Sea Scout Knotting Requirements

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I have been asked if some of my animations can be used to illustrate requirements for Sea Scouting. For those who don't know, Sea Scouting is a branch of Boy Scouting which defines it's purpose as:

Sea Scouting is organized to promote better citizenship and to improve members' boating skills and knowledge through instruction and practice in water safety, boating skills, outdoor, social, and service experiences, and knowledge of our maritime heritage.

Sea Scouting is a part of the Venturing program, with units organized as "ships" and specific sea and ship related requirements for advancement. For more information, I suggest looking at the Sea Scouting Web Site

The knotting requirements, with illustrations I've developed for them so far, are listed below. In addition, I've added a few comments of my own.

Note that this is not an official site of the Boy Scouts of America, and any information or opinions expressed here are not necessarily endorsed by them.

Apprentice, Requirement 5
Seamanship: Using both large and small line, tie and explain the use of the following knots: square knot, bowline, clove hitch, sheet bend, two half hitches, figure-of-eight, and cleat hitch. Demonstrate the ability to use a heaving line.

My Comments:
It's interesting that this list so closely parallels my list of eight basic knots. The changes are the elimination of the sheepshank (justifiably, I think) and the Timber Hitch, which comes in under the "Ordinary" requirements. Additions are the Figure 8, which I think the scouts should emphasize more, and the Cleat Hitch, appropriate for Sea Scouting!

Ordinary, Requirement 7
Using line appropriate to the craft you normally use, tie the following knots and explain the use of each: overhand knot, stevedore's knot, bowline on a bight, timber hitch, rolling hitch, marline hitch, midshipman's hitch, and double bowline (French bowline).

My Comments:
This is an interesting set. The French Bowline is what I have elsewhere called a Portuguese Bowline, and the Rolling Hitch is tied to a pole, though others use that name for what scouts call a Tautline Hitch. I still can't understand why an overhand knot is a requirement for Sea Scouting - hopefully most of them can already tie their shoes, and have therefore mastered this.

The most interesting problem was the Midshipman's Hitch. A search turned up no less that four knots with this name. It was used to reference a Tautline, a method of attaching a line to a hook, a particularly ugly knot like two half hitches, where the second hitch loops around the standing part twice, and the knot shown here, much like a tautline. This agrees with Ashley's nomenclature, as well as several other books I referenced.

Ordinary Elective 18f
Ornamental Ropework: Demonstrate your ability to make a three-strand turk's head and a three-stand monkey's fist. Use the monkey's fist to make up a heaving line.

My Comments:
The term "three strand Turk's Head" is ambiguous, but I assume it means the normal 3 Lead by 4 Bight TH

Able, Requirement 7
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.

Able Elective 17h
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.

My Comments:
The term "four strand Turk's Head" is ambiguous, the requirements don't mention the type of Turk's Head. For the electives, though, this may be a good thing - allowing the scouts to explore various ornamental techniques.

If you reached this page from a link or search, you may get to my entire knotting site here.

Last updated 6 January 2006. © 2002-2006 Alan L. Folsom, Jr.