Becoming a member of a Sea Scout ship was definitely a highlight in my life. During my Eagle court of honor in May of 1996, I had a Sea Scout and a Police explorer as my color guard. This is where I made my final decision to join a ship. (Also, being a third generation Sea Scout helped make that decision a little easier.) I found a ship local to me where I thought I would be welcomed and also reflected the sense of fun that I was looking for.
One of the first things that I was a part of was my ships admission ceremony. This was my indoctrination into what would be a very interesting journey. Ships from all over the county have certain ways that they do this ceremony and that is part of Sea Scouting that is unique. While we all have a commonality, it is our differences that make this fun. Each will have their own customs and traditions when welcoming in new members. Don’t forget that you can add your own flair to this ceremony. There is nothing set in stone. Make it yours! As an added bonus, consider inviting Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops to witness the ceremony. Who knows? You might come away with a new member or two.
A landship is a specialized way for Sea Scouts to create some atmosphere at their meetings. This is where a ships opening and closing ceremonies take place. Depending on the needs of your ship, the landship can be as extravagant or as simple as you wish. In fact, some of the best landships are made from second hand materials that could be donated for ships use.
One of my favorite ceremonies that I found in regards to a ships admission ceremony comes from ship 5151 out of the Gulf Coast Council in Pensacola Florida. I found that what they do truly covers what it takes to be a Sea Scout. In an article written by Bryan Perkins, district director in the Gulf Coast council, he writes, “new Sea Scout recruits were introduced to the crew and officers of the ship. The Scout then appeared at three stations on the landship. At the bow of the landship stands the Boatswain to recite the Sea Scout Promise with the new recruit.”
The second place on the landship the recruit approaches is the Quarterdeck where he meets with the Skipper. Here is where the Skipper and the scout can go over the code of the sea and the patriotic duties of a scout.
Lastly, the recruit is taken to the stern of the ship where he signs the Yeoman’s log book. Once the scout has accepted to follow the bylaws of the ship, they are now a full member. As Bryan states in his article, “From there, they report to their crew assignment where they are read the ship’s admission statement by the Skipper. This is part of the Sea Scout ‘S.P.A.R.’ or the Sea Scout Personal Advancement Record for promotion to the next rank of Apprentice.” The journey to Quartermaster has begun. Taking these oaths in front of friends and family also makes this first landship memorable.
A landship opening ceremony: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t-6PvnG0l8U
A landship closing ceremony: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ETmnmIvEj-E
Western Region Program Task Force