First earned around 1930, the Quartermaster Award is Sea Scouting’s highest honor.
Just how rare is it? Keeping in mind that roughly 5 percent of all Boy Scouts earn the Eagle Scout Award, would you believe that just 0.5 percent of all Sea Scouts earn the Quartermaster Award each year?
That means the Quartermaster Award is 10 times rarer than its Boy Scouting counterpart.
Compare that to the record-setting number of new Eagle Scouts in 2012 — 57,976 out of roughly a million Boy Scouts.
Quartermaster Award recipients, like Eagle Scouts, receive an automatic pay grade increase if they join the military.
So what does it take to earn the award? To earn Quartermaster, Sea Scouts must:
- Lead a discussion on the ideals stated in the Sea Promise and prepare a written analysis of one aspect of the ship’s program.
- Attend at least 75 percent of ship meetings and activities for 18 months. Present a talk on Sea Scouts.
- Conduct a Quartermaster Project and serve as an elected officer or as activity chair for three major events.
- Command a 40 hour Quartermaster Cruise.
- Complete the special skills required for Quartermaster, which include:
- Marlinespike Seamanship
- Boat Handling
- Navigation Rules
- Complete four of the following electives: sailing, engine, radio, boat maintenance, electricity, navigation, drill, piloting, rigging, yacht racing crew.
Sea Scouts who earn the award don’t have a court of honor, they have a bridge of honor, where they’re presented with this rare award.
All this isn’t meant to diminish the Eagle Scout Award, something just 1 in 20 Boy Scouts earn. It’s simply an acknowledgement that if you happen to see a Quartermaster Award recipient out there, be sure to shake his or her hand. There simply aren’t many around.
Image from this unofficial Sea Scouts blog.