Sea Scouts (Scouting Ireland)

Sea Scouts (Scouting Ireland)

Infobox WorldScouting
name =Sea Scouts (Gasógacht Mhara)

image-size =
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type =section
owner =Scouting Ireland
age =11–17
headquarters =
location =
country =Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland
coords =
f-date =
defunct =
founders =
founder =
award-for =
members =
chiefscouttitle =
chiefscout =
chiefscouttitle2 =
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chiefscouttitle3 =
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website =
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next =Venture Scouts
prev =Macaoimh

Sea Scouting ( _ga. Gasógaíacht Mhara) has existed in Ireland since 1912. Currently, all Sea Scout troops in Ireland are members of the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM) through Scouting Ireland. Sea Scouting provides Scout training with and through water-borne activities.


Sea Scout Troops should have a good programme of hiking and camping expeditions as well as boating. All Sea Scout Troops should:
* 1. Have good basic Scoutcraft and water activities training.
* 2. Have the opportunity to undertake simple expeditions afloat.
* 3. Own or have the use of appropriate craft.
* 4. Have leaders well trained in water activities and in general scoutcraft.

Sea Scouting is a fully integrated and balanced programme of land and seaactivities, where the water content is essential, not optional, and where maritime tradition and atmosphere is maintained. In the Sea Scout Programme water is as important a training and activity area as woodland and mountain. Suitable craft and equipment must be available to a Sea Scout Troop.

There is a widespread notion that the term "water activities" is synonymous with "Sea Scouting". This is not so. In the context of Scouting, the term “water activities” has come to mean a wide variety of activities on or in the water, that are available to all Scouts who wish to use them as optional programme extras. The Scout Leader whose Troop would like some water activity may make arrangements to visit a Sea Scout Group, or go to a Scout or commercial Water Activity Centre for an activity session or perhaps for a training course. If a Troop wishes to participate regularly in a specific water activity, such as canoeing or dinghy sailing, it is advisable that one or more of the Scouters in the Group should become trained in that activity, or that a qualified “outsider” should be found, who would be willing to instruct in or to lead such an activity. A Troop that wishes to have more regular and structured water activity programme, fully integrated with the land programme, should consider becoming a Sea Scout Troop, or starting a Sea Scout Watch (known as a patrol by terrestrial Scouts).

Sea Scout Leaders require the same Leadership Training as other Scouters (i.e. Woodbadge Training) but also additional training in the planning and execution of a balanced programme, and practical training and experience in boatwork, boathandling, and water safety. Sea Scout Leaders should be sufficiently expert to take charge of craft and activities afloat, and must possess an appropriate Scouting Ireland Charge Certificate, or qualification of a recognised outside body.


After Baden-Powell’s book [ "Scouting for Boys"] appeared in 1908, Scout Groups started spontaneously throughout Great Britain and Ireland. Some Groups, including 1st Dublin Troop, Boy Scouts (founded in February 1908) included boating in their programmes from the beginning, and B-P soon recognised that this was an excellent variation of the Scout programme. Sea Scouting was officially recognised in 1910, and B-P wrote the first introductory pamphlet [ "Sea Scouting for Boys"] . Later B-P asked his brother Warrington, a well known yachtsman, to write a handbook for the new section, and [ "Sea Scouting and Seamanship for Boys"] was published in 1912.

The first Sea Scout Troops in Ireland were registered in 1912, in Bray and in Ringsend (1st Dublin Troop mentioned above). Other Troops developed in Dublin in the succeeding years. In 1914 the first inter-Troop rowing race for the Wood-Latimer Cup was held. This event was the start of the Annual Sea Scout Regatta, the 90th Anniversary of which was celebrated in 2004. In 1915 the Dublin Sea Scout Troops were grouped together in the Port of Dublin Sea Scout Local Association, and they were allocated “Port of Dublin” numbers, a custom that still continues. The annual Seamanship Competition for the Fry Cup started in 1918 and also continues to the present time.

The Catholic Boy Scouts of Ireland were founded in 1927, and started a Sea Scout Section a year later, basing the organisation and programme on the Boy Scouts of America model. This was a Senior Section, over 14 years of age, and was originally intended for existing Scouts holding the First Class Badge. This condition was unrealistic and was eventually dropped. By the late 30s CBSI had about 10 Ships (Units) in the Dublin area, and Ships in Cork, Galway, Waterford and Wexford, a total of 14. The Port of Galway Ship, under its famous Skipper, Capt. Wooley, seceded from the CBSI after a couple of years and continued as an independent organisation into the 1970s.

