Sea Scouting is a branch of Scouting: “A good Sea Scout is a good Scout” and makes the same Promise and keeps the same Scout Law, and at the same time is keen on the sea. The Scout Badge, and Achievement Awards are so designed that if properly taught they are all good seamanship.
Sea Scouts learn to be quick with their hands, they learn to look after boats and their gear, how to scrape and paint them, and to do small repairs. They also learn that they must be able to do their tests under practical conditions; they find that it is no good only knowing how to make a bend or a hitch in the comfort of their Headquarters; they may find themselves in a boat in the dark, hanging on with one hand, and having to make fast the boat with their one free hand. Or find that they must be able to signal over a distance, perhaps from a small boat which is pitching and tossing, and above all they find that you must do a job well and truly the first time, for very often there is no second chance in Sea Scouting.
Boat work is only one side of Sea Scout training, but it is a most important one. There is probably no exercise in the world which will develop body and muscles in the way that boat pulling will, while the skill required and the thrill of sailing even a small dinghy need to be experienced to be realised. More important still, while boating is obviously fun, it is no place for stupidity. Sea Scouts must quickly understand that, especially in a boat, discipline is very necessary, and every order of the coxswain must be obeyed at once if the utmost enjoyment is to be had by all the crew.
The observance of the Scout Law is just as important on water as it is on land, and if all the parts of the Law are related to whatever activity is taking place at the time, it will be clearly seen that boating, without the Scout Law, is just “not on” for a Sea Scout.
The aim of all Scout training is to produce decent God-fearing citizens and Leaders, while Sea Scouting in addition fosters the love of the sea.
The saying that “A good Sea Scout is a good Scout” is true because the only difference between a Scout and a Sea Scout is that a Sea Scout does most of his Scouting on the water. This does not absolve a Sea Scout from knowing all about Scouting on the land; in fact, a Sea Scout should be amphibious—equally at home on land and water.
Sea Scouts learn the Seafarers way of making the bends and hitches of the Scout Achievement tests and their uses at sea; they learn about the mariner’s compass and the tides; why it is necessary for seafarers to know first aid, necessary a keenly developed sense of observation is to the sailor.
Lord Baden-Powell’s brother Warington, under, whose guidance Sea Scouting originally developed, had this to say:
“Joining the Sea Scouts does not mean that you are going to take up the sea professionally; it means that you are going to make boating, sailing, camping, fishing, sailoring, and watermanship your pastime for your spare time and holiday. As you go on you will see how useful Sea Scouts may be as Scouts, and also how useful the training is for life after you are no longer a Scout, you may then so like the sea as to take up that profession absolutely, or you may join the Naval Volunteer Reserve, or a local Yacht Club, but in any event, after the Sea Scout as a youth, you will know that as an adult you are a more useful citizen to your country than one who knows nothing beyond their own trade or business.”
This Sea Scout Handbook is especially written to guide Scouts equipped with the Standard 5.2 m Cutter and the “Sunburst” sailing dinghy and this means mainly Sea Scout Troops. It should be read in conjunction with other Scout Handbooks.
In the last few years, we have seen the development of a new 5.2 m cutter made of glass-reinforced plastic. It will be the training boat of the future and will make competition between Sea Scout Groups very keen.
Since 1988 girls have been able to join with boys in Scouts and take part in all the varied activities including boating.