Cruise on the USS Lake Erie

October 22, 2014 at 1:05 am | Posted in Sea Scouts | Leave a comment
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Story by Denise Erwin, SSS Triton 

On September 19th, 2014, members of Sea Scout ship 1767, Triton, out of Newport Beach, CA, participated in a once in a lifetime adventure for Sea Scouts by being guests of the United States Navy on a cruise aboard the USS Lake Erie, an active duty Ticonderoga class guided missile cruiser.


“Don’t Give Up The Ship” is the motto of the USS Lake Erie, named after a decisive battle in the war of 1812. Triton Scouts and Scouters boarded the vessel in the early morning at the Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station and were taken directly to the galley where sailors had breakfast waiting. We were then given a safety briefing and a personal guided tour of the ship including the bridge and CIC.


Sailors from all over this country were proud to answer our questions and show off their “boat”, most of them still young enough to be a Sea Scout! We cruised past Catalina Island, saw dolphins, a whale and a hammerhead shark.

At lunch we were treated to a BBQ with all the fixings on the helicopter landing dick, prepared and served by servicemen, and to witness a presentation of the Surface Warfare Award to several crewman by one of the commanders.


As we neared our destination of San Diego,CA late that afternoon, we passed the Coronado Islands, rounded the beautiful Point Loma and slipped under the Coronado Bridge to reach our final dock. The United States Navy presented all scouts and Scouters with a commemorative certificate as we disembarked. It was a fabulous day!


How to Market Your Sea Scout Ship with GoPro Cameras

October 3, 2014 at 4:28 pm | Posted in Boats, Boy Scouts, Marketing, Sea Scouts | Leave a comment
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DCIM100GOPROThe advent of “action” cameras fundamentally altered how we can market Sea Scouts. We now can get photos and video from a Scout’s point of view as they are engaged in any maritime activity. This empowers us to directly share the adventure of Sea Scouts with others.

GoPro announced a new entry-level camera that costs $130. There are other amazing models that cost $400 and $500, so the $130 model is great option for a Sea Scout Ship to be “thrifty.” The new Polaroid Cube is also another option to record Sea Scout activities for $100.

How to Use on Sea Scout Adventures

Part of marketing your Sea Scout Ship is to connect with parents and potential Scouts on the adventure they will have in Sea Scouts. Here are some of the ways you can incorporate GoPro cameras into to promote your Ship:

Have a Sea Scout wear a GoPro camera on a Chest Harness (called a Chesty) over a lifejacket. This will enable your Scout to record photos every few seconds or video while sailing, canoeing, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, or any other small-boat activity.


Another option besides the Chesty is the one of the many “clip” mounts that can be attached to a lifejacket to record Sea Scouts in action.

Sea Scouts can wear a GoPro camera on over a hat with the Head Strap.


There are many ways to take a GoPro camera underwater with different hand-held grips that include a wrist strap. Some options include the GoPro Handler, the Cartel Handel Grip, or the Grenade Grip.


The Suction Cup Mount is also excellent to attach to a wheelhouse window to record bridge operations in action or on the front of a cabin to record underway activities.

Before You Get on the Water

Every Ship should plan to record video or photos every time they get underway. However, here are some basic tips for recording Scouts:

Be sure to have a Talent Release on File;

Make sure Sea Scouts are wearing Sea Scout shirts so your Ship is recognized in your community;

Follow all state boating laws and BSA rules for safe boating; and

Position the camera to capture action and fronts of faces.

Tools to Tell Your Story

After you review your photos and video, here are some tips for editing together a short Sea Scout video for YouTube or a presentation:

Keep it Short. You might have 4 hours of video, but a good Internet video is 30 to 120 seconds. Select the best video segments for your final product. You can also use different video clips to create multiple videos.

Use royalty free music to avoid copyright violations. There are many options for purchasing music for promotional use, such as from

Another option is to create your video and then retain a composer to write custom music for the original score. This can cost anywhere from $400 to $1000 depending on the composer and music, so most Ships would only do this for a truly important project due to the cost.