During the 30s, the Port of Dublin Local Association had five Troops in Dublin. There was also a Troop in Bray and a Patrol in 1st Cork Troop.

The late 1940s were disastrous for Sea Scouting in Ireland. By 1948 only two BSI Troops remained — the 1st Port of Dublin (Ringsend) and the 4th Port of Dublin (Dodder), and by 1950, only 2 CBSI Ships remained – 1st Port of Dublin (Ringsend) and 4th Port of Dublin (Dollymount). Within a few years these CBSI units closed.

Then the picture in BSI (later SAI) changed, very slowly at first — from two troops in 1948, to four in 1958, twelve in 1968, thirty-eight in 1978. The first of these Troops outside Dublin was 1st Wexford (New Ross). The very rapid growth between 1968 and 1978 was a mixed blessing, and a number of troops did not survive for very long, mainly due to problems of back-up support and of maintaining adequate supply of Leaders. CBSI had an active Sea Scout Troop in Wicklow for some years in the 70s, the age range and programme being similar to that in SAI. This Troop had a number of contacts and activities with SAI Sea Scouts from Dunlaoghaire and New Ross.

In the mid 1970s the former lightship, “Albatross”, was acquired as a Sea Training Centre. This was a great boost to training and was an activity centre where troops with little equipment could send Scouts for boating experience. Unfortunately, after about 12 years excellent work, it became too expensive to maintain the vessel to a reasonable standard and she was withdrawn from service and later sold. In 1976, the Irish Sea Scout Standard Boat, the “BP 18” was designed by Kevin McClaverty, and has proved to be an excellent general purpose craft for Sea Scouts. Here we wish to record, with deep regret, that Kevin died on 6th December 2002.

In the 1980s CBSI introduced an optional Water Activity programme that could be used within any Scout Troop by a patrol or by interested individuals, but decided not to establish a Sea Scout Section or to operate Sea Scout Troops. CBSI later developed the [ National Water Activities Centre] at Killaloe on Lough Derg on the Shannon.

In 1985 SAI published a new series of handbooks covering the nautical requirements of the Sea Scout programme (Sea Training Handbooks, Parts 1 & 2), and also a Sea Scout Leaders Handbook.

ea Scout Boats

The Sea Scout Standard Boat (BP18)

During 1976 a questionnaire was sent to all Sea Scout Leaders throughout the country asking for their ideas about a Standard boat for Sea Scout use. At that time the nearest there was to a standard rowing craft was the East Coast Skiff. This was however confined to the east coast, and was considered by some to be unsuitable for their needs and comparatively expensive for a craft which could not be used for sailing also. The “Mirror” dinghy was used in some Groups for sailing instruction. The general feeling throughout the section was that we needed a boat about 18 to 20 feet long, which could carry about 5 or 6 Scouts and could be rowed or sailed. Information about other Sea Scout boats was obtained – the New Zealand Standard Boat, the British “Home Counties Gig” and the Dutch “Lelievlet”. Mr. Kevin MacLaverty, a marine architect, expressed interest in our project, and all the information that had been collected was handed over to him for study and opinion. The result was a set of plans and a model of a proposed new Irish Standard Sea Scout Boat which were presented to the Sea Scout Leaders’ Conference in Cobh in 1977. The design was for a “double-ender”, 18 feet over all, capable of being rowed with 2, 4 or 6 oars, and rigged for sail as a ketch. The conference adopted the design, and a committee was established to pursue the matter further, particularly to seek sponsorship for making the mould. This sponsorship was eventually provided by the British Petroleum Company, and therefore the class was named “BP 18”. The standard sailing rig is a Bermudan Ketch, with the jib and mainsail being the same size as those of a G.P.14.

"Details and Specifications"
* LOA: 18’ 1.5” (5.52 m)
* LWL: 15’ 0” (4.57 m)
* BEAM: 6’ 2” (1.88 m)
* DRAFT: 1’ 2” (0.35 m)
* HULL: Moulded GRP with timber topstrake, keel and bilge
* RIG: Bermudan Ketch.
* SAIL AREA: 1200 sq.ft (111.5 sq.m)

Radical Review of Sea Scouting

During the 1990s, SAI instituted a series of revisions of Sectional Programmes, and the turn of Sea Scouting came in 1998. From 1998 to 2002 a very detailed examination of Sea Scouting was undertaken, under the Chairmanship of Tommy Myler, National Commissioner for Sea Scouting. This included a country-wide survey of all Sea Scout Troops, with questionnaires for each Scout and Leader on training schemes and programmes, uniform, activities and competitions. A committee was established to examine the Sea Scout Programme in detail, using the Renewed Approach to Programme (RAP) method recommended by World Scouting. This was a lengthy process involving 9 stages, with masses of paperwork. The new programme was designed, and a new advancement Badge Scheme was devised to implement it. The new Sea Scout Programme was launched in 2002, and includes a completely revised Progress Scheme, balanced between ashore and afloat, with a wide choice of activities.

couting Ireland Sea Scout Programme

When a new member joins, they must complete the membership badge before they can be invested. The next step is the Sea Scout badge. Following this is the Boatman badge. Then the Sea Scout can move onto the Coxwain badge. The final step in the progress badge scheme is the Mariner badge.

