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Fellow Scouters,


Just out of curiosity, I have been researching more about Sea Scouts lately. It started off as just wanting to know more about the program, and developed into "this might be neat to try". So, what I am asking is if any of you have any tips, info, etc. on starting a ship. Also, any tips you can give me on Sea Scouts in general would also be helpful, as I only has experience in the Boy Scout program (both as a youth and adult), but no experience in the Venturing side of the BSA. Also, for the actual ship, what kind do you use? Schooner, Trawler, Cruiser, etc.? Thanks in advance.


Yours in Scouting,



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Don't joke about getting a USN vessal. An SM I knew, who was a Quartermaster and got me interested in Sea Scouts back in the day, told me about one Long Cruise which was about a month long. The ship went to Maine I beleive to work on a decommissioned vessal and spent abotu 2-3 weeks workign on it to get her sea worthy. Then they sailed her from there to Norfolk, where is became the Ship's vessal.


As for what type of vesal to use, it depends. I know of one Ship that had 2 man boats, I know of one that used kayaks, the aforementioned retired USN vessal, and of course my old ship used the leaders boats for sailing and racing.

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Others pointed you to the seascout.org website for resources.


As to vessels.


I know of ships who have no vessels, making use of what they can. Some ships are 'scuba ships', so might not sail, but use powerboats of other adults to go diving.


I know of ships that use kayaks, canoes, small sail boats (sunfish and the like), larger hobie cats, larger sailing boats. I have heard of ships who own and maintain large, decommissioned vessels. Its all in what you have available.


Many ships will actually have 2 sponsors. One is their 'traditional' sponsor (community org or the like) who provides them a meeting space, etc. The second is a 501©3 org (that's the tax code for a not-for-profit charitable org) that owns their vessels so that their traditional sponsor doesn't need to take on that burden. Plus, as a NFP charitable group, they can take boat donations. They will then fixup and use the donated vessels OR sell them (after they've kept them for 2 years for tax reasons) OR perhaps donate them to another ship who needs them.


The above is something I first learned when I went to Seabadge. This is why I've said its very important that Sea Scout leaders (or would be leaders) get involved with other ships, so they can 'learn the ropes' of sea scouting.


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One big thing you need to get help on when starting up is membership. I have been a part of a couple ships that always had problems because of a lack of membership, both youth and adult. It is probably a good idea to get a few youth interested before you actually submit the charter paperwork or make any commitments to boats. Especially boats. No matter how small, they are expensive to maintain, and a pain to store. Don't let that scare you off though; just keep that in the back of your head.


I know a guy who started a ship up with no members except himself last september or october. As far as I know he still doesn't have any youth or other adults involved in his ship; so do make sure that the interest is there before you get started.


If you pm me I can put you in contact with a couple of people who love to give advice to people starting ships up.


As what kind of boats, like people said, you can go from no boat to multiple huge boats. I was part of a ship that just borrowed the council Hobie and Zumas a couple times a month. Between that, the diving, and sailing with other ships we didn't have a free weekend from September to Christmas. The ship I am part of now has a 42' ex-Army Corp of Engineers survey boat. Most ships in San Francisco bay have old Navy or Coast guard boats. There are a couple 85 and 95 footers that cruise the bay on a regular basis. Even though they have really cool boats, I wouldn't say that they have any more or less of a successful program than any other ship that works at it. The big draw of having a big boat like that is the cool factor.

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