Boy Scouts, but on the water. It does exist and they recently partnered with the Sea Tow Foundation.
Imagine being a teen and spending your free time on a 100-mile, non-stop sailing weekend trip. Now imagine taking a week-long voyage, or racing at 3 a.m. by the moonlight. There’s also learning navigation based on the sunset and sunrise, and being completely alone on a boat in the ocean except for a distant barge. As an extension of Boys Scouts of America, Sea Scouts is a program that promotes better citizenship and improves boating skills.
In Norwalk, Conn., a co-ed group of 15 high-school teenagers, also known as Sea Scouts Ship 6, join together weekly with at least one common interest – sailing. The group has the privilege of learning about the water and sailing with a Tripp 37 racing sloop. Each teenager got into sailing for different reasons and they have different goals for their time in the Sea Scouts program. But, for one day a week, they’re able to take a deep dive into their passion.
Kai Horan is a volunteer leader of the program who teaches the kids about safe sailing, including things like cold water immersion and propeller strikes. “I love this program because the youth lead everything,” Kai said. “They make every single decision for our ship. We guide them a little, but they’re really good at making the right choices.”
During 2016, the Scouts volunteered with the Sea Tow Foundation to help man life jacket loaner stands at the Norwalk Boat Show in Connecticut. The first year implementing this at the show, the Sea Tow Foundation extended its Life Jacket Loaner Stand program to provide a lifejacket to children and adults to be safe when on the docks looking at boats. With three stands at the show, the Sea Scouts helped make the event safer for the community by working volunteer shifts fitting adults and children with life jackets prior to heading to the docks.
The Foundation and Sea Scouts plan to work together on additional community events while also informing and educating the public about the importance of life jackets.