Sea Scouting Becomes an Official Program of the Boy Scouts of America

Almost from the start of the Scouting program in the US in 1910, the issue of the "older boy problem" arose.

The age of Boy Scouts ran from 12 to 17. There was always a problem of how to keep the older, high school age boys interested. What might interest the 12 and 13 year old might bore the 15 or 16 year old. Even B.P. recognized this and started to establish specific programs for older boys in England. The first of the older boy, or "Senior Scout", programs created was Sea Scouts with a manual written by B-P's older brother. This program was adopted early on by the BSA in 1912. Later on, other programs were added in the US, most under the umbrella of the Senior Scout program of the 1935 and afterwards. Some of these, like Rovers, were picked up from B-P, others home grown.

Sea Scouting is a part of the Venturing program that the Boy Scouts of America offers for young men and women. Along with Cub Scouting for younger boys and Boy Scouting for older boys, Venturing and Sea Scouting provide a program for religious, fraternal, educational, and other community organizations to use for effective character, citizenship, and mental and personal fitness training for youth. As part of this training, Sea Scouts are expected to develop personal religious values, learn the principles of American heritage and government, and acquire skills that will prepare them to become successful adults.

Sea Scouting is the BSA's implementation of the Sea Scout program, initially developed in 1910 by Warington Baden-Powell in England. The founders of Sea Scouting in the United States are Arthur A. Carey of Waltham, Massachusetts and Charles T. Longstreth of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Both leaders independently established Sea Scout groups in the summer of 1912. This accomplishment was recorded in the inaugural issue of Scouting.

The advancement scheme for Sea Scouts places an initial emphasis on nautical skills before encouraging the youth to take a major role in planning activities in the unit. Young men and women ages fourteen through twenty-one who are willing to abide by the requirements of BSA membership, including agreeing to live by the ideals expressed in the Sea Promise, Scout Oath, and Scout Law are eligible to join a Sea Scouting ship. Ships are administered by volunteers with the assistance and support of some paid professional staff.

Sea Promise

As a Sea Scout, I promise to do my best
To guard against water accidents;
To know the location and proper use of the lifesaving devices on every boat I board;
To be prepared to render aid to those in need and;
To seek to preserve the motto of the sea, "Women and children first."”

— Sea Scout Manual