How many Sea Scouts earn the Quartermaster award each year?

Quartermaster_AwardThink the Eagle Scout Award is rare? Check out the Sea Scouting Quartermaster Award.

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.

quartermaster-award-knotLet’s look at it another way. Last year, just 33 of the 6,670 registered Sea Scouts earned the award.

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:
    • Swimming.
    • Safety
    • Marlinespike Seamanship
    • Boat Handling
    • Anchoring
    • Navigation Rules
    • Piloting
    • Weather
    • Environment
  • 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.

Related post

Houston triplets earn Quartermaster Award

Image from this unofficial Sea Scouts blog.

53 thoughts on “How many Sea Scouts earn the Quartermaster award each year?

  1. Our Council has only 2 ships, and I’m the Skipper of 1. We will have 2 QM’s from our Ship this year, which will be the first in the Council since the Ford Administration. Se Scouts do everything that Venture Scouts can do, but with more emphasis on cool stuff.

  2. In case you’re interested, Sea Scouting National Director Keith Christopher provided me with these numbers of Quartermaster Awards earned over the past five years:

    12 in 2008
    20 in 2009
    28 in 2010
    39 in 2011
    33 in 2012

      • Most likely liability …… plane crashes with scouts on board. If my memory serves me right, there were a couple of crashes with air scouts on board (around ’64 & ’65) just prior to them being converted to part of the over all Exploring program. I entered high school in ’62 and was in boy scouts. My older brother and I were discussing joining Air Exploring when the program was terminated. The local Air Exploring units became Civil Air Patrol units. I have been a Sea Scout adult leader for over 15 years, and BSA is now making changes to Sea Scouts, the program and support to reduce their exposure to liability risk.

      • And starting in the early 1940s it was Air Scouts with their Ace award.
        BSA has never taken aviation programs to heart
        and Sea Scouts/Explorers have mostly existed in their own world, with some difficult days and divisions in the 1960s.

        (I fear that the new Nova/SuperNova science program with not be accepted and promoted by many set-in-their-ways old Scoutmasters.)

    • I earned my Quartermaster in 2001. It is my understanding, I could be wrong though, that 7 of us got it in the country that year. Two came from my council. (Western Los Angeles Country Council) I hope that we can get more Quartermasters out there. Not many of us have done it. Lets change that.

  3. Some of this comes down to opportunity. Not many Ships in most councils. We have one unit in ours.

    Interesting fact…the Sea Scout ranks all have an attendance requirement of 75%. QM’s is for 18 months.

    Wonder how that would affect the number of Eagle Scouts?

    • Good point about the tough attendance requirement.

      As for opportunity, that wouldn’t affect the percentage, just the raw number who earn the award. Right?

        • Good point! My son has earned his Eagle (&16 palms), Venturing Ranger, and Venturing Silver. He looked for 6 months for a ship and the closest he could find is 184 miles from us – makes for a real effort to meet that attendance requirement! He has one more year to go in high school and hopes that he can join a ship in college so he can complete the Sea scout program.

      • I live in NYC. There are Sea Scout units but I am Jewish, and my religious restrictions such as not being allowed to work on Saturday and eating non-kosher food don’t allow me to join any of those units. I wish I could have had the opportunity to pursue the Quartermaster Award.
        I am an Eagle Scout and very soon I will have earned the Venturing Silver Award. It would have been nice to have that trio though.

        • Avi makes a good point. Religious issues can hinder some boys from certain things in scouting. We should do more to enable these boys to be able to participate in any aspect of scouting – Remember scouts are reverent!

        • What are the actual differences? If you had kosher food on your camping trips, what’s stopping you from taking it onto a ship? If camping on Saturday isn’t a problem, why is sailing?

