What Makes a Successful Sea Scout Cruise?

November 21, 2014 at 8:17 pm | Posted in Cruises, Safe Boating, Sea Scouts, Training | Leave a comment
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The Western Region Boatswain and I were invited to cruise on with the Sea Scout Ship Tiki Too on their vessel Liberty. The cruise was a wonderful example of how to incorporate all 4 S’s of Sea Scouting into a weekend adventure.


It also made me think, what are the key elements that make a Sea Scout cruise a Scouting activity, opposed to merely a boat ride?

Scouting is Fundamental

Sea Scouts, BSA would just be a youth boating program without “Scouting.” Sea Scouts is about learning skills that will serve you in life. This might be from working as a team to prepare a meal in the Galley, or how to organize your shipmates into watches for vessel operation, or the simple act of wearing matching t-shirts to be in uniform while cruising.


The Boatswain of the Tiki Too uphold the Sea Promise by repairing the buoyant apparatus.

Good Seamanship is Not a Spectator Sport

Sailors might be known for sea stories, but those sea stories are born from adventure.


Getting underway requires Sea Scouts who take the helm, operate the engines, and stand by their dock lines to take their vessel to sea. Moreover, being underway requires Sea Scouts plot courses, stand as lookout, and maintain a proper watch to ensure the safety of all onboard.


Everything Sea Scouts do underway is to ensure the safety of those onboard, because  1) it is the law, and 2) every time we state the Sea Promise it is our commitment as Sea Scouts to be responsible mariners on the water.


There is also a great maxim that sets Sea Scouts apart from others: stay active.

The crew of the Tiki Too completed numerous projects while underway, such as splicing dock lines for a newly donated vessel; replacing life lines on the buoyant apparatus; and prepping a fire monitor for painting; and painting the fire monitor.


Work and skill building should be fun. This was evidenced with the Tiki Too crew practicing “lassoing” the bit on the foredeck.

Service is a Part of Scouting

Part of Scouting is to do a good turn daily. Moreover, the Scout Law reminds us all to be Kind.

After securing in Walnut Grove, a sailor in advanced age asked for help carrying groceries down to his boat. Being good Scouts, the Tiki Too helped the sailor with his supplies.

Nothing Says Social Like Ice Cream

Ice cream improves any Sea Scout adventure. Once secured in port after a long day underway, the crew of the Tiki Too continued the tradition that many other Sea Scouts over the decades have enjoyed, and ventured up to the iconic ice cream shop in Walnut Grove.

Set Special Sea and Anchor Detail

There are many great Sea Scout cruises taking place across the entire Western Region, from Seattle, to San Diego, to the Great Salt Lake. The boats might be different, but the 4 S’s of Sea Scouting are constant across every Sea Scout cruise. Sea Scouts have fun, learn new skills, and make memories that will last a lifetime.

Our 1st Aquatic Merit Badge Weekend

November 19, 2014 at 10:53 pm | Posted in Advancement, Boats, Boy Scouts, Recruiting, Safe Boating, Sailing, Sea Scouts | Leave a comment
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By Skipper Kathy Weydig

This past weekend the SSS Heatwave, with support from SSS Raven, hosted our first Aquatic Merit Badge weekend for Sea Scouts and Boy Scouts in the London Bridge district, Las Vegas Area Council at Windsor State Park, Lake Havasu City, Arizona.

We are ‘the little ship in the desert’, but have this amazing body of water called the Colorado River. We have 40 miles of navigable water before having to jump a dam. This is most important water system to Southern California and Arizona. (That is for another blog post)


This event was to introduce Boy Scouts to what Sea Scouts is all about, offer aquatic merit badges that are often not accessible to all scouts, plus a little recruiting along the way doesn’t hurt. We offered subject matter experts from Arizona Game and Fish, Lake Havasu Fire Dept., the local radio club head, president of Anglers United- Arizona, head lifeguard/swimming trainers and local boat captains. People that were eager to teach the youth scouts for all the right reasons.


