Sea Scout Recognized with the Medal of Merit from the Boy Scouts of America

January 29, 2015 at 5:36 pm | Posted in Boy Scouts, Cruises, Safe Boating, Sea Scouts | 2 Comments
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049Sea Scout Tessa R from the SSS Deceive from the Hawaiian Island of Kauai, truly lived the Sea Promise’s directive to guard against water accidents and render aid to those in need to three boaters who were adrift after losing power.

Tessa was recognized with the Medal of Merit at the Kauai District Recognition Dinner from the Aloha Council for her actions.

As Tessa’s Skipper, Aloha Council Commodore Larry Richardson, explained to The Garden Island, the Sea Scouts were anchored off Molokai when a passing small boat with three people lost power and began drifting towards a reef.

While no lives were in immediate danger, Tessa went out in the Deceive’s dingy, rowed out to the drifting vessel, and towed the small vessel to a dock over a quarter of a mile away.

Tessa rowed the entire way.

Tessa is an Ordinary Sea Scout, the Boatswain of the SSS Deceive, and attends Kapaa High School. She is on both the Cross Country and Swim Teams.

Job well done on representing the best of traditions of Scouting.

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National Commodore Charles Wurster to be Presented the Silver Beaver Award

January 4, 2015 at 3:06 am | Posted in Boy Scouts, Sea Scouts | Leave a comment
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Please join me in congratulating Charles Wurster on being honored with the Silver Beaver Award by the San Diego-Imperial Boy Scout Council, to be presented at the annual council dinner on February 6, 2015. The Silver Beaver is the highest award a Boy Scout Council can present to a volunteer.

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The National Commodore’s opening remarks at the first Western Region Bridge of Honor on the USS Iowa.

National Commodore Wurster is a Distinguished Eagle Scout who represents the best traditions of Scouting.

Charles Wurster is a retired three-star admiral from the United States Coast Guard, graduated from the Coast Guard Academy in 1971 with honors, received a Master’s degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois in 1976, and graduated from the Industrial College of Armed Forces in 1993.

Vice Admiral Wurster has an impressive service record, having been awarded the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal (four awards), the Coast Guard Commendation Medal (two awards), and the Coast Guard Achievement Medal (two awards).

That is everything you can learn about the National Commodore from Wikipedia. The Admiral’s dedication to Scouting and values are extremely impressive in their own right.

I met Charles Wurster in 2005 when he attended Safety at Sea in San Francisco (he was a Rear Admiral at the time). It was cold and raining. Just a couple of hours touring the events with Charles Wurster were lessons in leadership. He went out of his way to visit with volunteers, Sea Scouts, and Coasties alike. Everyone he talked with literally felt good about volunteering their time to help Sea Scouts.

The Captain of then-Group San Francisco (now Sector) held a reception for Admiral Wurster. The good admiral wanted to visit the galley crew to thank them for the food prepared for the reception. Admiral Wurster walked into the galley and went behind the service area to find a cook who was busy doing dishes. The young cook looked up, and judging by the expression on his face, was not expecting to see a two-star admiral in the galley. The cook promptly pulled his soapy hand out of the pot he was scrubbing and saluted. The young man honestly looked humbled to be thanked for his efforts.

In 2010, Admiral Wurster had retired from the Coast Guard and was the President/CEO of the Port of San Diego. As the National Commodore, he visited the William I. Koch International Sea Scout Cup, held at the Coast Guard Academy.

CWurster_HeavingLine_4324The Koch Cup took one day off from the regatta to have a Safety at Sea training at Station New London.

The National Commodore quietly arrived on base without any fanfare and saw a Sea Scout trying to master how to throw a heaving line. Charlie directly went over to the Sea Scout and worked with the Scout on how to coil and throw a heaving line.

Charles Wurster is not afraid to get his hands dirty and always puts Scouts first. He truly enjoys working with young people, mentoring, and investing in the future.

Charlie’s love of Scouting is evident from his dedication to Sea Scouts. At the first Western Region Bridge of Honor, Commodore Wurster saw all of the Sea Scouts assembled to board Landship on the stern of the USS Iowa, and with a broad smile, he said, “I love it.”

The Admiral represents the best of Scouting and is very deserving of the Silver Beaver Award. If you are in the San Diego area and wish to attend the council dinner, please visit the San Diego-Imperial Council for more information.

A Naval Academy Midshipman Shares How Sea Scouts Helped Prepare Her for Annapolis

December 31, 2014 at 5:37 pm | Posted in Annapolis, Sea Scouts | Leave a comment
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Sea Scout alumni and Naval Academy Midshipman Taylor Lindenhayn stated in her college application essay, “Sea Scouts has inspired me to push my physical and intellectual boundaries.”

Ms. Lindenhayn took time out her holiday schedule to record a series of videos messages on how Sea Scouts helped prepare her for the Naval Academy. In the first video, Ms. Lindenhayn describes what Sea Scouts means to her: Friendship, Leadership, and Seamanship. Midshipman Lindenhayn describes the impact each has had on her life and goals.

Midshipman Lindenhayn further wrote in her college essay:

I was fascinated by Sea Scouts whether we repaired the ship engines or charted a navigation course. When our ship would sometimes break down at sea, I learned to remain calm under pressure, think “outside the box” and overcome obstacles. I developed the self-confidence to tackle complex challenges and learned to resolve issues as a team.

Ms. Lindenhayn explains in the second video how she put the seamanship and navigation knowledge she learned in Sea Scouts into practice at the Naval Academy.

[Note, the views expressed are solely Ms. Lindenhayn and not the views of the United States Navy or United States Naval Academy].

Sea Scouts Celebrate the Holidays

December 22, 2014 at 2:39 am | Posted in Sea Scouts | Leave a comment
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Sea Scouts in the Western Region are spreading holiday cheer from Arizona, to California, to Hawaii. Ships are entering their vessels in holiday themed parades, both on and off the water. Participating in parades helps building local awareness of Sea Scout Ships, creates an opportunity to get on the water, and is a great way to have fun with your shipmates.

Aside from displaying their vessels, Sea Scouts are hosting holiday parties AND volunteering their time to make the holidays brighter. Job well done to the SSS Decisive on Kauai in their Toys for Tots Drive. Thank you for strongly demonstrating helpful Service to others.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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)

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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.

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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

(Lifesaving)

(Fish and Wildlife Management) towards Hornaday Award

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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!

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

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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
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

NOAA @NOAA

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.

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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
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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.

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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

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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.

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“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.

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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.

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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!

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