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SS Uniform: Arrow of Light?

I don’t see the Arrow of Light on the Sea Scout uniform guide. What are the rules/guidelines/suggestions for using the Arrow of Light Square Knot?

…for youth under 18?
…for adult/youth between 18 and 20?
…for adults 21+?

Arrow of Light Award

Arrow of Light Rank Emblem - Youth

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Scout Shop item 44

Arrow of Light Award - Adult Square Knot

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Arrow of Light Award : You might not have thought about it as a child starting out in a Cub Scout pack, but earning the Arrow of Light means you can wear the corresponding knot as an adult.”

per "Know Your Boy Scouts Square Knots, by Bryan Wendell, from the January-February 2008 issue of Scouting magazine, © 2008 Boy Scouts of America.

The Sea Scout Quartermaster used to illustrated the 2019 Official Sea Scout Uniform website and the Sea Scout Manual Appendix p. 247, is wearing square knot ribbons.
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Sea Scout Insignia Notes

p. 56 in Guide to Awards and Insignia
at seascouts.org

Notes: Knots may be worn on the Sea Scout uniform, limited to six in two rows of three. Female Sea Scouts and leaders may wear the Gold Award earned in Girls Scouts on the wearer’s left pocket flap.

Embroidered representations of metal pins may be worn. Restricted items may be obtained through the local Scout shop or the office of the national Sea Scout director.

The Sea Scout uniform is traditionally worn with limited insignia. However, other insignia, not illustrated here, may be worn as depicted elsewhere in this guide— including but not limited to national jamboree emblem, veteran unit bar, founder bar, Nova and Supernova awards, temporary insignia, service stars, attendance pin, den chief cord, Order of the Arrow insignia, Wood Badge beads, and Powder Horn.

From scouting.org website:

Notes: Knots may be worn on the Sea Scout uniform, limited to six in two rows of three.

Embroidered representations of metal pins may be worn. Restricted items may be obtained through the local Scout shop or the office of the national Sea Scout director.

The Sea Scout uniform is traditionally worn with limited insignia. However, other insignia, not illustrated here, may be worn as depicted elsewhere in this guide— including but not limited to national jamboree emblem, veteran unit bar, founder bar, Nova and Supernova awards, temporary insignia, service stars, attendance pin, den chief cord, Order of the Arrow insignia, Wood Badge beads, and Powder Horn.

Guide Identification and Copyright Information

Guide to Insignia by “Sea Scouts BSA” was uploaded to the Sea Scouts BSA web site, Jan 24, 2019.

Latest printed copy is Guide to Awards and Insignia, 33066, Boy Scouts of America, 2019 printing, SKU 648215 per the back cover posted at the Scout Shop:

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The primary BSA online copy of the Guide to Awards and Insignia appears to be the 2018 printing (as of 2019-08-22).

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Training

Sea Scouts Uniform. Launched in the BSA Learn Center, the new Sea Scout Uniform module contains the latest uniform information. Links where insignia and uniforms can be purchased are provided. The module is contained within the Sea Scout Adult Leader Basic Training learning plan.

per The Training Times, Spring 2019, p. 2.


More


Created: 2019-08-21
Updated: 2019-08-27

1 Like

This is all I could find. Doesn’t directly answer your question, but it looks like the Arrow of Light knot is not supposed to be worn by youth under the age of 18.

(Guide to Awards and Insignia, Sea Scout Insignia, page 56)
“The Sea Scout uniform is traditionally worn with limited insignia. However, other insignia, not illustrated here, may be worn as depicted elsewhere in this guide—including but not limited to national jamboree emblem, veteran unit bar, founder bar, Nova and Supernova
awards, temporary insignia, service stars, attendance pin, den chief cord, Order of the Arrow insignia, Wood Badge beads, and Powder Horn.”

(Guide to Awards and Insignia, Scouting Honors and Special Recognitions, page 65)
“Arrow of Light rank, red and green knot,
green to right, No. 5018; Scouter only.”

The Sea Scout Uniform Fact Sheet mentions:
Pocket

  • Youth Rank Insignia

Below the Pocket

  • Bar Awards, Nos. 4052 and 4053

The Arrow of Light rank patch is not mentioned on the Fact Sheet, but it looks like the Bar Awards (if earned) are worn under the left pocket.

