Recruiting Tips

A couple days ago I wrote about how important recruiting is.

Getting people in the door. How do you do that? There are two ways of getting people in the door that I have found very successful. The first is community advertising; that’s newspaper articles about your ship, booths at community events such as a farmer’s market. Anything that gets your ship noticed in the community falls under this category. The second way of growing your ship that I have found successful is one on one recruiting. This most often takes the form of one crew member talking to one of their friends about Sea Scouts so much that their friend gets worn down and comes to an event. I have also seen people join Sea Scouts after being bribed with food to come visit.

One on One Recruiting

So, one on one recruiting. This is where you actually go and talk to people. The people are usually friends, classmates, or teammates. The mostly amounts to telling your friends about Sea Scouts. You have to be careful here because while you want to get your friends interested, but you don’t want to scare them off. Think about it, Sea Scouts are really awesome, but some people just can’t handle that level of awesomeness so you have to ease them into it.

If you are shy about talking to your friends about Sea Scouts, or if your friends don’t believe your stories about how awesome the program is, there are some great videos on youtube.

Community Advertising

Lets talk community advertising. How do you do that? The hardest part is first finding the right people to talk to. You want to talk to the person organizing the farmer’s market, or street fair,  or whatever the event is. Once you find that person you have to let them know who you are, and what you want. People are usually very accommodating, and want to help out youth programs like Sea Scouts. My ships regularly picks up trash, or does a color guard in exchange for space to set up a booth. When we set up booths we have both information, and some sort of activity. We also make sure to have lots of pictures.

Another form of community advertising is getting articles in the local newspaper. My ship is lucky because one of the adult volunteers at the other ship in our town works for the newspaper, so we have people on the inside. If you haven’t infiltrated your local paper yet, then your best bet is to start making friends with the people who work there. Just like the people who run the festivals, usually the people working at the newspaper want to help you. You can provide them with great stories about Sea Scouts battling the elements, winning regattas, and all in all being awesome.

That’s all for now. Post any tips you have in the comments below. On Wednesday I will post some tips suggestions for retaining the people who show up.

How to set the hook.

Parker Smith,
Western Region Boatswain



  1. Parker, great article and suggestions. Here’s another option. Have an advisor give a talk at your school on career day.

    As a Sea Scout from 1960s and the captain of an Offshore Supply Vessel in the Gulf Of Mexico I have spoken at many schools and enjoy recruiting. There’s just ‘something’ about a merchant captain remembering and recounting his beginning as a youth in Sea Scouts.

    I broaden the presentation to include pictures of fishing and merchant vessels, USCG and Marine Law Enforcement activities. I find that most teens are tired of living vicariously through the adventures of others but have no idea how to make the first step. I make that step for them by giving them a form to have signed by their parents with the date, time and location of our next underway activity. I also send a description of the Ship and myself with all our contact information.

    It ALWAYS gets their attention when I talk about MY first outing as A Sea Scout. I say, “You will ALWAYS have GREAT memories of your first summer in Sea Scouts. How do I know? Because I STILL do.”

    Fair Winds and fond memories!

    Capt. Gregory Rekart
    OSV Caitlyn A. Callais
    Former crew of:
    S.S.S. Richard H. Dana;
    and, S.S.S. Santa Maria.
    Past Skipper of:
    S.E.S. R. A. McCullah;
    and, S.S.S. Oregon.

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