Friday night offered an hour to accomplish their BSA Swim for those in need in our local Aquatic Center. Saturday troops from Needles and Blythe, CA; Boulder City, NV; and local Troop 55 from Lake Havasu City, AZ participated in Swimming, Lifesaving, Radio, Fish & Wildlife Management, Oceanography, Motorboating, Kayaking, Small boat Sailing, Rowing, Fire Safety, Fishing,       and Fly-fishing. Sea Scouts used these badges to get signed off of requirements for advancements. (Male Sea Scouts can get credit for BSA badges, while female Sea Scouts cannot in our BSA Advancement system.) All got credit towards their respective rank.

Apprentice:    BSA Swim,

(Radio) 5.c

(Rowing) 7 d

(Sm. Boat Sailing) 16c

(Motorboating) 6

Ordinary:       (Swimming)

(Radio) 5 e & f

Able:   (Fires Safety) 5 c & d Live fire drills with extinguishers


(Fish and Wildlife Management) towards Hornaday Award


Saturday afternoon brought Pack 992, the local Cub Scout pack, to camp with us in the park, allowing the Cubs to see what Sea Scouts is. In the evening Troop 55 hosted the campfire for all to enjoy. Every den, troop and ship performed a skit!


Sunday, more badges and SSS Heatwave held a landship to induce four new Sea Scouts for all to see.


Our local Roundtable was held on Tuesday night and our District Executive said that we were the talk of the evening. Yes, this will be an annual event. The benefit is tenfold, from exposure to the community and scouts, to the recruitment opportunities that have opened, we are eager to do it again next year.

Honoring Sea Scout Veterans of the Armed Services

November 10, 2014 at 4:26 pm | Posted in Sea Scouts, Veterans Day | Leave a comment

Sea Scouts have a proud history of serving their Nation. Many Sea Scout alumni have served, and many are currently serving, in the United States Navy, Coast Guard, Marines, Army, Air Force, and Merchant Marine.


Over 100,000 Sea Scouts served in World War II. Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz said that forty percent of the men who served under his command in World War II had been Scouts; those individuals earned sixty percent of the medals for valor Nimitz awarded.

We are fortunate that so many of our alumni have served our country. Whether we remember those who fought in the Great War; those who defeated fascism in World War II; those who stood the long watch of the Cold War; and the men and women today who have fought in the War on Terror, remember all are our Shipmates. Please thank them for their service to our country.

Creating a Social Media Campaign for Your Sea Scout Ship

November 9, 2014 at 11:51 pm | Posted in Marketing, Sea Scouts | 1 Comment
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Sea Scout Ships across the Western Region are using social media to promote Sea Scouting in their communities. Here are tips on how you can start using social media to market your Ship. This is not an all-inclusive list and there are many ways to launch a social media campaign. The purpose of this post is to help a Ship begin a social media campaign that has never organized one before focused on photo sharing. Each social media application has its own features you can use to create dynamic content, so there are many ways to showcase your Ship in action.


Some might wonder, what is the value of using social media? Professionals and Volunteers see social media as a great way to show the best of our activities to the community for external marketing and internal marketing to highlight activities. More importantly, it can be done with no financial investment if you have a smartphone or tablet.

According to Business Insider, 91% of people in the United States between the ages of 18 to 34 are on Facebook; 85% of those between the ages of 35 to 54 are on Facebook. Business Insider also found that Facebook is the most used social media application by teenagers on a daily basis.

Nearly half of the US population between the ages of 18 to 34 is on Instagram. Moreover, photo driven social media is very popular with teenagers.

This data shows us that the parents of prospective Sea Scouts, future volunteers, and youth who could be interested in Sea Scouts, are on social media.

