Welcome! This forum has a treasure trove of great info – Scouters helping Scouters! Just a heads up, though - all content, information, and opinions shared on this forum are those of the author, not the BSA.

Scouting Forums

Youth/Adult Uniform Help ~

Hey All,

Just like my other post in the Scouts BSA forum, I have some questions regarding the construction of a Sea Scout uniform. I joined this wonderful program last year in July, and since then, I have not made a uniform to wear. I am uncertain what can and cannot be worn, and from what can be worn, what should be worn. As an eighteen-year old, I am considered a youth in Sea Scouts BSA. Therefore, I have plenty of questions that have been left unanswered for quite some time.

1.) My ship wears a “Plank Owner” patch to signify those founding members who joined in the first year when the unit was created. However, it said patch authorized for wear by National or is it a custom-made patch that my ship only wears? I have looked up the Founder’s Bar and wanted to know if this is the official patch that should be worn.

2.) Since I earned the Arrow of Light award as a Webelos, do I wear the patch that I wore under the left side pocket on my Scouts BSA uniform or the square knot like a Venturer would?

3.) Since I underwent NYLT, am I allowed to wear the NYLT trained patch in place of the Sea Scouts trained one? Does the NYLT trained patch outweigh the Sea Scouts one or vice versa, meaning do I wear one over the other just as a Scout usually wears the NYLT one over a normal trained patch on a Scouts BSA uniform?

4.) What is allowed to be officially worn on the Sea Scout uniform? I remember reading in Guide to Awards and Insignia that a Sea Scout may wear certain awards and patches that a normal Scout would wear on his or her uniform. What does this necessarily mean? Has National differentiated between what is and is not allowed? For instance, may a Sea Scout wear service pins, interpreter strip(s), the recruiter patch, multiple square knots up to six, the Messenger of Peace ring, and an Order of the Arrow lodge flap?

5.) In comparison to the youth uniform, what may the adults wear on their uniform? What needs to be taken off when a youth ages out?

6.) Since Order of the Arrow has now officially allowed Venturers and Sea Scouts to join, does a Sea Scout wear the sash over the right shoulder as usual but not under an epaulet since the uniform does not have them?

These are all of my questions in each category. Thank you for your help, guidance, wisdom, and overall time on this matter. It is highly appreciated!

Yours in Scouting,
Jordan “Orca” Diliberto
Sea Scouts Ship 1830

1 Like

I can take some of those…

  1. Planck Owner–I’m not familiar with that one, but we are a new ship and wear the “founder” strip. It looks real sharp on the dark blue.

  2. AOL - we discussed that one some in another thread, and didn’t come to a consensus. As a skipper, if you want to wear an AOL patch under your rank, I’m not going to stop you. Someone will probably come up to you and say “You shouldn’t wear that” – If you are 18 or over, you can wear the AOL square knot. There is confusion on what someone under 18 wears: the AOL square knot, nothing, or the AOL rank patch.

  3. NYLT/Trained: Someone else should speak to this one. If I were under 18, I’d wear the NYLT patch.

  4. Interpreter strips–definitely, that’s a super-valuable resource. Service pins–I think you can wear them. Recruiter patch-we voted YES on that one at our unit meeting and have incorporated it into our new member ceremony: each new member is assigned a mentor and that mentor is presented with the recruiter strip at their induction ceremony. Square knots: for sure up to six. Messenger of Peace–yes. Lodge flap–Yes. I’d also encourage qualified scouts and scouters to wear the “Amateur Radio Operator” and “physician” insignia because those are key identifiers in times of crisis.

  5. Adults do not wear the tar flap. They can wear a traditional Sea Scout neckerchief or other neckerchief. The Wood Badge neckerchief is approved (but looks exceptionally ugly and clashes in color, see photo). Youth that age out also take off their rank patch. If they have earned Quartermaster they can wear the QM square knot.

  6. Sash it up!

  7. Our council and lodges also have beads we are supposed to wear. I wear them at council events. Also wear the wood badge beads.

  8. On formal occasions, I’ll wear the leadership medals (Cubmaster’s key, James Stewart Good Citizenship, etc.)

  9. I also wear the Emergency Preparedness BSA pin.

Remember: while on the water, you will find that less insignia will be safer and more insignia can get in the way to the point of being a safety hazard.

1 Like

Thank you for the valuable information! I do have two more question categories.