Part of this scheme is the Chief Scouts Award which runs in parallel with the progress badges. This can be started at any stage of the progress badge scheme, as long as the Sea Scout is 14 years old or over.

To supplement the progress badge scheme, there is also an attainment badge scheme. This scheme has 14 Attainment badges - Backwoods, Camp Skills, Camping, Canoeing, Cycling, Expedition, First Aid, Hiking, Powerboating, Rafting, Rowing, Sailing, Survival, and Swimming.

The new programme was backed up with new or revised resource material.
* 1. “The Sea Scout Book” - a new handbook for youth members, covering the basic requirements for the new programme, both land and sea.
* 2. “Sea Scout Leaders Handbook” (2nd Edition) covers organisation of a Troop, programme planning and details of the Progress Scheme requirements.
* 3. “Sea Training Manual” (2nd Edition) is an updated technical manual in 7 sections, covering Boatswain’s Work, Boat Handling, Navigation and Pilotage, Collision Rules and Distress Signals, Meteorology, Communications and Inland Waterways.
* 4. “Nautical Games” is an English translation of a book published in Dutch in 2001 by the Sea Scout Department of Scouting Nederland, who very kindly allowed free use of their material.

Present Position – Sea Scouting SI in 2004 census

The present strength of Sea Scouting is 28 Troops (23 Groups), 736 Scouts. Three other Troops listed below made no census return this year (these groups are in italics). Groups are listed by Provinces in clockwise order around the coast, showing 2004 census figures. Dublin Troops are noted by “Port of Dublin” numbers.

North East Province

2 Louth (Blackrock), 16 Port (Skerries), 14 Port (Donabate), [ 9 Port (Malahide)] , 7 Port (Howth), 5 Port (Dollymount)

Dublin Metropolitan Province

1 Port (Ringsend), 4 Port (Dodder), 15 Port (Ballyfermot), 8 Port (Dunlaoghaire), "12 Port (Sandycove)", 3 Port (Dalkey),

outh-East Province

1 Wicklow (Greystones), 5 Wicklow (Bray), [ 9 Wicklow (Port of Arklow)] , 2 Wexford (Port of Wexford), 6 Wexford (Tuskar - "Rosslare Harbour"), 1 Wexford (New Ross), 1 Waterford (Port of Waterford), 2 Waterford (Dunmore East)

outhern Province

[ 4 Cork (Cobh)] , "1 Cork (Crosshaven)", 10 Cork (Monkstown), "12 Cork (Carrigaline)", 2 Kerry (Tralee)

Western Province

3rd Sligo (Rosses Point)

NB: A Sea Scout troop was established on Achill Island in 2007.

=Sea Scout Areas=Some years ago Sea Scout Area Committees were set up to coordinate boating skills and seamanship training and other boating activities, Charge Certificate training and assessments, boat inspections, competitions etc. Each Area Chairperson is a member of the National Team. Four Areas were established — East Coast, Tuskar, Fastnet and Atlantic. Atlantic Area (NW) is not functioning at present. With the new Provincial administration of SI, the Sea Scout areas have been adjusted to coincide exactly with the Provinces, and the Area committees will become Provincial Sea Scout and Water Activity advisory committees. East Coast Area covers both Northeast and Dublin Provinces and will divide into two to serve these Provinces.

ea Scout and Water Activities Team

Jan 2004 - Nov 2007

Chairperson: Brian O’Daly

Dep. Chairperson: Brian Gaule

Secretary: Kevin Rowan

Treasurer: John McKevitt

Members: Stephen Taylor (Chairperson, East Coast),Jimmy Myler (Chairperson, Tuskar),Tom McMullan (Chairperson, Fastnet),Eoghan Lavelle (Training and Safety),Stephen Coffey ( [ National Water Activities Centre] , Killaloe),Cian Ó Grádaigh (Special Projects)

From Nov 2007

Chairperson: Stephen Taylor

Secretary: Eoin McGlynn

Treasurer: John McKevitt

The Provincial chairpersons have not yet been appointed.