There are many options for software to edit GoPro video. There are multiple iPad and Tablet Apps for editing video, some of which are free. Desktop applications such as iMovie, Adobe Premier, Adobe Premier Elements, are just a few of the options available to video editing.

Lights, Camera, Action

Action cameras like the GoPro give us the ability to tell the story of our Sea Scout Ships. I strongly encourage Ships incorporate their use into weekly activities to record your adventures. This technology allows us to show the best of our program in recruiting presentations, online videos, and shared across social media to promote our Ships.

Recruiting Success Story: Pacific Skyline Council Sea Scout Open House

September 29, 2014 at 1:53 am | Posted in Boy Scouts, Marketing, Sea Scouts | Leave a comment
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Recruit_flyer_2014_councilThe Sea Scout Ships Gryphon, Intrepid, and the MSS Tradewind hosted an open house for prospective new Sea Scouts on September 27, 2014. This event was the most successful recruiting event the Pacific Skyline Council Sea Scouts have organized. Job well done.

The Sea Scout Ships developed recruiting flyers that were posted around the community, such as youth centers, by a parent and the District Executive for Sea Scouts. The parent also was successful in getting the news of the open house into several of the high school electronic news letters. Press releases were also prepared and submitted to local publications, including the Patch. Other significant outreach was made into the community, including presentations to the local yacht club.

The Council included news about the open house for two weeks in the weekly electronic newsletter, plus one stand-alone message on Friday September 26, 2014.

The open house included a demonstration of Breeches Buoy, followed by tours of the boats, a barbecue hamburger lunch (including veggie burgers), followed by getting underway on the Gryphon and Intrepid.

The Pacific Skyline Council Open House was an excellent display of Sea Scout Ships planning a recruiting event, involving Scouts in the design of marketing material, parental assistance in getting the message out, and council support in promoting the event to Boy Scouts and their families.

Bravo Zulu!

Remembering a Shipmate

September 29, 2014 at 1:10 am | Posted in Sea Scouts | Leave a comment
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Kent Dryden was a Mate on the Sea Scout Ship Tiki Too from Sacramento, California. Kent served his country in the US Army and spent many years in the service of Sea Scouts. Kent passed away after a battle with cancer on September 22, 2014.

Kent was a highly skilled individual, always happy to help at a Sea Scout event, and had a wonderful sense of humor. “Mr. Kent” judged Drill at the Old Salt’s, Sea Farer’s, Ancient Mariner Regattas in WR Area 3. As a former regatta chairman, I can say I never worried about Drill with Kent judging. Kent was fair, knew the event, and above all else, liked working with Sea Scouts.

Kent will be missed by his family, those who sailed with him, and those who called him friend.

Drill Coxswain of the Tiki Too reporting to "Mr Kent" (on right) for the AMR Drill Off.

Drill Coxswain of the Tiki Too reporting to “Mr Kent” (on right) for the AMR Drill Off.

Safety @ Sea 2014 Registration is Now Open

September 20, 2014 at 3:18 pm | Posted in Safe Boating, Sea Scouts, Training | Leave a comment
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The Safety @ Sea is a weekend of hands-on maritime safety instruction. The 21st San Francisco Safety @ Sea is October 24-26, 2014.


If your Ship is interested in attending, please download the Sea Letter on the event information. Registration information is below. Join us on October 25 and let’s get on the water.

The Amazing Adventure of the Hanalei Cruise

September 12, 2014 at 8:40 pm | Posted in Cruises, Sea Scouts | Leave a comment
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Mask-UnderwaterWe are Sea Scout Ship Decisive from the island of Kauai. We do many great things all around the island.

We had a great cruise over Labor Day. On Friday we spent the night on the boat at Nawiliwili boat harbor. We always spend the night on the boat the night before so we can do provisioning, clean the boat, and get all our things stowed away. This cruise has so far been the clearest, funnest, flat water cruise I have went on.

