So often we stumble upon what later turns out to be a pretty good idea. Thus was the case with the “Training Weekend” concept.
Some years back our boat needed engine work and we couldn’t take it cruising, but we still needed to do some sort of activity.
Our crew decided they would spend the weekend aboard our boat, but not leave the dock. Instead, they would take the Coast Guard Auxiliary Safe Boating Class, and when that was done they would practice driving our small boats in the harbor.
It was Saturday in class and Sunday on the water. “Small Boat Handler Weekend” was born.
Right away we noticed some real benefits:
- It was still fun to stay aboard the boat, even if we didn’t go anywhere
- No one was late because we were already there!
- Rank advancement requirements were a lot easier when we did them as a group
- We were able to get many sign offs at once, making rank advancement much easier
- Spending the entire weekend ensured that we truly learned the material presented
- There is no better place to learn about boating than on a boat, surrounded by boats.
The result of Small Boat Handler Weekend was that we all earned our “Small Boat Handler” bar and we all completed the Coast Guard Auxiliary Safe Boating Class. (Ordinary requirement #14) With just a little bit of additional training during the weekend we were able to meet the requirements for Ordinary #7, “Boat Handling” and #8, “Anchoring”. Those were some big steps towards earning Ordinary!
This was such a success, we’ve made it an annual event and have since staged many different training weekends. Some of our training weekends have been:
Rank Advancement Weekend (RAW)
- We split into groups and work on those tough to get rank sign offs
- We take the “Weekend Navigator” course through our local Coast Guard Auxiliary and even learned some celestial navigation. We also got sign-offs for rank advancement!
Petty Officer Academy
- Quarterdeck training using the “Introduction to Leadership Skills for Ships” course and other leadership and position specific training
First Aid Training Weekend
- We learned the Red Cross First Aid and CPR course, got certified, and met the requirements for advancement to Able. (#5, “Safety” F, G, and H)
So, there are really no limits to what you can do with a weekend that you’ve dedicated to training. You can have your own training weekend and focus on whatever your ship needs to work on.
Here are a few tips:
- Plan ahead on who needs what rank sign-offs and tailor your content and instruction to meet those requirements.
- Remember to mix classroom with practical, hands-on stuff.
- Partner with local organizations that can help you provide the training. They will often do it at a discount for Scouts.
We do our training weekends on our boat, but you can do them anywhere that works for your ship: a sea base, Coast Guard station, yacht club, even a campout.
And that’s it! Training Weekends are fun, educational, and help you meet your training goals. Try a Training Weekend for your ship’s program. You’ll be glad you did.
Skipper, SSS Decisive
Western Region Programming Task Force