        • Avi, like Boy Scouts, Sea Scouts does not require you to be Christian, nor does it exclude Judaism. Many Ships will work with you to schedule the work to earn your Sea Scout requirements fit your life environment. There is always summer time when you are out of school.
          In our ship we had a young man who is a vegan, so he always brings his own food. To pass the Galley requirement, you could create a kosher menu for the 3 meals and use it as an opportunity to share with your ship mates about what kosher food is, and why your religion believes it is needed. Although not Jewish, my wife & I only buy kosher hot dogs because, unlike ‘regular hot dogs’, it guarentees our family that somebody knows what is in them. :o)
          As a Skipper, I have never considered sailing as work, and have some times gone sailiing on Sunday afternoon if that was the only time the ship could schedule it.
          If you are/were in a predominantly Jewish troop, see if others in the troop would help start an affiliated ship. (after the economic recession and the big storm this last year, there should be plenty donatable boats available.

        • Speaking as both an orthodox Jew and as one of the 39 Quartermasters in 2013 and being from New York (although Rockland County not NYC) I can personally tell you that it is possible and that there are ships in NYC who would have been accomodating

      • I love the attendance requirement. Too often, as a Scout gets older, he forgets about his duty to those “newer” Scouts. Interest fact is that he will need the Younger Scouts at some point in his Eagle Project and they might not even know who he is. I am ALL FOR an attendance requirement for EACH Rank Requirement…. that includes OUTINGS. How is a Tenderfoot gonna learn Lashings and Knots in a “Boy Lead Unit” when none of the Older Boys are present?

        • I totally agree! Whereas the Sea Scouts have kept the requirements for Quartermaster true, the Eagle seems to have been made easier over time. Not so long ago, you could get it without even camping!
          How many Sea Scouts come to their Quartermaster BOR (or any of their reviews) in little or no uniform. Whereas with Boy Scouts the phrase is always used is “Uniform not required” (even though that was set up for financial reasons, not preference).
          And with attendance requirements, Scouting has always taken a back seat with every other after school program (sports, music, ect.). These “other Activities” come before scouts. The dedication of being a Sea Scout seems to be much more than your average Boy Scout.
          As for additional Military Rank, this is also done with the Eagle, and Venturing Silver.

  4. How many of the record amount of Eagle Scouts could have completed the Board of review in 2011 and delayed to get the centennial patch. How many goosed their process to get the patch before the end of 2012? 2013 could see a dropoff. I chair or sit on Eagle boards and in my District we had five to eight Boards a month at the end of 2012. I don’t think we’ve had more that six or seven total since Jan.

  5. How many Venturing Ranger Awards are earned each year? My daughter earned it in 2008 or 2009. I know that it is rare as well.

      • Another statistic that would be interesting to find out is:
        How many young men have earned the Arrow of Light, Eagle, Venturing Silver and Quartermaster …. since 1998.

        • My Ship has 1 Scout who earned ALL 4 of Scouting’s Highest Awards that you list Steve…Good Question..I’m interested in the answer as well….

    • The “old” web site used to have a page with a map of the US that you could “click on” and bring up Ships in that state. Some had web sites that were interesting, but that all got pulled. Ours is

      • Try using “” – enter your zip code & click on the Venturing label.
        When the screen comes up … look in, around & even under all of the Ventureing emblems to find the Sea Scout emblem to determine if there area any Sea Scout Ships in your area. My ship’s emblem appears under the venturing crew’s at the same location unless you zoom in real close. .

        • Ahoy Upchurch, Thank you for the “heads up” on the website, but what is your zip? My point is that it was “too easy” to do it the old way by clicking on a state! “New & Improved” is not always better. I would like to view your website, just tell me how.