When we were underway the waves were perfect. Dolphins swam against our bow their gray skin glistening in the sun squeaking say HI!! to us. The sun was out, blue skies everywhere, birds were flying and every one had a good time. There were smiles on everybody’s faces, our cheeks would hurt by the end of the day from smiling and laughing and having a great time! Opal Livingston was our original boatswain. This cruise was her Quartermaster cruise. She was the skipper for 4 days. She did absolutely great!  We all did our part to make her job easier and to make the cruise fun!

I was the engineer for this cruise. It was my third time being engineer. Being engineer was a interesting experience. My first time it took me a little while to get the hang of it but now It is fun to be the engineer. I know more about how engines work, how to change the oil or coolant on a engine which is something many people cannot do. So i am very happy to have that experience. During this cruise we did many amazing and life changing things. We drove our boat named Sea Fox to Kilauea Lighthouse. There were many caves for us to swim in. We put on snorkeling gear, grabbed our partner and dove deep to beautiful fishes, colorful coral, beautiful blue and green waters for miles. We saw lots of colorful fishes, lobsters, coral, shells and many more.


We got to go on a huge land like rock where we found shells and sea urchins sun bathing. It was one of the most beautiful and the most amazing experiences I have ever had. Another thing we did so we could get a sign off is to swim a mile. We started at the Hanalei pier, it was  me and a couple other people including opal who swam the mile. We jumped off the Hanalei pier into the sparkling cool water and started swimming to our destination. Swimming this made me feel very accomplished and made me feel like I could do anything. On every trip I go to I thank God for the amazing opportunity I was given. I am now the boatswains mate admin for our ship. I am very experienced and very blessed to be going on boat trips. I am excited to lead our ship to great potential and leadership with our new boatswain Tessa Ramsey! Stay tuned for more on the amazing adventures on Kauai!



How to Boost Sea Scout Recruiting with Visibility

September 7, 2014 at 9:15 pm | Posted in Boy Scouts, Recruiting, Sea Scouts | Leave a comment
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Peter Schmidt, the 2014-2015 National Sea Scout Boatswain, shares recruiting tips on how to be visible in your community.

Western Region Recruiting Challenge

September 1, 2014 at 4:09 pm | Posted in Sea Scouts | Leave a comment

Tahoe_Chaser_5489It is back to school time, which means it is time for Fall Recruiting.

To promote recruiting NEW Sea Scouts, we have created our first Western Region Recruiting Challenge and Sea Scout Recruiting White Paper on how to develop a strategic recruiting plan. 

The Western Region Recruiting Challenge is a competition to see which Sea Scout Ship in the Western Region cannot just recruit the most new members, but the greatest percentage of new Sea Scouts.

All new Sea Scouts must make the rank of Apprentice to be considered a “new” Sea Scout. The competition will take place between September 1, 2014 to December 1, 2014.

Set Your Course

Sea Scouts Ships wishing to participate must register on the following form and make updates on your recruiting progress. Just enter the number of Sea Scouts currently registered on your Ship as of September 1, 2014.

Your Ship must make updates on the types of recruiting events organized, new recruits who join, and when they earn Apprentice. The reporting dates are September 15; October 1; October 15; November 1; November 15; December 1.

Social Media

MorningStar7Promote your recruiting activities on Instagram and Twitter with the hash tags #SeaScouts and #GetontheWater.

Every time a new Sea Scout passes their Apprentice, film a video with an app like Cinamatic, 8mm, or video app of your choosing, striking 8 Bells to be posted on Instagram and Twitter.

The Prize

The Sea Scout Ship with the greatest percentage of growth will win a special activity for their Ship, customized for their home port, and with the advice of their adult volunteers and Quarterdeck.

The winning Ship will be announced in early December 2014.

Set Sail

The first step in participating in the Western Region Recruiting Challenge is for your Ship to plan a recruiting campaign. There are many options for building a campaign, such as planning a Welcome Aboard Day, visiting Boy Scout Troops, school presentations, public events, and monthly press releases. Please check out the Sea Scout, BSA Recruiting White Paper for other ideas on recruiting.

Good luck! I wish you success.

