It does not matter if a boat is 10 feet long or 100; what matters if Sea Scouts are onboard.
A boat is something young people can rally around, have a sense of belonging to, and directly see the benefits of their efforts.
Once a Sea Scout has painted a bilge, fiberglassed a hull or been on a haul out, the sense of ownership in that vessel is extremely powerful.
However, a boat is not required for a Sea Scout Ship to have an active program. A boat is only a tool for a Sea Scout program, not the ultimate goal.
One only has to look at the success of the Sea Scout Ship Kansan in the 1930s to 1940s, which set records at producing Quartermaster-Eagle Scouts and being named National Flagship twice (and once honorary) to see you can have a successful program without a boat.
Looking for a Boat
Sea Scouts looking for a boat should consider the following:
The Boat is NOT the Program
The Boat Supports the Program by
Providing source of Ship identity
Allows Scouts to See Beyond the Horizon
Gives Sea Scouts form and substance
Sea Scouts looking to add a boat to their program should consider the following Feasibility Questions before acquiring a boat:
What is your experience with this kind of boat?
What are your past experiences?
Past Maintenance Experience?
BSA Council Support?
How will you use the boat?
Where Do You Want to Cruise or sail?
How will you pay for vessel expenses?
Where will you moor the boat?
What is its fuel consumption?
Haul Out Locations?
Does the vessel require modifications for Sea Scout use?
Do you need a stability report for any modifications?
Vessel Inspection Requirements?
The Benefits of a Boat
Different boats have their own benefits and drawbacks. For example, a large vessel is excellent for distance cruising, team building for the entire crew and allows youth to see beyond the horizon of their home ports. Drawbacks for such vessels include the experience to operate the boat, mooring for vessel and the cost to operate, such as insurance and haul out facilities.
Small boats can be very easy to use, have greater storage options and have lower maintenance costs. Drawbacks for using small boats include the cost of having multiple boats to maintain and during activities the youth are scattered across several boats. This could cause the Sea Scouts to develop into “clicks” instead of one crew, unless the adult volunteers encourage Sea Scouts to sail with different Sea Scouts and have additional “all hands” activities.
About a Boat
Different boats require different projects and maintenance; more so then can be briefly stated here. Regardless of the type of boat you have, it is meant to be underway with Sea Scouts at the helm.
Additionally, there are many organizations such as Power Squadron, yacht clubs, or universities that are willing to work with Sea Scouts without vessels.