        • Bill, I agree with your opinion of “new & improved”(?). I’m in the Sam Houston Area Council in Houston, Tx … the largest council in the US by number of units. Our zip – 77429 – has the opposite problem as most of the U.S. … “too many units” for the display to be very helpful. There are many more than 20 Venturing+Sea Scout units in one small area. It overwhelms a prospective scout when trying to select a unit.
          Also, this site continues to keep Sea Scouting a secret. Often the Venturing Crew emblem overlays the Sea Scout emblem. You can’t separate the display of Venturing Crews vs Sea Scout ships. (This would be a great improvement.) Prospective members don’t know about Sea Scouting being included in “the Venturing program” but being different from Venturing crews.
          The units are listed in ascending order of the unit’s distance from the post office. Sea Scout Ship 846 is 5.28 mi. – number 9 on the list – under the Crew emblem unless you zoom in fairly close.
          However, this is a new tool and should grow in usefulness as people learn about it. The scout units have to take ownership of their display on this site. It first appears when the council gets time to update them to the data base, and the information is directed to the council. The unit leaders, first have to know about the system, then sign on to it and put in the appropriate info so it shows your unit’s contact info. Take a look at ours. It has my contact info listed for primary contact; has our meeting site address and meeting times; plus a link to our ship’s website for more information. This didn’t get in good shape in the first try. If you have more questions – use my contact info that is there.
          The fact that this new site is there – up and running – is an indication that BSA is trying to keep up with “the times” & the technology. They really need to advertise it more – both public and within BSA leaders & youth.
          BTW – looked at your website. Very nice. A suggestion: it doesn’t tell in what city you are located or where you meet. Maybe I overlooked it…??

    • There are Sea Scout Ships in Kansas and Nebraska, but very few.

      While most Ships are tied to sailing and “old salt” memories (plus some high-maintenance craft), given the range of ratings and specialties found in the modern US Navy (and USMC medics), that almost any Venture group (hobby, vocational, adventure, etc) could equally well have been chartered as a Sea Scout Ship – with some imagination. And, eligible members would have the option of the Venture and Sea Scout advancement programs.

  6. I would be curious to know how many young men have earned both the Eagle Scout and Quartermaster Awards? (my three sons did)

    • Our last QM was an Eagle @ 13, one of the 33 QM’s in 2012, crewed on the Bark Eagle, all before turning 18.

  7. Ranger and Venturing Silver awards are rare as well. To put it in to perspective Venturing is roughly 10% of Scouting, and Sea Scouting is 5% of Venturing. from what I’ve seen, by the time the boys get to Venturing (or Sea Scouting) if they come from Boy Scouts, most of them have pretty much had their fill of satisfying requirements (like they did in Boy Scouts for rank advancements and merit badges), and now just want to have fun.. The girls are a different matter. They’re usually more driven to get awards and advancements.

  8. Bryan –

    Please take your inquiry a little further – It would be interesting to know how many awards are presented on an annual basis and what the percentage would be for the Venturing Silver and Venturing Ranger awards. It would also be interesting to know what percentage of Eagle Scouts pursue and earn Eagle Palms. This information is fairly easy to locate regarding the Eagle Award, but I have never seen it regarding these others. I really enjoy your postings!

  9. Another thing I have often wondered about… As mentioned above, only 5% of Boy Scouts earn Eagle. But 5% of what? Is that 5% of all boys who have ever registered (including those that drop out)? Or is it 5% of all boys registered in one year? Or 5% of some other metric? With such a dynamic and changing membership, it would be helpful to understand where that number comes from.

    Another metric that might be even more informative for both leaders and youth…. What percentage of Scouts actually achieve Eagle?

    The same questions can be applied to Quartermaster, Silver, Ranger awards, of course.

    • Edit…. My second question should have read ” What percentage of LIFE scouts actually achieve Eagle?

  10. My name is Tyler Payne and I am one of the 33 that was awarded the rank of quartermaster this year. I am the first in my local council (tri state area council Huntington Wv) since 1950 to have this honor.

    Tyler Payne
    Ship 733 barborsville wv

  11. Awesome Tyler! What was your project? Were you held to a higher leadership standard than the typical Eagle project?

    Which QM elective requirements did you do? Splicing wire rope seems a good learning experience for everyone, like celestial navigation with a sextant.

    Yes Brian. Age 21 is the “age out” age in Sea Scouting and Venturing, just as it is 18 for Boy Scouts and Varsity Scouts.

