The Sea Scout uniform, as with any other uniform, is an important form of personal and public identity. It identifies you as a member of a particular troop within your district as well as part of the wider Scouting movement.
Uniform is particularly important for public events such as parades since it not only gives uniformity to the unit but also acts as a form of publicity. As such it should be worn with a sense of pride and respect in order that you put on the best show possible. Unfortunately, in order to maintain these standards requires that you uniform be cleaned.
Below is a list of each item of uniform, from the top down, and suggested methods of maintaining each one. This may seem a little extreme (possibly militaristic) but remember that Sea Cadets are required to do the same and they have more than one rig.
Sea Scout caps
Care must be taken to ensure that the Sea Scout cap keeps it's shape and is not, at any point, allowed to be squashed. It should also be cleaned regularly to ensure that it remains a brilliant white. This is can be achieved using toothpase, working the toothbrush in small circles with a little water.
Alternatively, you can use a bit of soap powder or washing up liquid as these won't stain your cap tally. As a last resort you could use hat whitener but this is more expensive and accidents can be grave.
Don't be too tempted to remove the cap tally for cleaning as they are very difficult to retie once trimmed.
Leaders caps can be cleaned with a clean damp cloth provided they are not too dirty. Harsher cleaners can be used but care should be taken not to damage the top or cause discolouration. The edges of the cap where they are pulled down tend to be the worst affected areas.
The material around the rim of the cap should be free from fluff and dirt, using the method of Selotape wrapped around ones fingers. The peak should be buffed to a sheen and can be achieved using ordinary polish.
Neckerchiefs and ties
This is an easy piece of uniform to maintain. The key to a good neckerchief is in the ironing. If it is not ironed then it will never look tidy no matter what you do. Simply run a hot iron over the whole thing, especially where the point will be formed. Try to take care of this area otherwise it will start to look 'blunt' and may fray.
Once well ironed, the neckerchief should be carefully rolled or tied depending upon the preference of the troop. It is more traditional for Sea Scouts to tie their neckerchiefs. If you are going to roll it then a good way of getting a really tight, straight appearance it to roll it around a small garden cane or other similar cylinder on a hard, flat surface.
Ties simply need to be well pressed and free from stains, fluff etc. Preferably they should be worn with a full windsor knot (rather than the more common half windsor) since this makes the tie appear more symmetrical.
Jerseys and shirts
Sea Scout jersey
The jersey should be ironed on a low heat by drawing the iron down rather than pushing it from side to side, preventing the fibres from becomming stretched. No creases should be pressed into the Sea Scout jersey. The jersey should be worn pulled down rather than rolled back at the waist and contrary to the wearing of number 4's, the cuffs of the jersey should not be worn turned up. The jersey may need carefully 'shaving' from time to time to remove fluff and can be achieved through the use of a cheap razor.
|Badges, be they for identification or achievement, are (especially from a Scouts point of view) an important part of the uniform. Careful placement of badges can make all the difference. Things to take care over are the arrangement of proficiency badges on the left arm and making sure that bages remain vertical. All badges should be properly secured, i.e. not peeling off, using an appropriately coloured cotton.|
Blue shirts should be well ironed and free of creases paying particular attention around the arms and shoulders where creases tend to gather. The arms also need to be ironed but with a crease pressed down the centre of the arm from the shoulder to the cuff. When ironing, try to iron over the same creases to prevent 'tramlines'.
The shirt should be worn tucked in and the sleeves rolled down.
Trousers should be plain black or dark navy without pleats or turn-up's. It is best to buy smarter trousers since those with a more casual cut tend to have undesirable features such as baggy legs, large pockets etc. When ironing trousers, a crease should be pressed along the front of each leg. This is best achieved by spraying the area with water and steaming the material flat with a hot iron (a trouser press is even better).
These can be the most tedious item of uniform to clean and as such are often overlooked. To achieve brilliantly shiny shoes takes a lot of effort but is definately worthwhile.
Shoes as worn with Sea Scout unifrom must be plain black without any sort of decoration. The best shoes are those with full leather uppers (not Kickers) with a respectably sized sole and heel. The sole can be either rubber of leather although the latter looks better and makes a nice sound when marching (even better are RN parade shoes with metal studded heels!). Remember, when wearing your shoes, they should be worn with plain black socks.
One method of polishing shoes is:
- Use a soft brush to remove any loose mud/ dirt from the soles and uppers.
- Take a soft duster and hold it in the hand such that it covers your forefinger.
- Take a tin of proper wax polish (e.g. KIWI or Cherry Blossom).
- Dip the duster in some clean water to dampen it (not saturate it) and rub it lightly in the polish.
- Work on a small area at a time in a circular motion. As you work, a sheen will eventually start to appear.
- Finish off by buffing with wet cotton wool.
A mirror shine will not be achieved with the first polish.
Tip: Try using a layer of brown polish for every 3 of black to add a real depth to the shine