By Lynn Fitzpatrick
Living so close to the Bay, it only makes sense that scouting of a maritime type is popular among young people in Chesapeake Country.
Sea Scouts, a program of the Boy Scouts of America, offers the best of summer camp year-round with high adventure in, on, around, and under the water for youmg men and women, ages 14–20. Sea Scouts bundles scouting, seamanship, service, and social activities to expose youth to a wide array of development opportunities.
And now, the Annapolis chapter is being honored with a national award.
Each group of Sea Scouts is organized in a “ship.” Annapolis’ Sea Scout Ship 1959, Seafarers Commitment, chartered by the Seafarers Foundation, Inc., is celebrating 2021 as the Boat US National Flagship (seascout.org/news/meet-the-2021-boatus-national-flagship/).
The BoatUS National Flagship celebrates a Sea Scout Ship that represents the best of the 4 S’s of Sea Scouts BSA: Scouting, Seamanship, Service, and Social.
The ship’s string of accomplishments can be attributed to many things, although one stands out—its commitment to both youth and adult leadership development. Ship 1959 has a ratio of nearly one adult scouter to every Sea Scout, and all have participated in advancement, training and leader professional development through keelboat and dinghy sailing, powerboating, kayaking, paddle boarding, community service, and performing as the color guard at Annapolis area events.
The COVID pandemic took traditional meetings and activities off the table, but Ship 1959 showed its resilience by holding weekly virtual meetings and training in partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary by taking Auxiliary courses in seamanship, weather, and communication.
In normal years, special activities run the gamut from perfecting the art of anchoring during a local cruise, to partnering with the Annapolis Maritime Museum on community service, to delivering spat to an oyster reef with the Back Creek Conservancy and the Severn River Association, and helping to restore the historic Thomas Point Lighthouse. A favorite among shipmates is taking the Safety at Sea Course at the USCG’s Curtis Bay. This annual activity includes donning survival suits, jumping in and learning how to stay afloat along with numerous other maritime safety-related activities.
The 2020 boatswain and youth leader throughout the pandemic, Izzy, not only advanced to Apprentice Scout along with three other shipmates, she just started her plebe summer at the U.S. Naval Academy. “This year, a number of the scouts are close to advancing to [ranks of] Apprentice and Ordinary,” said Ian, Ship 1959’s founding boatswain, who is well on his way to advancing to the ranks of Able and Eagle, and will help lead the Ship 1959 Long Cruise this summer on the Chesapeake Bay.
Derrick Cogburn, founding skipper of Sea Scout Ship 1959, says he is humbled to be chosen as the 2021 Boat US National Flagship, and welcomes the opportunity to collaborate within the Baltimore Area Council, the National Capital Area Council, BSA National Service Territory 12, and with ships nationwide.
The group is helping to organize a new Sea Scout ship in southern Anne Arundel County’s West and Rhode rivers area this fall. An open house informational meeting is being held July 29 (7pm) at the Galesville Memorial Hall. Adult volunteers and potential scouts, ages 14 to 20, are invited. For more: ship1959.org.