First step into the program begins with an application for our files, then signing waivers. Youth ages 13-20 will also need to complete Explorer Post paperwork, and pay a $30 fee, which includes BSA insurance.

Step two is a quick read through of our Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs); then we can start working through the orientation process.

All participants are expected to review, understand and practice the following:

Personal protective gear will be inspected prior to use, worn anytime within 10 feet of the water and adjusted properly. PFD (don and adjust), whistle, light, strobe, helmet, (exposure suits as required).


  • Throw bag (use, care, inspection and deployment)
  • hook (uses and stowage), slings (uses, care of)
  • Type 4 PFD
  • Line handling (basic knots, hitches and line safety)


  • Person in the Water (Dummy out of water, swimmer recover, backboard)
  • Man Overboard (MOB) whistle and point
  • Situational awareness and personal safety

Vessel skills: Boat briefing (what it includes and when it happens), mission brief, training brief.

Area familiarization:

  • Navigation (GPS, compass, distance)
  • Weather (wind, waves and terminology)
  • Ports and docksLandmarks (bodies of water and points)
  • Resources in the area


  • If you see something going on, say something.
  • If you do something, let other people know about it.
  • How to “step on” and “step off’
  • Boat can move at any time, hold on.
  • Know and use “clock” directions on the boat.
  • Watch positions on vessel, know them (front, side, etc.).
  • “Neutral” needs to be asked and answered.


  • Quick medical assessment (read, practice and be able to follow checklist),
  • Cold water immersion.

Orientation to the above, allow participants to attend and train as part of the program. All trainings and vessel hours need to be recorded by participants, completion of most task books require vessel and/or training hour minimums.