Able Sea Scout Rank emblem

Able Sea Scout

These are the requirements before they were REVISED effective with the release of the 2010 edition of the Sea Scout Manual (33239)

To see the current requirements, Click here.


  1. Organize and conduct two impressive opening ceremonies and two impressive closing ceremonies for your ship.
    Reference: See "Opening and Closing Ceremonies" on page 25.
  2. Demonstrate and explain the proper etiquette for boarding a Sea Scout vessel, landship, and naval vessels. Explain and demonstrate when and where to display the U.S. ensign, ship, and signal flags on a Sea Scout, Coast Guard, or Naval vessel.
    Lead your ship in a discussion of how the sea history of our nation has contributed to our way of life.

Active Membership

  1. Attend at least 75 percent of your ship meetings and special activities for one year.
    Note: Check with your ship's yeoman.
  2. Serve effectively either as an elected petty officer of your ship or as the chair of a major ship activity.
  3. Prepare and present a 15-minute program on Sea Scouting before a Boy Scout troop, Venturing crew, Venturing Officers' Association meeting, school class, or other youth group. Some of the time should be used to describe the activities of your ship, with time allowed for questions and discussion of Sea Scouting.

Special Skills

  1. Boats:
    • Know and use a customized equipment checklist for your vessel. Learn and demonstrate your ability to properly operate a boat equipped with an outboard motor of not more than 25 horsepower. Included should be proper mounting of the motor, fueling, manual starting, leaving a dock, maneuvering, coming alongside, and securing the motor (including flushing if in salt water). Some states require an operator's license for outboard motor operations. Secure such a license, if required, before meeting this requirement.
    • Locate the capacity plate required to be affixed to all newer small boats. Show how to compute the safe loading capacity for a small boat.
  2. Marlinspike Seamanship:
    • Submit an eye splice, short splice, and a palm-and-needle whipping. Know the names and functions of lines used to secure a vessel to a dock. Understand and execute docking commands used in handling lines on your ship's main vessel.
    • Describe the parts of a block and how blocks are sized. Demonstrate the various types of tackle used by your ship.
    • Submit a flat seam, round seam, and grommet eye sewn in canvas or Dacron. Describe how each is used in the care of sails.
  3. Ground Tackle:
    • Identify a capstan or windlass and explain its use in handling line, wire rope, or chain. Identify and explain the fittings used to handle chain. Describe the various kinds of anchor rode and the advantages of each type.
      Describe the methods of marking chain. Understand and execute the commands used in handling ground tackle.
    • Identify and explain the use of the following: thimble, shackle, turnbuckle, pelican hook, sister hook, and other ship's hardware and fittings commonly used aboard your craft. Describe how each is sized.
      Note: See ship's officers for identification of the hardware and fittings on your ship's main vessel.
  4. Piloting:
    • Understand the system of aids to navigation employed in your area, including buoys, lights, and daymarks, and their significance and corresponding chart symbols. Read in detail a National Ocean Service chart, preferably for the area normally cruised by your ship, identifying all marks on it. Explain the use of tide tables, current tables, light lists, and how to update a chart using the Notice to Mariners.
    • Describe the deck log kept aboard your ship's principal craft. Keep a complete log for three cruises.
    • While on the water, determine a fix of your position from three or more visual bearings and plot this position on a chart.
      Note: This is difficult to do in small sailing or power craft. Arrange for a larger, more stable craft if needed. Check with your ship's officers.
  5. Swimming: Meet the requirements for the Lifesaving merit badge.
  6. Cruising: Make a long cruise (two weeks) after becoming Ordinary. Earn the Long Cruise badge.
  7. Safety:
    • Know and put into practice the rules for fire prevention. Conduct a fire safety inspection of the craft normally used by your ship or of your ship's meeting place. Note any fire hazards and report them to your ship's petty officers.
    • Know the different kinds of fire extinguishing agents and how each works. Know the classes of fires and the type of fire extinguisher that may or may not be used for each. In a safe place under adult supervision, demonstrate the extinguishing of class A and class B fires with an approved fire extinguisher. See that the fire extinguisher used is properly recharged or replaced.
  8. First Aid: Meet the requirements for First Aid merit badge or American Red Cross Standard First Aid. Obtain CPR certification. Demonstrate the Heimlich maneuver and tell when it is used.
