Sea Scouts’ Voices Heard Loud and Clear

On October 10-11, 2014 Sea Scout Volunteers from all over the nation representing each region and many of our partnering organizations gathered for their annual National Sea Scout Committee Meeting to discuss the progress Sea Scouting has made in the past year. The focus of the meetings was “Membership” and ideas poured in from around the country on how to best improve and expand our program.

The National Boatswain and the National Technology Chair presenting at the NSSC Metting. (Photo: J. Gilliland)

The National Boatswain and the National Technology Chair presenting at the NSSC Metting. (Photo: J. Gilliland)

Besides the participation of the National Boatswain and the immediate past National Boatswain, the National Sea Scout Support Committee had an extra weapon this year. Sea Scouts. Yes, because of the outpouring of input Sea Scouts from around the country, the committee was able to use our most valuable resource, our youth members to further our program. The results of the nationwide “Voice of the Sea Scout” Survey as well as a report from the National Youth Sea Scout Task Force were presented to the committee and both were considered in each decision that the committee made.
It doesn’t end there, following the meeting, the National Youth Sea Scout Task Force will continue to provide input on several projects that the committee is working on. In the coming months our youth will be providing input on the future of our advancement requirements, our use of technology, and the marketing of our program.
Previous National Boatswain, Billy McElligott, spoke at the conclusion of the meeting about the progress that we as youth have made in impacting our program in the last year. As the current National Boatswain I have made every effort to have every Sea Scout’s voice heard, but if you would like to provide any feedback, input, suggestions, or concerns to the National Boatswain please fill out the form below.

Smooth Sailing,
Peter Schmidt
National Boatswain

Winter Blues Got Your Ship Down?

A Sea Scout works on ship maintenance over the winter.

A Sea Scout works on ship maintenance over the winter.

Since the summer and warm weather has passed us, it’s time to think about winter activities.

There are so many different ways for you and your fellow ship members to hone your seamanship skills. One way to do this during the cold months is to work on your navigation knowledge and skills. There are many online options for courses and your local Power Squadron should have several options for classes.

Not only will navigation training prepare you to become a better sailor, but navigation is also a large portion of the seamanship requirements on the path towards Quartermaster.

As you are improving your boating skills you and your ship should also consider doing fundraisers. These fundraisers could go towards your summer (or winter) ship activities or boat upkeep. One of the ships in Chicago does a Christmas tree sale that goes towards their ship funds. Another unit sells Christmas wreaths, as you can see, the possibilities are nearly endless with some determination and creativity.

This time of year is also a perfect time to make sure your boats are in top-notch condition so that the summer can be spent on the water. So, instead of thinking about how you aren’t able to go out on the water as much, think about how you can get ahead so that when you are boating, you are more capable of enjoying your time.

As your ship comes up with wonderful winter ideas, make sure to post to Instagram and Tweet them with the hashtags #SeaScouts #GetontheWater so others can see great ideas of how to spend the winter months.

Happy Holidays!
Katie Bruton
Central Region Sea Scout Boatswain

National Capital Area Sea Scouts Earn Heroism Award

Ship 100 Heroism Honorees

Heroism Honorees from left to right. Zach Skiles; Aidan Wiecki; Todd Skiles, Skipper, Ship 100; pictured with Katja Broecker, District Executive, Bull Run District NCAC

National Capital Area Council is proud to announce two local Scouts representing Sea Scout Ship 100 and Boy Scout Troop 1882 have been awarded the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) Honor Medal for acts of heroism in saving a life. Aidan Wiecki and Zachary Skiles, who are dual-enrolled in both the Sea Scout and Boy Scout programs of the BSA were recently honored at Battlefield High School in a joint ceremony.

Honor Medal

The BSA Honor Medal.

The award was given in recognition of their actions on June 14, responding to a serious auto accident. The Scouts were traveling on the outer beltway through Alexandria, Va. to sail the unit’s sailboat to a new marina, when at 4:30 a.m., a driver in front of them collided with a concrete median divider at high speeds, causing the front of the car to disintegrate and engulf in flames. The Scouts and their adult leaders followed the first aid training they received through the Boy Scouts to make the best decisions regarding whether to remove a semi-conscious passenger from the car and how to treat the victims. They were able to safely assist and get the passenger to safety and also helped clear debris and converted a pickup truck bed into a safe place for the victims to rest while waiting for emergency medical responders. When bystanders began to gather and take pictures, they assisted with shielding the victims and reinforcing directions for non-essential people to clear the area. Both the driver and passenger were hospitalized and survived despite their injuries.

The Honor Medal may be awarded to a youth member or adult leader who has demonstrated unusual heroism and skill in saving or attempting to save a life at considerable risk to self. Since the BSA Honor Medal was initiated in 1923, less than .002% of all Boy Scouts have been awarded this recognition.