Joshua Gilliland

Western Region Commodore

National Sea Scout Committee

Back to School Recruiting

August 24, 2014 at 6:24 pm | Posted in Recruiting, Sea Scouts | Leave a comment
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Sea Scouts across the Western Region had an amazing summer, from long cruises, to hosting the Koch Cup, to SEAL courses, the first Western Region Bridge of Honor, and Disneyland. Our Sea Scouts are now going back to school and it is time to start fall recruiting.

I strongly encourage each Sea Scout Ship to discuss and plan a recruiting event if you have not done so already. One of the issues identified in our Sea Scout Survey from our National Boatswain is many Sea Scout Ships do not have a recruiting plan. Other branches of Scouting are encouraging active recruiting, with getting out into the local communities.


I am very interested in hearing recruiting success stories. It would be extremely helpful if you have a recruiting plan to hear what has worked for your Ship in the form below.

WR Region Sea Scout Bridge of Honor on the USS Iowa

August 21, 2014 at 2:47 am | Posted in Advancement, Bridge of Honor, Sea Scouts | 1 Comment
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The first Western Region Bridge of Honor was held on July 26, 2014. The Bridge was held on the fantail of the USS Iowa, one of the most decorated battleships in United States history. The Sea Scouts attending also had their admission to Disneyland covered the next day by National Sea Scout Committee Member and WR Area 3 Commodore Bob French.

Purpose of the Bridge of Honor

WRBridge_WRYeoman_4617A Sea Scout Bridge of Honor is an awards ceremony similar to a Boy Scout Court of Honor in that the Sea Scout receives their Advancement Awards during the Landship Ceremony. In addition, the Sea Scouts host a Sea Scout Ball.

To the public, a Bridge of Honor is visible evidence of what Sea Scouting has done for youth in the community; to the Sea Scout volunteer it is the vision, faith and satisfaction which gives them the courage and resolve to carry on in their unselfish leadership; to the Sea Scout it is the reward for their loyalty and teamwork, an experience to cherish in the years to come. From the 1939 Sea Scout Manual.

Why a Western Region Bridge of Honor?

The goal of hosting a Western Region Bridge of Honor was to inspire Sea Scouts to set and complete Advancement goals. This goal was meet with thirty Sea Scouts being recognized for earning their Apprentice; nine Sea Scouts for earning Ordinary; and one Sea Scout for earning Able.

WRBridge_4771We recognized three Sea Scouts who had earned Quartermaster in the past year and one new Quartermaster was presented onboard the USS Iowa.

WRBridgeCakeMy hope for 2015 is to see continued Advancement. Sea Scouts who are actively working on Advancement have to get on the water for many of their requirements.

The 2014 National Flagship Fleet

The Western Region had the most Sea Scout Ships in the country apply for the BoatUS National Flagship Award. Three of the Ships that submitted applications were named to the National Flagship Fleet. National Sea Scout Director Keith Christopher recognized the Sea Scout Ships Heatwave, Tsunami, & City of Roses for their outstanding programs in being part of the National Flagship Fleet.

The 2014 Western Region Flagship

Both the National and Western Flagship Competitions are based up on the Journey to Excellence. The competition focuses on a Sea Scout Ship’s annual activities, from advancement, to community service, and of course how they get on the water.

The evaluations for the Western Region Flagship were done on four separate categories: Scouting, Seamanship, Service, and Social. These are the four S’s of Sea Scouting. Each S was judged on a 5 point scale.

The first Western Region Flagship had a total of 18 points out of 20. Their program is extremely impressive, which is why they were once the National Flagship and have been honored in the National Flagship Fleet.

Please join me is congratulating the Sea Scout Ship Makai as being the first Western Region Flagship.

How Sea Scouts Prepares You for Life

Alameda Council Commodore Kris Leverich gave the keynote address on the USS Iowa on how Sea Scouts prepares young people for life. Kris grew up on the SSS Gryphon of Redwood City, California and is now a lieutenant in the United States Coast Guard. Kris’ Coast Guard service has taken him from buoy tenders to the Barque Eagle to search and rescue missions.