=Recent Work and activities=

Government Regulation

An important part of the work of the Team is to keep up to date with the various Government regulations that may have a bearing on our waterborne activities. To this end, Marine Notices, Statutory Instruments and other material from the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources are regularly inspected to ensure that information essential to our activities is circulated to leaders. The Team keeps a list of all such documents issued, and a copy of those that are relevant. The Team has also submitted material to the Department in relation to Sea Scout training and the boating Charge Certificate Scheme, and also in reply to consultation documents about Lifejackets/Buoyancy Aids, and the proposed new Passenger Boat Manning Regulations. These recent draft regulations appear to apply to many Sea Scout craft and may have important implications for our Charge Certificate Scheme.

Charge Certificates

Following from the above, the Charge Certificate Scheme is being re-examined to see if it should be brought further in line with the ISA qualifications. Equivalent standards are already recognised, and the possession of an appropriate ISA level certificate has been accepted for many years in Scouting as evidence of practical ability for a Charge Certificate. However, Scouting has been reluctant to abolish the extra theory requirements for Scout Charge Certificates, feeling that those which are useful in the Scouting context should be retained, such as boat maintenance and repair, ability to control a crew of 2, 3 or 4 rather than just one other person in a small dinghy, experience in handling the type of craft in use in Scouting, and local knowledge. (See Information leaflet No.6). Rowing Charge Certificates are not affected, because no other organisation has a training scheme for the types of craft that we use.

OLAS Regs. Chap V

In 2002, changes applying to small craft were made in the SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea Convention) Regulations. The main element of these changes relates to the importance of Passage Planning, and leaving information with an “agent” ashore. Scout Boating Rules already included these, but the changes of the international regulations now make them mandatory rather than just good practice. (See Information leaflet No.7)

Information Documents

The team has prepared a number of leaflets giving information on various aspects of Sea Scouting and Water Activities that we feel could be of interest to others in the Association. A list of these documents is given here:
* 1 – Water Activities
* 2 – Introduction to Sea Scouting
* 3 – Personal Floatation Devices
* 4 – Scouting Ireland Sea Training
* 5 – Boating Limits (Classification of Waters)
* 6 – Boating Charge Certificates
* 7 – Passage/Voyage Planning
* 8 – Sail Training in Scouting
* 9 – “Introduction to Sea Scouting” Course
* 10 - Canoeing Grades

Other such Information documents are planned for the future. The contents of the documents are kept under regular review, and they are amended as required.

Leader Training

Before the new Association was formed, SAI Leader Training included variations of Levels 2 and 4 for Sea Scout Leaders. After discussions with the Training Team, the new Leader Training Scheme includes a special Module for Sea Scout Leaders, and the possession of a Charge Certificate can still be credited.

ea Training

The SAI Sea Training Team (now replaced by “Scouting Ireland Sea Training”) has been recognised by the Irish Sailing Association since 1976 as a shorebased course provider for coastal and offshore navigation courses. In recent years [ National Water Activities Centre] , Killaloe and Dun Laoghaire Sea Scout Centre have become Irish Sailing Association recognised training centres, and Malahide Sea Scouts are in process ofobtaining recognition.

In 2002 a decision was made that new Sailing or Powerboating Instructors must be qualified ISA Instructors. At present in Scouting Ireland there are about 10 such ISA Instructors. Powerboat courses are planned for early in 2005 in Killaloe, in the Southeast and in Dublin.

We are responsible for providing our own Rowing Instructors, and the first course in Scouting Ireland for rowing Instructors was held in June 2004 in Dun Laoghaire. Further courses are planned for next year in the Southeastern and the Southern Provinces. There are 15 Rowing Instructors at present.

A consultation document on rowing craft has been sent to the Maritime Safety Directorate, with comments about recognised qualifications, drawing attention to the Scout Charge Certificate requirements. It was felt that a proactive role in this matter was required before the Department felt it necessary to impose other, perhaps unsuitable conditions. Depending on the response to our submission, we plan to invite a safety inspector to visit a rowing activity and to comment on general safety, standards, level of training and competency assessments.

Coastal and Offshore Training

For some years Scouts have been taking part in coastal and offshore cruises, often in the Irish Sail Training brigantine “Asgard II”. The Irish Institute of Master Mariners presented a trophy ten years ago for a seamanship competition for Sea Scouts. As well as the trophy, the first prize is a week on “Asgard”.