Sea Scouts is a specialized co-ed segment of the Boy Scouts of America, organized to address members’ boating skills and promote knowledge of our maritime heritage while focusing on sailing and cruising either sailboats or power vessels.

Ship 100 is chartered by the Knights of Columbus at Holy Trinity Catholic Church. Troop 1882 is chartered by the American Legion Post 1799 and meets at Haymarket Baptist Church.

This press release was initially released by the National Capitol Area Council, Photos are complements of Todd Skiles.

Safety at Sea San Francisco

Flare practice at Safety at Sea San Francisco.

Flare practice at Safety at Sea San Francisco.

One of the most exciting programs offered to Sea Scouts around the country is Safety at Sea. Safety at Sea is a day or weekend long event where Sea Scouts partner up with the US Coast Guard to learn about maritime safety. Sounds boring, right? Not so, the best part about Safety at Sea is that you are not just learning you are doing! From steering a fast response Coast Guard Vessel, to lighting flares, patching pipes, extinguishing fires, firehose practice, swimming in survival suits,  to maritime law enforcement, and so much more Sea Scouts get first hand experience to prepare them for any maritime emergency.

Safety at Sea FirehoseIn San Francisco Bay, Safety At Sea is held on Yerba Buena Island and has been a part of scouting the Western Region’s Area 3 for over two decades. This year we were fortunate enough to have a unit from Klamath Falls, Oregon to join us as well. As a volunteer I was assisting in the flashpan event where we teach the youth to properly use a fire extinguisher and the concept of rigging a tow.
Both of these concepts are pivotal in a maritime environment. There are many other events, such as operating a dewatering pump and a simulated damage control event. These events go a long way in preparing our youth to respond to emergency situations in as calm a manner as possible as well as knowing the proper responses for situations. Safety At Sea has had it’s share of fair and foul weather years and it’s the foul years that test the knowledge learned each year on the island.
If you want to learn more about Safety at Sea check out this video created by the Western Region Commodore or check out #SafetyAtSea on Instagram!


Cat Murphy-Bevan
Western Region Boatswain

Davy Jones Rendezvous

Last month one of the largest Sea Scout events in the Southern Region, the Davy Jones Rendezvous, took place on High Rock Lake at the Old North State’s Charles T. Hagan, Jr. Sea Scout Base and the Old Hickory Council’s Raven Point Seabase. Over 200 Sea Scouts and Venturers attended, making it the largest Davy Jones Rendezvous to date.

The Davy Jone Rendezvous Logo. Click for more photos!

The Davy Jones Rendezvous Logo. Click for more photos!

The weather cleared up Saturday morning and we had a tremendous day on the water and on land. Some of the events were modified by their coordinators with great success and we had a couple of popular new events. One of the most popular events was the sailboat regatta which started on land with the sailors wading to their boats being held by their crew member. They had to hoist the sail, race the course, climb out of the boat, and run back to shore and tag the finish line. This regatta comes out of a 1930’s  BSA manual. Another popular event was the one match string burn, but it was modified to require that the participants split a piece of wood, use a hand ax to gather shavings and start the fire with the material gathered. Finally, the fishing tournament was added for the first time and new and folks who had never tried fishing before were able to do quite well. To get more information  or to see pictures form past events visit the Davy Jones Rendezvous on Facebook.

Kin Cartrette

Davy Jones Rendezvous Event Coordinator

Fall Fun Rally Recap

Sea Scouts from Indiana Ship 393 at the FFR.

Sea Scouts from Indiana Ship 393 at the FFR.

Have you heard about the largest Venturing event in the nation? The Fall Fun Rally(FFR) just took place the last weekend in September and is already scheduled to be September 25-27, 2015 next year, so mark your calendars! At this past FFR, there were Scouts and Scouters in attendance from over 14 different states from three of the four regions in the nation totaling to over 1,300 people. A large group of Sea Scouts from the Central and Southern Region were in attendance as well.

Sea Scout and Venturing leadership from around the country traveled to the FFR for the weekend.

Sea Scout and Venturing leadership from around the country at FFR.

Some of these Scouts included Peter Schmidt, the National Sea Scout Boatswain; Maddie Culwell, the National Venturing President; Emily Mausshardt, the Central Region Venturing President; Edward Abraham, the Western Region Venturing President; and Katie Bruton, the Central Region Sea Scout Boatswain.


Central Region Boatswain Katie Bruton Speaks at a training session.

Central Region Boatswain teaching at FFR.

Peter, the National Boatswain, spoke at the Sea Scouting courses that took place during the weekend about some of the new changes coming to the Sea Scouting program. Katie, the Central Region Boatswain, taught several Sea Scout courses from “What is Sea Scouting? to Introduction to Leadership Skills for Ships(ILSS). There were many other courses offered throughout the weekend including some of the new trainings required for the new Venturing awards. Besides trainings courses, there were over 90 events including crate stacking, one of the most popular events from the weekend. If you would like to read more about some of the awesome things that took place at this past year’s FFR and to view some pictures, click here!

