unit activity on
white water must complete special training conducted by an Aquatics
Instructor, BSA, or qualified equivalent.
2.Powerboat operators must complete state certification and
be able to meet requirements for the Motorboating merit badge or
equivalent (American Red Cross, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Coast Guard
Auxiliary, or U.S. Power Squadron).
3.Except for white water and power-boat operation as noted
above, a minimum of three hours' training and supervised practice or
fulfilling the requirements for basic handling tests is required for
all unpowered craft."
... and from "BSA Safe Boating/Sailing Standards":
"2. Adult leaders operating BSA boats shall complete the basic
boating safety course from one of the following local organizations:
"U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary
U.S. Power Squadrons
American Red Cross
Boating safety course qualified by your State Boating Law
Administrator. Equivalent training or experience gained from
participating in sailing or small boat programs i.e., U.S. Navy, U.S.
Coast guard, or Merchant Marine Academies USCG Operator's License.
"To find a conveniently-located boating safety course, call the
BOAT/U.S. Foundation for Boating Safety's toll-free Course Line,
I won't attempt to explain to summarize these BSA policy
statments. There's a lot behind them and it would take me about a
half an hour of lecture to make it all clear.
That having been said, it has always been BSA's goal to see
the Sea Scout take charge of his/her boat to the fullest extent
possible. Note the revised Quartermaster requirement 6 coming into
effect this year which states:
"6. Boats: Demonstrate and teach the Motor boating merit badge. Know
the principles of springing in and out from a dock, from both bow and
stern, using an engine depending on the type of craft used by your
"Take charge of the craft used by your ship, or suitable powered
craft and give all necessary commands to the crew while coming
alongside and getting under way in several situations of wind and
and even more significantly Quartermaster requirement 12:
"12. Cruising: Take command of a vessel with a crew of not less than
four Sea Explorers for at least 48 hours (including two consecutive
nights). Do no work while in command. You must delegate all duties
and supervise only. During the cruise complete the following:
1.Inspect the vessel for required equipment.
2.Supervise menu preparation.
3.Prepare the boat to get underway with proper checklist.
4.Anchor, dock, and maintain course by commands to the helmsman.
5.Remain underway for at an extended period during darkness.
Discuss appropriate nighttime running procedures.
6.While underway perform man overboard, damage control, abandon
ship, fire fighting, collision drills, and any other drills used by
"During this cruise no substantial errors may be committed.
"A competent adult leader should grade and observe this requirement
and, if necessary for safety reasons, take command of the vessel."
It is certainly the National Sea Exploring Committee's wish
that Sea Scouts be given opportunities to develop their seamanship
skills, including those of commanding vessels while underway. That
is also consistent with the training that we all received in Explorer
Leader Basic Training and Sea Explorer Leader Specialized Training
To my knowledge there is no plan on changing what has always
been this basic operating assumption of Sea Scouting. As always, due
care should be exercised in operating vessels, and no adult should
ever place his/her Scouts in a position in which he/she has concerns
for the health and safety of the Scouts. Even if a Seaman
Quartermaster is in command of the vessel, ultimately the adult in
charge is responsible for the safe operation of the boat.
I apologize for the concerns that were raised by this thread
on Seascout-Net. The thread grew out of a private discussion between
a couple of Sea Explorer leaders that basically was of the "How much
to we let the Scouts do?" vein. That having been said, I think this
discussion has been very interesting and, I hope, useful to all.
I apologize for the length of this post, but Mark's
thoughtful questions brought up a number of issues that deserved and
Wishing you smooth sailing,
Commodore, Sea Exploring
Northeast Region, BSA
* Bruce Chr. Johnson 202-707-1652 (Voice) *
* Commodore, Sea Exploring 202-707-3959 (Fax) *
* Northeast Region, B.S.A. *
* 6148 Llanfair Drive firstname.lastname@example.org *
* Columbia, MD 21044-3829 USA *
* Sea Exploring Home page: *
* http://www.sea.scouter.com *
* ==> The preceding message does not represent the official <== *
* ==> position of my employer, nor does it necessarily represent <== *
* ==> the position of the Boy Scouts of America. <== *