Coastal and offshore experience has also been gained in British Scout owned boats, notably “Ocean Scout” from Scouts Offshore, and “Discovery” from the London Dockland (Scout) Project, as well as “Lord Rank” from Ocean Youth Trust Northern Ireland.

Regular coastal and offshore training cruises are also held on four privately owned, Dublin based sailing vessels which are occasionally available for Sea Scout training.

At present in Sea Scouting there are 7 qualified Skippers – 5 Offshore and 2 Coastal. We are hoping to be able to get ISA recognition for Day Skipper and Competent Crew training.

In 1995, 39 Sea Scouts and Leaders from Malahide, Arklow, Waterford andCrosshaven chartered 3 sailing vessels and joined 24 other Sea Scout vessels from Norway, Denmark, Finland, Poland, UK, Belgium and Italy (transported by container), to form a “Sea Scout Armada”, sailing to visit the World Jamboree in Netherlands. About 400 Sea Scouts from 8 countries were involved.

There has been organised Sea Scout participation in the Tall Ships Races in 1998 and 1999 and in the Small Ships Races in 2002 and 2004. In 2003, as part of a sponsored cruise to raise funds for the Irish Transplant Association, about 40 Sea Scouts from Malahide, Dun Laoghaire, Bray, Greystones and Arklow participated in a coastal cruise, acting as crew in escorting vessels to the boat which was undertaking the sponsorship, each Scout staying 2-3 days on board.

In 2004 a chartered vessel crewed by Malahide Sea Scouts sailed from South of England to Brittany to take part in the Festival of the Sea at Brest, and a Venture Sea Scout Unit had a Summer Cruise to South Wales and the Bristol Channel, visiting Lundy Island.

=Troop Closures=


Clontarf - (2 Port), Reopened 1949 as Dollymount (5 Port);Dalkey - (3 Port), Reopened 1954;Dalkey - (5 Port);Dunlaoghaire - (6 Port), Reopened 1963;

TROOPS CLOSED 1968 - 1978

Hibernian Marine School - (2 Port);Dingle - (1 Kerry);Westport - (1 Mayo);Belturbet - (1 Cavan);

TROOPS CLOSED 1978 - 1988

Carlingford - (4 Louth) - later reopened;Dundalk - (8 Louth);Donore - (10 Port);Blackrock - (13 Port);Dunlaoghaire - (6 Port) - closed again;Gorey - (3 Wexford) – later reopened as a “land” Troop;Limerick - (8 Limerick);Sligo - (8 Sligo);Gaoth Dobhair - (8 Donegal);Gort a’Choirce - (9 Donegal);


Carlingford - (4 Louth) - closed again;Loughshinny - (17 Port) - later reopened;Kilbarrack - (2 Port);Limerick - (5 Limerick) – later reopened;Seville Place - (11 Port);Tarbert - (5 Kerry);Blessington - (7 Wicklow);Blackrock - (7 Cork);Bishopstown - (25 Cork);Bantry - (8 Cork);Castletownbere - (17 Cork);Galway - (2 Galway);Mullaghmore - (15 Sligo);Donegal - (10 Donegal);Killybegs - (7 Donegal);Letterkenny - (14 Donegal) – later re-opened;Athlone - (Venture Unit);Mullingar - (7 Westmeath);


Crosshaven - (1 Cork) ???;Carrigaline – (12 Cork) ???;Sandycove – (12 Port) ???;Loughshinny – (17 Port) – closed again;Letterkenny - (14 Donegal) – closed again;Limerick – (5 Limerick) – closed again;Wicklow – (4 Wicklow);Kinsale – (7 Cork);

Irish Sea Scout Uniform

Sea Scout's Uniform

Leader's Uniform

Irish Sea Scout Flags

The emblem on the ensign and pennants is the old Scouting Ireland S.A.I. emblem. When Scouting Ireland settles on a new emblem, it can only be used on the ensign and pennants "if" it meets the approval of the Chief Herald of Ireland.

The Irish Sea Scout Ensign

The Irish Sea Scout Flag

The Irish Sea Scout Pennant

The National Commissioners burgee

Externa links

* [ Sea Scouting in the USA]
* [ European Sea Scout site]
* [ Sea Scout troops in Africa]
* [ Sea Scout troops in Asia]
* [ Sea Scout troops in Europe]
* [ Sea Scout troops in the Middle East]
* [ Sea Scout troops in North America]
* [ Sea Scout troops in Oceania]
* [ Sea Scout troops in South America]

Scouting Sections
organization=Scouting Ireland
sectionA=Beaver Scouts
sectionB=Cub Scouts/Macaoimh
sectionD=Sea Scouts
sectionE=Venture Scouts

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