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A Sea Scout went to sea, sea, sea

Channel your inner Sea Scouts and test your secret semaphore signalling skills.
Plan a session with this activity

You will need

  • A4 paper
  • Pens or pencils
  • Short sticks or twigs
Semaphore signals
PDF – 269.3KB

Before you begin

  • Make sure you've risk assessed your meeting, and also have a COVID-safe risk assessment that’s been agreed by your line manager. You can check out more detailed guidance here
  • Make sure everyone can access the Semaphore signals guide. You could print some copies off or people could have a look on a phone or computer. Think about how you’ll make sure everyone can see a copy while staying distanced.

Safety checklist

Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Additional coronavirus-related controls to think about may include:

  • Set up a handwashing station that you can use throughout the session.
  • People shouldn’t share equipment.
  • Think about how you’ll hand equipment out – it won’t work for everyone to help themselves from one big pile.
  • Make sure that people stay socially distanced throughout the activity.


To see what they could see, see, see

  1. Everyone should split into an even number of groups.
  1. The person leading the activity should give everyone two sheets of paper, two sticks and some pens or pencils.
  1. Everyone should decorate their semaphore flags. Usually the flag would be split diagonally from the top left to the bottom right corner, with the top section red and the bottom section yellow.
  1. Once they’ve decorated their flags, everyone should poke the stick through one flag near a corner, a couple of centimetres into the paper. They should follow along the short edge of the paper to the next corner and poke the stick back through, attaching the paper to the stick like a flag. They should do this for both pieces of paper to make two flags.
  1. The person leading the activity should give each group a copy of the semaphore signals guide and some extra paper.
  1. Each group should use the semaphore signals guide to plan out a message they want to send.
  1. Each group should stand opposite another group. One group should start using their flags to send their message across to the other group who can write down what they think it is.
  1. Once one group has finished, the other group should send their message across using their flags.
  2. After all messages have been sent, the groups should share what they thought the message was and the senders should reveal the actual message.


This activity involved trying something brand new that’s actually hundreds of years old. Did people enjoy giving semaphore a go? It was probably fun (if a bit tricky) in the safety of a meeting place. Can people put themselves in a first world war Sea Scout’s shoes? How do people think they felt as they helped during the first world war? Can anyone remember some of the things they did? You could think about how important their actions were and how small actions can contribute to big goals. Did trying semaphore help people think about what life was like for Sea Scouts in the first world war?  

In this activity, everyone thought about Remembrance and how it links to their lives. What did people find out about Remembrance? How did it make them feel? How are people going to take part in Remembrance this year?


All activities must be safely managed. Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Do a risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Always get approval for the activity and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.