Sea Scouts

Sea Scouts

Sea Scouts Ship 5870 is the oldest continuously chartered Sea Scouts BSA Program in the United States. Also known as Sea Scouts Ship Privateer, it was first chartered with the Boy Scouts of America in 1923 helping to build tomorrows leaders for 91 years.

No previous Scouting or sailing experience is required to be associated with the Privateer Sea Scouting Program. Our program is committed to teaching young men and women between the ages of 14 and 21 the general life skills associated with sailing including responsibility, respect for the environment, team work, decision-making, problem-solving and self-reliance. We are proud to be among the very few Sea Scouting organizations which are also committed to developing sailboat racing skills. Below is a brief overview, and summary of some accomplishments associated with the Privateer Sea Scouts Program.

Over the years we have had hundreds of young adults associated with the program. The youth come from all walks of life: urban, suburban, a wide variety of economic backgrounds, ethnically diverse and all very interested in the unique experiences associated with the sailing and racing experience. The program has really offered these youth considerable opportunity for learning, adventure, leadership and social development.

Skills development has been very much "on-the-job" and includes boat repair, general boat maintenance, boating safety, and fundamental and advanced sailing/racing skills.

Over the years, the youth have undertaken a wide variety of boat maintenance/reconstruction projects which have developed the skills of fiberglass, mechanical, electrical and cosmetic repair; soft parts of the deck have been removed/repaired, new deck hatches installed, jib tracks removed/reseated to prevent deck water permeation, application of Awlgrip, deck resurfacing, rewiring, basic engine maintenance, etc. Annually, it is estimated that the youth put in about 200+ hours of boat maintenance, and this will certainly serve them well as they continue their participation in the boating community.

Many of the youth also volunteer to assist with the North American Challenge Cup which is the national regatta for disabled; the youth serve as dock hands and able bodied sailors.

On the water, we work with the youth to teach them the very basics of boat handling (e.g. line toss, cleating, knots, etc) up through more advanced skills which include sail trim, tactics, helming, navigation, etc. It is felt that we've also made an important contribution to youth development by working with them to understand the social protocol associated with sailing, e.g. proper attire, courtesy, respect, and teamwork.

We annually log about 350 race related sailing hours. We participate in three port-to-port races including the Mackinac race, some major off-shore regattas including the NOOD and Verve Cup, several of CYC's course races and an occasional Wednesday evening Skyline Series race. Importantly, small boat sailing skills are also developed via the two days of instructional sailing required prior to participation in the Smith Regatta. 

Operationally, we use one boat as a sailing platform for the Privateer program. The boat carries a crew of 8-13 and there is roughly a 1:4 adult/youth ratio. Typically, the new youth will begin by assuming basic responsibilities; the more experienced youth and adults will work with the less experienced sailors to develop skills so that youth may rotate or "graduate" to other positions of responsibility. Now, possibly you are imagining a highly structured program with plenty of controls while under sail but we can assure you that we too have the same moments of frustration and chaos often associated with sailing and racing! However, with a strong sense of safety and team oversight we always come through the races with a good set of memories and skills development.

Sea Scout Chairman
Chuck & Betty Lynn Koules

For more information on the Sea Scouts, contact Betty Lynn Koules at bkoules@gmail.com