The 2022 boating season has been fantastic for the Sea Scouts of Ship 1959, Seafarers Commitment, which is based out of the Seafarers Yacht Club (SYC) in the Eastport section of Annapolis and chartered by the Seafarers Foundation, the charitable arm of SYC. In addition to its Maritime Explorer Club 1959 which hosts the ‘junior’ members of the ship, Seafarers Commitment continues to grow and expand its activities.
One of the highlights of the season was a partnership with the National Park Service (NPS)–Chesapeake Chapter to promote fishing as a vehicle for community appreciation for and engagement with the Chesapeake Bay. We began our collaboration at Junior Ranger Day held at Sandy Point State Park. We held a public fishing seminar followed by a heaving line demonstration. Our Sea Scouts were trained in the NPS “Interpretive” approach and helped to lead several community fishing outings on the Chesapeake Bay and throughout its watershed.
Our ship served as honor guard for the return of the tall ships to Annapolis Harbor during the July 4 holiday, and we continued a partnership with the Chesapeake Bay Yacht Clubs Association (CBYCA) which has developed a program to allow Sea Scout Ships to follow a process and rules to access the CBYCA clubs all around the Bay.
Another major development this season was the return of the Seafarers summer youth program. Held at the SYC clubhouse, Sea Scouts both participated in the summer program and helped to lead many of its maritime components, including marlinspike seamanship, navigation, and sailing training in conjunction with Annapolis Sailing School.
A partnership with the National Geographic Photo Camp–Chesapeake also enabled some of our Sea Scouts to begin the program on the Eastern Shore in Chestertown, MD, and end the weeklong program at the SYC clubhouse. The closing presentations of the documentary work of the young participants was awe-inspiring as they explored the theme ‘Water is Life.’
Our ship also continued our collaboration with the Annapolis Maritime Museum as we helped clean, repair, and replace their oyster cages in preparation for a season of growing oyster spat from their docks on Back Creek.
A major highlight of the boating season was our participation in the inaugural Seafarers Regatta. Since Annapolis serves as America’s Sailing Capital, the SYC decided this season to host its first sailing regatta, working in partnership with the Eastport Yacht Club. Thirty-two vessels registered for the regatta held on September 24. The regatta was structured with four initial classes and one Sea Scout sub-class, which fielded three vessels. Our flagship Sea Scout training vessel, Commitment, a Tartan 37, took first in the Sea Scout sub-class, and third overall in its class of nine vessels.
While there is still some season left for the ship, our major closing events have focused on our partnership with the US Coast Guard and Coast Guard Auxiliary. On October 22 our ship participated in the return of face-to-face Safety at Sea at the US Coast Guard Station Curtis Bay, and late in October we were invited to organize a booth at the open house held at US Coast Guard Station Annapolis.
As we bring this boating season to a close, we have two major community service events left: Thanksgiving for Seniors organized by the Seafarers Foundation and the Wreaths Across America when our ship will again help lay wreaths at the national cemetery in Annapolis. We are also in the middle of our ship elections, and our new Quarterdeck of youth leaders will take office during our Change of Watch and Bridge of Honor ceremony on November 14.
Sea Scouting promotes seamanship, citizenship, personal fitness, leadership, and community service. Sea Scouts is for boys and girls aged 14-21 (and with our Maritime Explorer Club we include boys and girls aged 10-13). Learn more at ship1959.org.
By Derrick Cogburn