Commodore Leverich said in his keynote:

I definitely have the life I want right now, however long that lasts, so perhaps I’m supposed to be here again with a chance to really understand not so much WHY Sea Scouting made a difference for me- hardly a day goes by where I don’t note another turning point in my wake influenced by Sea Scouting, no… not why, but how it made a difference.

I can answer that with two sentence fragments: Prepared. For Life.

Particularly for larger coastal units, but not exclusively, Sea Scouting is a resource intensive program. The boats, materials, supplies, maintenance, fuel make our program dwarf the resource demands for many other youth programs… but look around and see the symbolic badges of achievement being honored here today. Beneath them all, beneath all of the studying and demonstration of rank requirements, beneath all of the planning, the logistics, the coordination, and the final mission execution for everyone to muster here from hundreds of miles away aboard this stunning monument to American courage and excellence, something deeper is happening.

For those of you who took a chance to do something different from routine home life, you know that something deeper is happening. Maybe you start sensing it when you go to school one Monday morning and you almost can’t describe your weekend in Sea Scouting because you aren’t sure anyone else could or would believe you. That’s how it was for me…

And for some who go on to a life absent anything resembling things you did as a Sea Scout, you suddenly realize that you resolved a dispute smarter, or held someone accountable, accepted critical appraisal or just organized a mess because – wait a minute, you handled it way back in Sea Scouts. Yeah, maybe things were going badly in your crew at a regatta practice, or an endless summer haul-out, or the 3rd day of a long cruise where you discover someone forgot to buy TP. Yes, even then, something deeper is happening that transcends situational context.

Trial and error, defeat, and many, many mixed successes – all critical to what is deeper in Sea Scouting:

We are preparing you for life.

We are preparing you for life, with all of the coming unknown trials, and in Sea Scouting we are doing it at a level of challenge, managed risk, and scope of opportunities that the best of your generation needs and craves to experience, but too often discovers too late in life; “Wow, I wish I knew about this!”

There are endless examples you can probably think of even now, but for all the successes and failures you are afforded, the only real failure is the lost opportunities for the shipmate you never ask to join and make the most of our shared commitment to one of the most dynamic and consequential experiences preparing you for life. So let me leave you with this thought; appreciate this and so many other moments you will have in Sea Scouting and know that you are part of the cycle wherever you go. With a little luck and lot of work, you can come back around to it in 20 years, too. Thank you.

The Tradition of Challenge Coins

Each Sea Scout who advances in rank at the Western Region Bridge of Honor will be given a new “challenge coin” by the Western Region Commodore. A “challenge coin” is a tradition in the Armed Forces where an Admiral or General gives a coin with their emblem to a service person in recognition of a job well done.

WRChallengeCoinThe Western Region Challenge Coin has an anchor on one side, based on the original 1914 design of the Sea Scout Emblem that would become the First Class Anchor. The design was found in the Sea Scout Ship Pioneer’s logbook from August 24, 1914. The Sea Scout image on the other side of the coin was taken in 1942 of a Sea Scout practicing semaphore in Santa Monica. This image was found in the archives of the Boy Scout Museum in Texas. The original 3 S’s of Sea Scouting is across the top of the coin.

The Sea Scouts of the Caribbean

WR Area 3 Commodore Bob French, and National Sea Scout Committee Member, is one of the kindest human beings in the history of Sea Scouts. “Commodore Bob” wanted to make the WR Bridge grand and offered to cover the admission costs to Disneyland for all of the participating Sea Scouts.

SeaScouts_Disneyland_8877Sea Scouts mustered outside of Disneyland at 0730 on the morning of July 27, 2014. All hands formed up outside of the park for a group picture to thank Commodore French and promptly headed to Pirates of the Caribbean. Over 90 Sea Scouts and their adult volunteers boarded boats, singing away “A Pirates Life for Me.”

WRBridge_Disneyland_8843Sea Scouts enjoyed a full day at the Magic Kingdom, answering the challenge to post photos on Instagram with the hash tags #seascouts and #getonthewater.

Thank you for every Sea Scout who attended and keep up the good work for 2015.

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