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Sea Scout Ship from Southern Virginia takes top honors

by Scott Croft 29 Aug 2019 06:43 PDT
Members of Sea Scout Ship 16, Confluence © Scott Croft

With about 4,500 teens participating across the U.S., Sea Scouting is a specialized, co-educational program from the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) that improves youth boating skills with on-water practice, outdoor, social, and service experiences, and shares knowledge of our maritime heritage. Organized into 350 local "ships" across North America, Sea Scouts are led by youth leaders with guidance provided by adult "Skippers." But if you want to know who is the best ship in the country, that honor goes to Sea Scout Ship 16, Confluence, of the Colonial Virginia Council, which was recently bestowed with the 16th Annual BoatUS Sea Scout National Flagship Award.

Located in Suffolk, Virginia, Ship 16 is chartered by Beech Grove United Methodist Church and led by Boatswain David Green and Skipper Michael Kiser. The prestigious award, created by the Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) in 2002 to mark the 90th anniversary of Sea Scouting, recognizes excellence in program quality, youth achievement, and adult commitment.

The ship was singled out for its exemplary program of seamanship, youth development, and leadership, including an extensive on-the-water program and commitment to community service. Serving as the Sea Scouts' National Flagship, Confluence now leads the way as a shining example for the rest of the nation's Sea Scout ships.

Last year, 80% of Confluence's Sea Scouts advanced in rank and earned certifications in first aid, CPR, lifeguarding, and safe boating. On the water, the ship completed 11 days of cruising on four separate weekends and participated in a summer racing series. A 10-day summer cruise on the lower Chesapeake Bay included eight ports of call.

In the community, Ship 16 volunteered at the Klondike Derby; supported a Cub Scout Raingutter Regatta; participated in service projects with Scouts BSA Troop 16; took part in 12 service projects throughout the year, including a community beautification event; and held numerous social events. Confluence even mentored the newly formed Ship 64 of the neighboring Tidewater Council on its first sailing trip.

The ship's recruitment efforts also paid off with seven new Sea Scouts joining. In 2018, three Sea Scouts also joined the crew of the U.S. Coast Guard sail-training vessel Eagle for the 2018 Sea Scout Cruise. One of the participating Sea Scouts was sworn in to the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, and one adult completed Seabadge training, an advanced training program for Sea Scout leaders.

If you'd like to know more about Sea Scouting in your area go to SeaScout.org.

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