Sea Scouting is part of the Boy Scouts of America for young men and women aged 14 (or 13 and graduated 8th grade) through 21. The program is developed by local community organizations such as businesses, industries, professions, churches, and civic groups that match the interests of young adults with the program resources of the organization. These community organizations support their ship in three major ways:
1. A program inventory of adults related to the organization who are willing to provide program help to the ship. This includes careers, hobbies, skills, contacts, facilities, and ideas.
2. Adult leadership to organize this program inventory and serve as advisors to the ship's elected youth leaders.
3. Meeting facilities
A Sea Scout ship is a young-adult organization that recruits members, elects officers, and plans programs based on the organization's program inventory. Adult skippers, mates and consultants provide training and guidance for the ship's elected officers.
A typical Sea Scout ship meets weekly (or twice a month) for general meetings and has at least one activity each month. In addition, the youth officers and skippers meet once a month to track the ship's program. Each ship program is selected, planned, and executed with guidance from the skippers. Parents, adults from the chartered organization, and the ship's adult committee support the program as consultants.
Sea Scouts is different from Cub Scouts and Boy Scouting in that its members may choose not to wear the traditional uniform. While many ships adopt the national standard uniform that is based on naval history, some ships do not use formal uniforms. Moreover, Sea Scouts uses a progressive program of advancement, including both Sea Scout ranks and Venturing achievements.