Katie Bruton
Central Region Sea Scout Boatswain

The National Boatswain Bearing Episode 1

The October Edition of the National Boatswain Bearing is now available! The National Sea Scout Boatswain’s Monthly Video Series, The National Boatswain Bearing, will highlight exciting news and updates occurring in our program! This initiative stemmed from responses on the Youth Sea Scout Survey that was sent out earlier this year.

Recruiting Best Practices

Recruiting is one of the most important things in Sea Scouting, a ship cannot last without it. Some ships succeed at recruiting and other don’t. Obviously I’m no expert, but I have seen what has worked and what hasn’t worked. Here are some ideas:

  • Take recruits onto the boats! That is the heart of the program and the biggest factor if a scout will join or not. Sailing is fun, so use it to your advantage.

    #GetOnTheWater during your recruiting activities!

    #GetOnTheWater during your recruiting activities!

  •  Have some event for the parents. The scouts can say they want to join, but if the parents aren’t into it then that idea will get shut down. Involve the parents!
  • Recruit Boy Scouts, Venturers, American Heritage Girls, and Girl Scouts. They make great scouts and the older ones are usually tired of their current scout group and are looking for something new and exciting. Recruit towards that emotion.
  •  Use food toward your advantage. People are a lot more likely to go toward your stand for a free burger, and while they are eating you can make friends with them and talk to them.
  • Make friends! This is truly the best way to recruit scouts. When they feel like a part of a group then they will most likely join.

A few other things that might help is to be nice, truthful, and professional. It’s a great program and Best of luck in your recruiting!

Eugene DeNezza, II

Northeast Region Boatswain

What a Summer!

From the Koch Cup, to Summer Cruises and other great activities it been a very busy summer for Sea Scouts across the country! This month I will be updating all of you on my progress during the first three months of my term. But first, let me introduce myself.

The University of Illinois Urbana-Campaign

 I am Peter Schmidt, your 2014-2015 National Sea Scout Boatswain. I have earned the Quartermaster Award and I am from Illinois where I currently attend the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.You can read more about me here at
My term began with a trip to Nashville, Tennessee for the BSA National Meeting where both myself and outgoing National Boatswain, Billy McElligott, took part in the National Boatswain Change of Watch Ceremony. For the duration of the meeting we promoted Sea Scouting in the Exhibit Hall and promoted our program.

2014 Change of Watch

The 2014 National Boatswain Change of Watch in Nashville, Tennessee. From Left to Right National Commodore Mr. Charles Wurster, 2014-2015 National Boatswain Peter Schmidt, 2013-2014 National Boatswain Billy McElligott, and National Director Mr. Keith Christopher.

In June I attended the 2014 William I. Koch International Sea Scout Cup in Long Beach, California. I was able to meet Sea Scouts from around the country and from all over the world. At the Koch Cup I was able to begin getting feedback on several of our resources. Changes have already begun on our web presence based on what we heard!

Koch Cup

Peter Schmidt sails a CFJ back to the Koch Cup Sea Base with fellow Koch Cup Staff Member, Kerry, from the United Kingdom after a rescue.

Koch Cup Awards

The 2014 Koch Cup Awards Ceremony. From Left to Right National Director Mr. Keith Christopher, National Boatswain Peter Schmidt, and Chief Scout Executive Mr. Wayne Brock.

During the first part of my term I have undertaken several major projects including the recently closed Sea Scout “Voice of the Youth Survey” and the creation of the National Youth Sea Scout Task Force. The other large project that is getting off the ground is our improved Social Media presence on Twitter and Instagram. Be sure to check us out and follow along for the best Sea Scout news out there. I can’t wait to see where the next nine months will take us with all of the exciting projects that are taking shape right now!

Smooth Sailing,
Peter Schmidt
National Boatswain

Fall Fun Rally- Greater St. Louis Area Council, CR Area 3

Are you looking for more information on the Sea Scouting program? Come to the largest Venturing event in the nation September 26-28, 2014 for a fun-filled weekend of over a hundred activities and learn about Sea Scouting too! At the Fall Fun Rally(FFR), there will be a class for youth and adults about the Sea Scouting program. Around 1,500 Scouts from around the nation attend annually to join in on the fun. The Fall Fun Rally is at Beaumont Scout Ranch near St. Louis, MO and is open to all Scouts of the Venturing and Sea Scout age. The theme of the FFR this year is celebrating 250 years of St. Louis with a Doctor Who twist. For more information and to register, check out:

Katie Bruton
Central Region Boatswain


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