  9. Rules of the Road: Explain and demonstrate a working knowledge of the nautical rules of the road that govern the local waters used by your ship's principal craft. Explain and demonstrate ship's lights, rules in limited visibility, whistle signals, and right of way, including exceptions vessels. Describe special lights and day shapes deployed on the following vessels: not under command; restricted by ability to maneuver; constrained by draft; fishing (trawling); sailboat.
  10. Navigation:
    • Understand the systematic division of the earth's surface by latitude and longitude. On Mercator charts, place the coordinates of maritime positions and locate positions on charts when furnished with coordinates.
    • Demonstrate your ability to fix your position by the following methods: lines of positions on two known objects, running fix, and estimated position.
    • Discuss the method for establishing a radar fix. Lay a course and execute it using dead reckoning.
    • Establish distance from a known object using "double the angle on the bow" and explain how to set a danger angle.
    • Discuss how GPS (Global Positioning System) operates, the purpose of way points, and the use of set and drift.
      Note: If this requirement cannot be met under way, the skills should be demonstrated using charts of the ship's normal cruising area.
  11. Boat Maintenance:
    • Know how and why to use marine enamel, varnish, and synthetic coatings for both topsides and underbodies of boats. Demonstrate the proper surface and coating preparation, coating techniques, care of stored coatings, and cleaning of brushes. Explain any special techniques needed for the maintenance and repair of fiberglass hulls and decks.
    • Know the names, uses, sizes, and proper care of the common hand tools used aboard your craft.
      Note: Consult your ship's petty officers and the marine supplier or maintenance people in your area with which your ship does business for information on the above.
  12. Electives: Do any three of the following.
    Note: Many ships place emphasis on differing skills because of the nature of their programs. Check with your ship's petty officers before selecting electives to assure that they will be consistent with the ship's program.
    1. Sailing: While in command of a crew of not less than two other persons, demonstrate your ability to sail a sloop or another suitable boat correctly and safely over a triangular course (leeward, windward, reaching marks) demonstrating beating, reaching, running, an d the proper commands.
    2. Boats: Teach and command a crew under oars using a boat pulling at least four oars single- or double-banked. Perform the following maneuvers: get under way, maneuver ahead and back, turn the boat in its own length, dock, and secure.
    3. Radio: Demonstrate the correct procedures to transmit and receive radiotelephone distress (Mayday), urgency (Pan), and safety (Security) messages, as well as normal traffic.
    4. Drill: Demonstrate your ability to give and execute commands in close-order drill.
    5. Engines:
      • Understand the safe and proper procedures for gasoline and diesel inboard engines, including: fueling, prestarting checks, ventilation, starting, running, periodic checks while running, securing, postoperative checks, and keeping an engine log.
      • If possible, demonstrate using the type of engine (gasoline or diesel) aboard the craft you most frequently use. Understand and demonstrate the preventive maintenance schedule recommended by the manufacturer.
      • Demonstrate basic knowledge of troubleshooting.
    6. Yacht Racing: Demonstrate your understanding of the shapes, flag hoists, gun, and horn signals used in sailboat racing as well as a working knowledge of the racing rules of the International Sailing Federation.
      Serve as helmsman, with one or more additional crew members, of a sloop-rigged or other suitable boat with a spinnaker in a race sailed under ISAF racing rules.
    7. Sea History: Know the highlights of sea history from the earliest times to the present. Include the evolution of boat construction and propulsion, important voyages of exploration and development, the origin of sea traditions, and leaders of U.S. sea history and their achievements.
    8. Ornamental Ropework: Demonstrate your ability to fashion the following items of ornamental ropework: four-strand turk's head, coach whipping, cockscombing, round braid, flat sennit braid, wall knot, and crown knot. Make a useful item such as a bos'n's call lanyard, rigging knife lanyard, bell rope, etc., or decorate some portion of your ship's equipment such as a stanchion, rail, lifeline, tiller, etc., as an example of your work.
    9. Specialty Proficiency: Do one of the following: become a certified scuba diver; become proficient in windsurfing, surfing, kayaking, or whitewater rafting/canoeing.

Source : Sea Scout Manual (#33239C), 2002 Edition

For more details on Sea Scouting,
including References, and Web References for the requirements shown above,
see the official Sea Scouting Web Site, at

Page updated on: November 28, 2017

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