Amid ‘One Oath, One Law’ changes, the Sea Scout promise is here to stay

sea-scout-promiseAhoy, Sea Scouts and adult advisors!

While it’s true that the BSA is transitioning to the Scout Oath and Scout Law in all programs, I confirmed this morning that the Sea Promise isn’t going anywhere.

In October 2012, I first reported that the resolution to move away from the Cub Scout Promise, Law of the Pack, Venturing Oath and Venturing Code had passed. For Venturing, the change will take place in May 2014. For Cub Scouts, it’s May 2015.

Sea Scouts, however, are in a different boat. Here’s how Keith Christopher, National Director of the 101-year-old Sea Scouts BSA, explained it to me this morning:

We have always included the Scout Oath and Law in our knowledge base. From a traditional historical perspective we will keep the Sea Promise as a guide to nautical support.

Sure enough, while you’ll find the Sea Promise inside the front cover of the Sea Scout Manual, guess what’s inside the back cover? Yep, the Scout Oath and Scout Law.

And when you look at the text of the Sea Promise, it makes sense. The words focus more on boating safety than Scouting values. And so the three — Scout Oath, Scout Law, Sea Promise — can all live in harmony on the high seas.

By the way, here’s the Sea Promise:

As a Sea Scout I promise to do my best:

  • To guard against water accidents
  • To know the location and proper use of the lifesaving devices on every boat I board
  • To be prepared to render aid to those in need
  • To seek to preserve the motto of the sea : Women and Children First
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  1. And perhaps that is what the larger Venturing should have done too. Used the Oath, Law, and the Ventruing Oath as an additional Venturing identity. Part of Scouting-Check. But with some additional identity–Also check.

  2. The 4th. part of the Sea Scout Promise has historic precedence in that it refers to the sinking of the HMS Birkenhead, a 1900 ton warship that was lost on 7 January 1852. This part was changed for a short time by people that didn’t understand tradition and were more interested in gender equality. Sea Scouts stand on tradition.

  3. What a shame! While I found nothing wrong with the Cub Scout and Venturing oaths and laws, I fully support changing them for the sake of “One Oath, One Law.” But the Sea Scout Promise is an anachronism and has no place in a youth program in the 21st Century. “Women and Children First!” Indeed!

    • At one time, it was proposed to change the 4th line to “To help those less capable than myself,” but it was decided instead to honor tradition over political correctness. Besides, it has always been the duty of men to put the safety of women and children above their own. Why is this a problem?

  4. Ralph, it’s about tradition and honor, nothing to due with gender equality. Besides, that’s a myth as well. Certainly, everyone should be treated equally and respected. However genders aren’t across the board equal at everything.

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