The Kia’iokekai is a new Sea Scout Ship on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. I recently had a chance to interview Tanner Martiney, the Skipper of SSS Kia’iokekai and Christina Martiney, the Committee Chair for the new ship. I’d like to share their story and possibly help inspire anyone else out there thinking of starting a new ship:
1. First, please tell us how did you get the name of your ship, Kia`iokekai?
Skipper Martiney: We had a discussion about what kinds of names that we wanted as a ship. The west side of the island is heavily influenced by Hawaiian customs and culture, and having multiple members with Hawaiian ancestry we decided that it should be a Hawaiian name. Then one of our members started talking in Hawaiian about all different things relating to the ocean and sailing/boating. Finally we came to Kia’iokekai, which means “Protectors of the Sea”. I feel this name accurately describes the mission purpose of our program as well as bringing in some of that cultural influence to match our community.
Committee Chair Christie: When the name Kia`iokekai was suggested and the meaning told to us, “protectors of the sea,” our whole ship decided this is what they wanted to be known by. This name became a very important symbol of their Hawaiian heritage, the sea voyaging Hawaiians who were masters at reading the stars and navigation, masters at protecting the oceans knowing when to take and not take from its abundance and utilizing all that it offered for their survival. For our ship, this name brought us to life.
2. Why did you decide to start a new ship?
C. C. Christie: Commodore Larry Richardson (Skipper of SSS Decisive), myself and Tanner Martiney were talking about starting a new ship for almost a year, especially because we knew there were some youth on the west side of our island that were interested in Sea Scouts but making it to meetings on the east side was too difficult for them. It’s always about the kids. This is a very significant program, especially on an island, to be able to offer our youth. Everyone should know how to survive in our waters. Basically, if you see there is a need, then you want to give every boy or girl the opportunity to get the skills, leadership training and fun out of it as much as you can.
Skipper Martiney: When Skipper Richardson and myself looked at the fact that we were not reaching any kids on the westside of the island we realized that we needed a program on that side. So that all of kauai could potentially take part in this awesome program.
3. How long did it take you to get the new ship started once you decided to do it?
C.C. Christie & Skipper Martiney: When we finally made the decision to move forward, I think it took about 3 months to get all of our adult leaders in order and trained, our youth registered, the paperwork processed and our meetings set.
4. What challenges did you face?
Skipper Martiney: One of our first challenges was membership, our first meeting consisted of myself, Chandler, and Kanani. Once we had the membership we had to basically start from scratch with training and get everyone on the same page as far as what was expected from them. When you start a ship with new members that have never been apart of Sea Scouts before they don’t have the same understandings that other who have been in the program do, so early on it was a lot of explaining and training regarding exactly how meetings should be run and what each petty officer is in charge of and chain of command etc… Once that was taken care of it was basically just getting ready and trying to get everyone to show up for AMR practices.
C. C. Christie: Once we got the program started, the challenge to me was trying to get the youth on board with the organization of the program. Setting up the youth leadership positions and teaching them what their responsibilities were. Also, we have been pretty fortunate in obtaining boat donations from our chartered organization, Hawaii Youth Maritime Programs, but finding accommodations for our vessels has been a little trickier. Storage for a boat trailer and boat slips are a bit tricky.
5. What is the best thing about starting a new ship?
Skipper Martiney: The best thing about starting our new ship I think is the diversity that it brings to the program on island. Now we have kids from every different background that we have on this island, from Hanalei to Kekaha we have kids from all walks of life. We are able to serve our entire community now instead of just one side of the island.
C. C. Christie: I think the best thing about starting a new ship is to see the kids get it! For some, it may not be a good fit but they still don’t walk away without learning something valuable, like seamanship skills. For others, they love what they are learning and want to keep going. You know you’ve made a positive impact when you see the kids get everything out of this program to where it becomes and essential part of their lives. It is so rewarding seeing the value of what the Sea Scout program can provide then lead into a career choice for their future. Of course, training hard and going to things like the Ancient Mariner Regatta to test our skills and staying with Sea Scout Ship Albatross over Memorial Day weekend are pretty amazing too!
6. What advice do you have for other people that want to start a new ship?
Skipper Martiney: The best piece of advice I can give for anyone starting a new ship is to just observe the area you are trying to start it in. What are the things that kids in that area into? What are some of the traditions or cultures? Once you have those then tailor a program towards including those. If you do that then attracting kids to the program and growing the program will come easy. Overall just keep trying and working at it. No one person has the right answer for what Sea Scouting means, its up to the individual to make their own way and see what works for them and for others.
C. C. Christie: If your heart is for the kids, and you love what the program offers them (and yourself because you will never stop learning), then go for it!
7. How long have you been in scouting and what is your current rank/position?
C. C. Christie: I have been a Cubmaster, Cub Scout Committee Chair and Den Leader Assistant in Pack 148 here on Kaua`i as my sons have gone through the scouting program with my youngest now in Boy Scouts. I am now a Assistant Scout Master in the Troop 148 and Committee Chair for Sea Ship Kia`iokekai. All-in-all, I’ve been in scouting for 16 years.
Skipper Martiney: I have been in scouting since I was about 8 years old. I attained the rank of Eagle scout in high school and shortly after began as a Junior Officer on SSS Decisive and slowly moved up and now I am the Skipper of SSS Kia’iokekai.
Thank you Skipper Martiney and Committee Chair Christie for taking the time to tell us about your ship and for the effort you have put into making the Sea Scout Program grow! Please check out Ship Kia’iokekai’s adventures on Facebook:
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