Hi Jennifer, the square knot awards are listed in the Scout’s left-side “Over Pocket” section of the uniform fact sheet:

Over Pocket
• World Crest* No. 143- with appropriate ring insignia
• SEAL Insignia
Knots (up to six)
• BSA Authorized Suspended Medals

Bill W.

Hi Bill,

I was referring to the Arrow of Light rank patch (not the knot) at the bottom of my post.

Bill,

I believe permission to wear the Gold Award on BSA uniforms has been removed from the 2019 Guide to Awards and Insignia in all places it appeared in 2018. It seems the Sea Scout website is still linking to the 2018 Guide.

I say that I believe, because there is something odd about the links on scouting.org.

Compare what is says about the Gold Award on page 9 of this link with what it says on the same page of this link. The first link is Section 1 of the Guide as found on scouting.org. The second link is the Special Regulations subsection of the Guide found on the same scouting.org web page. According the the first link, Venturers and Sea Scouts may wear the Gold Award. The material in the second link is silent on the matter. Note that the first link says it is copyright 2018.

I think the links to the subsections were updated to point to the 2019 Guide, but the link to Section 1 still points to the 2018 Guide.

The same discrepancy exists if I use the link on scouting.org to Section 2 of the Guide. Here, we see the Gold Award approved for wear by Venturers on page 49 and by Sea Scouts on page 56. Venturers are instructed to wear the award on the right pocket flap, and Sea Scouts are instructed to wear it on the left pocket flap. On page 9 of the 2018 Guide, it says that Venturers wear the award on the left pocket flap, and it says Sea Scouts may wear it, but it doesn’t say where it should be worn. So, with respect to Venturers, pages 9 and 49 provide inconsistent guidance. Note that the link from scouting.org pointing to the Venturing Insignia subsection no longer mentions Girl Scout advancement.

Yet, the link to Section 3 of the Guide on scouting.org appears to point to the 2019 version. I base this conclusion on page 64 in that link, which limits the number of knots that may be worn on a non-Sea Scout uniform to nine. This limit first appeared in 2019 (at least, that’s the first time I noticed it being a limit rather than a suggestion). When compared to the scouting.org link to the Special Honors and Recognitions subsection, there is no difference in the rule as written on page 64.

I have my own theory about the reason for the change. There would be no reason to allow Venturers and Sea Scouts to wear the Gold Award and not allow female Scouts BSA youth members to do the same. I believe that to avoid having female Scouts BSA youth members wear the Gold Award, the powers that be decided to drop permission to wear it altogether. This isn’t the type of thing that would be announced in a Bryan on Scouting article.

Peter

Bill,

I think the Sea Scout in your photo is wearing a James E. West Fellowship Award knot, not an Arrow of Light, The knot in the photo appears to have a red border.

Peter

Paul,

The Arrow of Light knot is authorized for wear by Scouters only. For Sea Scouts, that means those 21 and older. See page 65 of the Guide to Awards and Insignia.

On page 56 of the Guide, it says:

However, other insignia, not illustrated here, may be worn as depicted elsewhere in this guide—including but not limited to national jamboree emblem, veteran unit bar, founder bar, Nova and Supernova awards, temporary insignia, service stars, attendance pin, den chief cord, Order of the Arrow insignia, Wood Badge beads, and Powder Horn.

I think the key phrase there is including but not limited to. In my opinion, leaving the Arrow of Light badge of rank off the list does not mean it is not authorized. The rule is clearly written in anticipation that there may be other insignia that simply are not listed, If they wanted to exclude the Arrow of Light, they could easily have done so. Since the Guide constitutes the primary body of rules that BSA members use to determine proper uniforming, there appears to be a “back door” that gives us a green light to walk through. It would take something like an article in Scouting magazine or a mention on a uniform inspection sheet to create a prohibition. Therefore, I think it is appropriate for a Sea Scout youth member to wear the Arrow of Light badge of rank beneath the left pocket, even past his or her 18th birthday. There is clearly no restriction on a Venturer (page 49) doing so. Therefore, this is not without precedent.

Unlike a Venturer who has no other insignia that might be worn under the left pocket, Sea Scouts may earn the Small-Boat Handler and Qualified Seaman awards, which are worn 3/8 inches below the left pocket. Since the Arrow of Light is worn immediately below the left pocket on Webelos, Scouts BSA and Venturing uniforms, I suggest that a Sea Scout do the same and, if also wearing one or both of the bar awards, wear it or them below the Arrow of Light. The Arrow of Light badge of rank is 1 inch wide, so the bar award(s) will be lower than would otherwise be the case.

