Roger, Wilco! Send a message about Radio Procedures that your crew will receive.

Ask a teen to free associate with the word “communication” and you’re likely to get responses like “texting!” “snap chat!” “facebook!” and “instagram!” Much further down the list he might say “phone call” or “face to face conversation.” Times are changing have changed. According to the Pew Research Center, 72% of all teens texting e-card(and 88% of teen cell phone users) are text-messagers. This is a sharp rise from the 51% of teens who were texters in 2006. Fully two-thirds of teen texters say they are more likely to use their cell phones to text their friends than to talk to them by cell phone. (And, as a bonus, if I were to ask you the LEAST popular form of communication among teens, what would you say? If you answered email, you would be correct. Only 11% of teen use email daily as a means to contact their friends.)

With this in mind, it shouldn’t be surprising that studies show using the telephone – to actually make a phone call and speak, with your voice, to another human being – creates more anxiety in today’s teen than it ever has in decades past.

Sea_Scout C.R.Rhein 1930
Sea Scout C. R. Rhein uses a ship’s radio in the 1930’s. No intimidation here.

Consider all this when you approach your crew about learning proper radio protocol. While the invitation to get on a radio, exchange messages, change channels, and learn emergency hails might have been enthusiastically welcomed in the past, this might now be met with dread. Using a radio isn’t too much different from using a telephone, after all. 10 years ago this similarity would be a great selling feature of learning proper radio use. Now, it is most certainly a liability.


The bottom line is we need a fun and hands-on way for today’s Sea Scouts to learn radio.  In order to bridge the gap between BRB, ROTFL, IDK and tride-and-true VHF radio hails, we have created a lesson plan to engage your crew in radio protocol.  Drawing from the Sea Scout Manual and including detailed descriptions of large group activities,  practice documents for teams of two, and quizzes to assess knowledge, the program aids linked below will provide you with tools, tips, and techniques to get your crew comfortable with the radio and ultimately gain the skill set of Apprentice requirement 5c, whether or not you have a vessel.

For those who want everything at once, click here to access our complete Radio Protocol lesson plan, including all supplemental materials, as one document:
WORD Document (.docx): WORD: Apprentice 5c Radio – Complete Lesson Plan & Supplemental Materials

PDF Document: PDF: Apprentice 5c Radio – Complete Lesson Plan & Supplemental Materials

For those who prefer individual documents, this link will take you to a folder containing the lesson plan and supplemental materials as unique documents:
WORD Documents (.docx): WORD: Apprentice 5c Radio – individual documents

PDF Documents: PDF: Apprentice 5c Radio – individual documents


Erin Waggoner
Mate, S.S.S. Morning Star
WR Program Task Force Member

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