    The primary difference between Venturing/Sea Scouting is that the training and education is something you do with youth to get TO the activity (such as boating). In Boy Scouting, the training and education IS the activity. Putting it another way; in Boy Scouting the adults tend to participate in the units on their kids’ behalf. In Venturing they participate in the activities WITH their kids, which makes it more fun for all.

  12. Hi My Name is Sandy Bowcutt Neuburger from Portland Oregon. I was the very first Female Quatermaster in the Nation in 1972. Retired Skipper/Venturning Crew Leader/Scoutmaster 30 years. Congrats to all

  13. Greeting there.
    Here are some additional QUESTIONS? Can anyone answer them??
    •How Sea Scouts earn both Eagle Award and Quartermaster?
    •How many Scouts earn the Eagle Award, Silver Venturing Award, and Quartermaster?
    •How many Scouts earned the Quartermaster Award ever?
    •How many Scouts earn the Venturing Leadership Award, Eagle Award, Silver Venturing Award, and Quartermaster?
    •How many Scouts earn the Venturing Leadership Award, Eagle Award, Silver Venturing Award, Vigil Honor, and Quartermaster?

  14. Our Venturing crew was also concurrently registered as a Sea Scout Ship. One of our youth members nearly completed the Quartermaster Award, but was admitted to the U.S. Naval Academy [partly as a result of being a Sea Scout] before he could finish earning the award.. At the Academy, he was captain of the sailing team. . He graduated 7th in his class with two degrees in Aeronautical Engineering and graduate work at MIT, and is now a Marine Aviator and a Captain, flying fighter jets.. He is also an Eagle Scout, and earned Venturing Ranger and Silver awards, and completed SEAL and TOP GUN leadership training courses with highest honors. He served as a regional Venturing President and is an amazing young man.

    Our friends in the Houston Sea Scouts [when we participated in the Minto Sea Scout Rendezvous]called us the “Colorado Anhydrous High Altitude Fleet” in recognition of our mountainous landlocked status. The Houston Sea Scouts gave us a 26 foot sailboat which continues to be used to this various lakes around the teach sailing to the youth and serves as a focal point for Ship activities. Other high adventure events included SCUBA diving trips to Cozumel.

    Sea Scout Ships can be chartered just about anywhere and concurrently with Venturing Crews or even Boy Scout Troops [as ours was] as a parallel opportunity for the youth. A concurrently chartered Ship costs no more for youth to join as they can be multiple-registered as can the adult committee and Skippers/Mates [equivalent to Advisors/Associate Advisors].. Only the cost of the Ship Charter is additional each year. Troop/Crew/Ship committee members and leaders can also be concurrent. However it may work better to have the key adult leaders have only that job [Advisor or Skipper] to avoid conflicting time and leadership roles and duties with the other units, but that is a decision to be made by the unit[s] and chartering organization.

    Young adult programs such as Venturing and especially Sea Scouts have sometimes been known as “the best kept secret in Scouting” but are also “Scouting/s Next Step” and should be made available for older Boy Scouts to transition into and keep them in Scouting through high school until they “age out” at 21 in these most outstanding age appropriate programs of the Scouting Family. Sea Scouts are the second oldest youth program in Scouting having started in 1912.

  15. I am a Quartermaster Award Recipient from 2008. Growing up in Sam Houston Area Council provided me with numberous scouting opportunities, but the ones involving Sea Scouts are some of the best one’s that I will remember for Life!

  16. I just earned Quartermaster today! I’m the first one in my Ship and first in my family as well. Well, my three brothers have gotten Eagle and my younger brother is working on his Quartermaster. It is a wonderful program and I look forward to working with scouting as an adult.

  17. I earned my Quartermaster back in 1990. At the time, I believe I was the youngest to receive the award at 16. I am sure that record has long been broken. Sea Scouts was a fantastic experience throughout high school.

    Sean Case
    Ship #35
    Sea Hawk
    Benicia, CA
    Clipper Class

    • Sean:

      I received my QM award in 1964 just two months after turning 16 aboard SSS Captain Wrucke in Palo Alto Ca, so I can appreciate all the hard work at such a young age.

      Richard Hendry.

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