That’s how I read the rules. Others may reach a different conclusion.

Thanks Peter. I was not sure on that one.
Also thank you for the detailed analysis.

1 Like

I do not believe that the Arrow of Light badge was worn on the legacy Sea Scout uniform at BSA national events.

Traditional Sea Scouting Uniforms

History: US Sea Scouts National Standard Uniform c. 1994

Legacy Traditional Sea Scout Uniforms (2016)

Sea Scout ships (units) may continue to choose to wear traditional Sea Scout uniforms.

Sea Scouts, BSA has traditionally adapted U.S. Navy uniforms for Sea Scout use. Out of respect for military regulations, it is imperative that Sea Scout uniforms be clearly distinguishable from military uniforms. When Sea Scout insignia are properly worn on the dress white and dress blue uniforms, Sea Scouts are clearly identified as such. – Sea Scout Manual, 12 ed., 2016, p. 20

Can we wear a legacy uniform?

Yes. For ships that continue to wear the legacy Sea Scout uniforms, refer to the Sea Scout Manual for proper wear. However, every Ship is encouraged to adopt The Official Sea Scout Uniform as soon as practicable. – The Official Sea Scout Uniform FAQs as of , 2019-08-27

Traditional Sea Scout Uniforms List 2016

Uniform Youth uniform Adult Uniform
Dress White Youth Dress White (Male and Female) Adult Dress White (Male and Female)
Dress Blue Youth Dress Blue (Male), Youth Dress Blue (Female) Adult Dress Blue (Male), Adult Dress Blue (Female)
Work Youth Work Chambray (Male and Female) Adult Work Khaki (Male and Female)

For traditional Sea Scout uniform components see Sea Scout Manual, 12 ed., 2016, p. 21. For “dirty work” (like painting) BSA recommends wearing old clothes.

The Official Sea Scout Uniform 2019

The Official Sea Scout uniform (originally introduced as the “New Century” Universal Sea Scout uniform in 2012)

is intended to make it easy for the members of newly formed Sea Scout ships to obtain and properly wear a uniform that identifies them as Sea Scouts. This uniform is worn by all ship members—youth and adults, male and female—and serves as both a dress uniform and a work uniform. Any Sea Scout unit may adopt this uniform. – Sea Scout Manual, 12 ed., 2016, p. 18


Post created: 2019-08-21
Post updated: 2019-08-27

Bill,

That uniform inspection sheet is quite old. While those white uniforms are still allowed, because BSA uniform items are never obsoleted (as the default rule), and many Sea Scouts may still be wearing them, they are no longer the current standard Sea Scout uniform.

The current uniform is blue and has pockets on the shirt.

On the uniform inspection sheet in the link, the example Quality Unit patch on the right sleeve is from 1994. The Quality Unit Award is a predecessor two generations before he Journey to Excellence.

The 2019-2020 national Sea Scout boatswain is pictured in a current blue Sea Scout uniform in the announcement of her election. If only white uniforms were regarded as permissible for national events, one would think the BSA would have made sure she had one for the photo.

Obviously, she is too old to have had a chance to earn the Arrow of Light, so there is no badge beneath her left pocket. She does appear to have both the Qualified Seaman and Small-Boat Handler bar awards.

Which uniform?

Traditional uniforms and newer official uniform are authorized for wear.
Note the traditional uniforms may now be difficult to obtain. For more see:

Arrow of LIght rank emblem bar

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Scout Shop item 44

My opinion: From what I can determine the Arrow of Light rank emblem, item 44, is not currently authorized for wear on the Sea Scout youth uniforms. The Sea Scout Manual, 12 ed., p. 23, specifically states which bar awards can be worn:

Left pocket: …Youth wear the badge of rank centered on the left pocket. Youth wear bar awards (Small-Boat Handler and Qualified Seaman) centered ⅜ of an inch below the pocket.

USCG Aux and Scouting Uniforms

If things are going to plan the pilot program ended 31 August 2019 and the USCG Aux/Sea Scouts program will be soon rolled-out nationally (September 2019?)

Sea Scouts who choose to join the USCG Auxiliary will have two uniforms, a Scouting uniform and a USCG Auxiliary one.
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Which uniform?

Per Sea Scouts and Coast Guard Auxiliary webinar:
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Note that Sea Scout insignia is not worn on Auxiliary uniforms, and USCG Aux insignia is not worn on Scouting uniforms.

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