Social media campaigns can reach an extremely large audience, with little to no cost in operating the campaign. Here are tips in starting a social media campaign:

Appoint a Social Media Coordinator

Ask a parent or alumni to be the social media coordinator for your Ship. This individual’s responsibility is to manage the different social media accounts for the Ship and encourage parents, volunteers, and scouts to take photos or video during weekly activities.

Social media requires photos and supporting content, so encourage everyone to participate with smartphones, Go Pro Cameras, and cameras to capture the moments that show the best of Sea Scouting for use on your Ship’s social media accounts.


Create Social Media Accounts

There are many different types of social media. Try starting out with Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook Fan Page for one integrated marketing campaign for your Sea Scout Ship. Instagram can act as the “hub” for all content. Photos from Instagram can be cross-posted to Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook Fan Page, so you only need to post one photo to have information posted to four different accounts.

Install Instagram on your smartphone or tablet and login to your account. Under “Share Settings,” you can connect your Sea Scout Ship Facebook Fan Page, Twitter, and Tumblr accounts. InstagramShareSettingScreenShot

Tip on connecting your Facebook Fan Page to Instagram: You will need to change the default from posting to your personal timeline to your Fan Page. This can be changed in Instagram by tapping “Share Settings,” followed by tapping Facebook, and then tapping “Share Photos To” settings. You will be given the option to share photos to your timeline and any Fan Pages where you have administrative rights. Select your Ship page and are ready to post photos. For more help, please see the Instagram help page.


A note on Facebook Fan Pages: “Fan Pages” are to represent professional personas and organizations, such as a Sea Scout Ship. Facebook’s terms of service state that Facebook profiles are expressly for individuals, so Sea Scout Ships should use Fan Pages, because creating a Facebook profile named “Sea Scout Ship [X]” violates Facebook’s terms of service. To learn how to create a Fan Page, please visit Facebook’s help page. [Note: Private Groups are an excellent means to communicate information to your existing members that is not for the public if interested in using Facebook to communicate to scouts, parents, and volunteers].

How You Share Photos

Photos can be shared from a smartphone or tablet. If taking photos on a smartphone, you have the ability to take a photo of Sea Scouts in action, and immediately post to four different social media accounts with a message in less than a minute. SelectingFilter-Instagram

To post a photo, launch the Instagram App by double clicking on it. Select the photo you wish to post. Select a filter and enter a message about the photo. Select the other social media accounts you wish to post the photo to for publication.

SelectingSocialMediaAccounts If you are using a tablet such as an iPad, you will need to upload photos from a camera to your tablet. Large format photos may need to be reduced in size for use in Instagram. The remainder of the process is the same for posting photos to Instagram.

What To Share in A Social Media Campaign 

Sea Scouting is an extremely visual program where our Sea Scouts get on the water and have fun. The 4 S’s of Sea Scouts are a great outline for types of activities to photograph: Scouting, Seamanship, Service, and social activities.

Taking photos of Sea Scouts on boats and engaged in any one of the 4 S’s really shows the best of our program. Mix in photos of boats in use, but focus on the Scouts on your Ship.

If you do daily posts, consider having a theme each day that highlight your program, such as Regatta Mondays, Paddle Sports Tuesdays, or Sailing Wednesdays, for example.

If you are looking for examples of how others are using social media, check out the US Coast Guard and US Navy on Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, or Facebook. They have extremely dynamic daily posts.

When to Post To Your Ship Social Media Accounts

Always post at least one photo during your weekly activities. If you have a database of photos, try sharing at least one post a day to show social media activity. Alternatively, you can share interesting maritime or scouting information for those your follow, such as ReTweeting the Safe Boating Council or sharing a post from your Council on your Ship Fan Page. There are many options for sharing, depending on which social media application you are using, and what is relevant to your Sea Scout Ship.

