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USS Boy Scout

USS Boy Scout

USS Boy Scout

No, really.

Maybe the Boy Scouts of American should lobby the U.S. Navy for a new USS Boy Scout, in time for the BSA centennial.

Readers—help me out here—and identify the three flags flying on the boat. One on the bow, one on the stern, and one up top that is hard to see. I know the one on the stern is a form of the U.S. flag, but I don’t know the nomenclature for maritime flags.

This fast (26.2 mph) craft was ordered delivered to the Navy on 5 May 1917, and became USS Boy Scout (SP-53). She was subsequently sent overseas for “aviation service.” Underway, circa 1916-1917.

Photographed by George N. Harden, Rockland, Maine.
U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

7 thoughts on “USS Boy Scout

  1. The flag on the stern is the U.S. Flag. The one on the bow appears to be either the flag with the Navy Seal or a Single Star indicating a Rear Admiral is on board. I have not been able to determine the flag on the mast at mid-ship.

  2. Robert, thank you. It’s great to think that the USS Boy Scout might had had a Rear Admiral on board, huh.

  3. […] I wrote about Boy Scout last May, having found the name and photograph while researching at the Department of Navy—Naval Historical Center, looking for old photographs that showed the Stars and Stripes. […]

  4. In looking over this photo I believe this would have been taken before the Navy took possesion of this vessel. The stern flag is a United States Yacht Ensign ( having a blue square in the upper left corner with a fouled anchor inside of a circle of 13 stars). That flag was only used on documented vessels at that time period and is now widely used on all recreational vessel. It was not flown on a miilitary vessel. On the mast I believe is flown a yacht club burgee. A burgee normally has a swallow tail and contains a unique design of that yacht club. The bow: alot of times the yacht club would make its own flag. All the men on board the vessel are in civilian clothes except for 2 men at the helm station. The officers of a yacht club during that time wore uniforms. My g-grandfather was commodore of a yacht club in the early 1900’s and I have many photos of him in uniform with a cap.

    1. Thank you, Robert. I appreciate the time you took to study the photograph. It’s a fascinating slice of history of American flag history, and Scouting history, too. With your descriptions, I can look up these flags and get a better image in my head. And what a great boat too, don’t you think. Best wishes, Deborah

  5. Another note. A yacht club wasn’t formed in Rockland intil 1927. A yacht club was formed in nearby Camden in 1906, so that’s a possibility. The photograph was taken in Rockland Harbor. The large building on the hill was the original Samoset Resort Hotel (since replaced by a modern day hotel). The low flat object in the right center of the photo is the Rockland Breakwater that leads out to the Breakwater Lighthouse (built 1902). Go to this link and you can see the hotel and breakwater:

  6. Thank you Robert. I appreciate your interest and knowledge on this topic. I have a better printer now than when I first put up this article, so I think it is time for me to make a print of this photograph and examine it with the magnifying glass. And thank you for the link, too. Best wishes, Deborah

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