1.) Do Sea Scouts wear different-colored background square knots? I have seen some square knots with a navy blue background instead of the traditional tan background to accommodate the Navy Blue uniform. If so, do you know any official vendors that sell them?

2.) I have read in the Guide to Awards and Insignia that adult leaders wear black cloth embroidered badges of office. What does this actually mean? Also, do the youth wear a certain color of badges on their uniform since there are choices?

No worries!

  1. On the square knots, if you can find them wear the dark colored background knots. They are hard to find, so wear whatever you get.

  2. The “badges of office” are Skipper, Mate, etc… similar to Scoutmaster, Assistant Scoutmaster, etc. It goes on the left sleeve.

1 Like

Jordan, are you pursuing youth advancement in the Sea Scout program as an 18-year-old?

1 Like


  1. Thank you for asking. Sea Scouts have traditionally worn fewer insignia than members in the Scouts BSA and Venturing programs. To quote the uniform fact sheet:

Sea Scout uniforms are traditionally worn with limited insignia to help retain a sharp appearance.

  1. Which uniform are the members of your ship unit wearing? The traditional uniforms or the new Official Sea Scout Uniform (New Century Universal Uniform). The rules are different depending on which uniform you are wearing. See Sea Scout Manual (2016), pages 18ff.

  2. For the new Official Sea Scout Uniform see the Sea Scouts BSA website uniform section at https://seascout.org/uniforming/

  3. Per the Guide to Awards and Insignia Sea Scout section:

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.

  1. However per the Sea Scout Manual (2016)

• Up to six knots, in two rows of three, may be worn.
• Wood Badge beads may be worn with Sea Scout uniforms.
• The Order of the Arrow sash may be worn only at Order of the Arrow events.
• Sea Scout uniforms are worn without temporary patches to help retain a sharp appearance.

1 Like

Traditional Uniform Patches Supplier

I believe that these knots are for wear on the traditional uniforms. The 2012 supplier of patches for traditional uniforms listed on the Scouts Scout BSA website is: The Ship’s Stores

Amateur Radio Operator

The Amateur Radio Operator skills badge (Operator rating strip for licensed amateur radio operators) is no longer available from BSA. The badge has been discontinued. You can continue to wear it if you have it.

Arrow of Light (AOL)

In the Guide to Awards and Insignia I found the Arrow of Light badge being worn on the Cub Scout uniforms and Scout BSA uniform, but not on Venturing or Sea Scout BSA uniforms.

I would wear the square knot badge.

National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT)

Per the Guide to Awards and Insignia, Training Awards section:

NYLT Trained Strip, worn in place of the trained leader emblem by youth leaders who have completed National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT). For shirts with pocket sleeves, the emblem is worn on the sleeve pocket flap above the badge of office. For shirts without pocket sleeves, the emblem is worn on the left sleeve immediately below and touching the emblem of office. Forest green, No. 622630; youth leaders.

What I am not sure about is whether Sea Scouts must have completed “Introduction to Leadership Skills for Crews or Ships” to wear the NYLT badge on a Sea Scout uniform.

Order of the Arrow Insignia

per Sea Scout Manual (2016):

• The Order of the Arrow sash may be worn only at Order of the Arrow events.
• The Order of the Arrow lodge flap patch may be worn on the New Century Universal Uniform (only).
• The Order of the Arrow lodge flap patch is not worn on traditional Sea Scout uniforms

Plank Owner v.s. Founder

“Plank owner” is a designation used by the US Navy and US Coast Guard. I do not know if there was a national BSA pin or badge for “plank owner”. The current national BSA designation is “Founder”. (Note the rules for wearing this emblem.)


Generally good advice has been given. For AoL, use the knot, not the patch. You can wear knots on black background if you can find them. If your Guide to Insignia says position patches are on black backgrounds, then it’s out of date - all current position patches (badges of office) are round and on blue cloth. The old rectangular patches on black shouldn’t be worn on The Official Sea Scout Uniform. Plank owner patches show up sometimes, but in BSA “founder” is the only legal version. But I’d wear whatever your ship does in that regard and not worry about it. If you completed NYLT and are a youth (under 21) you can wear the NYLT patch instead of Trained patch if you like. When you age out, the rank patch on your left pocket and the NYLT patch come off, and you give up your tar flap if you have one. Temporary patches are allowed on The Official Sea Scout Uniform but not on legacy uniforms.


This topic was automatically closed 7 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.