Hash Tags

Incorporating “hash tags” in social media posts helps other searching for content to find your posts. For example, if you post a photo of Sea Scouts sailing, use the hashtags #seascouts and #sailing. This will enable Sea Scouts looking for Sea Scout photos to find the post and those also looking for sailing to see Sea Scouts in action. Additionally, consider using hash tags with your community, such as #LakeTahoe or #Seattle to show those searching for activities in your area that Sea Scouting is active.


Who to Follow on Social Media

You can follow many maritime and Scouting organizations on Instagram, Twitter, or Tumblr. Moreover, approximately half of the Boy Scout Councils in the Western Region are on Twitter and Facebook, so check if your council is active. Here are just a few options of people or groups to follow on Twitter:

Sea Scouts, BSA @SeaScoutsBSA

US Coast Guard @USCG

Safe Boating Council @SafeBoatingCouncil


Sailing World @SailingWorldMag

US Navy @USNavy

Scouting Magazine @scouting

America’s Cup @americascup

SAIL Magazine @sailmagazine

The BSA Chief Scout Executive is @BSAchief on Twitter

There are possibly hundreds if not thousands more, so check out active social media profiles that are relevant to your Ship’s activities on who to follow.

Youth Protection and Talent Releases

Always use common sense when posting to social media. The Boy Scouts of America have Guidelines on Social Media that everyone must follow. It is also highly advisable for every Sea Scout Ship to have talent releases of all Scouts on file prior to posting photos. The BSA has Talent Releases available for download on Scouting.org. Many Sea Scout events include talent releases in the event permission slips.


Build Your Sea Scout Ship’s Brand in Your Community

Social media is a low cost tool for sharing your Sea Scout adventures with your shipmates and community. If all 109 Sea Scout Ships in the Western Region posted one photo every Saturday, we would see a diverse program in action, from Denver to Kapa’a. Please help show your active program to your community by incorporating social media in your strategic marketing plan.

SSS Raven Goes on Halloween Day Cruise

November 4, 2014 at 4:21 am | Posted in Sea Scouts | 1 Comment

Our Ship, the SSS Raven #37 out of Henderson, NV, planned a fun Halloween activity this year. On October 31, 2014, we arrived at 7:00 am at the Lake Mead Marina. The Scouts who attended this Ship event were Jacob, PJ, Lotario, Christian, and Joey. Our adult leaders were Skipper Bill. Skipper’s Mate Deanna, and Committee Member Maggie.

When we first arrived at the Marina Skipper Bill had gotten our boat together. The boat we were using for the day was a small twenty-foot long Bay liner outboard motor boat. First Joey, Christan, and PJ got out type two and type three PFD’s, while Lotario and I, with the help of PJ, took about five minutes to completed a Vessel Safety Check. After the initial checks, we did all of the Motor boating safety checks according to our manuals. Skipper Bill turned on the blower to the boat to get any hazardous fumes out of the engines lines. When we determined it was safe, he started the boat. After the boat was started he drove us out of the Marina and out of the no wake zone. We then got to learn about throttle control on the boat. Once we all had that down and knew how to operate the boat, we each had the chance to pilot the boat.  After we all took our turn, we agreed that it took a while to get used to the controls! They are much different than our sailboat.


Once on the water, we jumped right into man-overboard drills. We thought those were fun, but nobody actually went into the water. After all of that fun, we learned how to the dock the boat. We did all of our docking at the boat launch next to the Marina. Each of us go to take turns docking the boat. We found out that it was hard to do on the first try so we we would do it again until we succeeded. After docking practices were done, we came back into the Marina docked the boat, grabbed our gear, and went back to shore. When we got back, we grabbed some lunch and discussed how the weather was really nice and calm and with little to no winds leading to very little wake. We then talked about what else we could have done to practice our skills. We also discussed our upcoming trip to Lake Havasu for an Aquatic Merit Badge Weekend. Overall, our ship had tons of fun on our planned activity at Lake Mead. We are all looking forward to our next outing on the lake.

Yeoman Jake from SSS Raven


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 iStockphoto.com.

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.

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!



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