Saturday, February 2, 2013

Midwinter update

After graduating most of our youth, the unit is revitalizing with an almost entirely new crew of scouts. Most of these came to us through the summer sailing program, which tends to catch the teens’ interest. They have completed most requirements for Apprentice rank and are starting on Ordinary—though they still need service hours.

Early February brings the start of the ship’s Sea Perch underwater robotics program. We received a grant for the robotics kits from the Naval Research Lab, and construction will be under tutelage by volunteers from Patriot Scuba in Occoquan.

The scouts are excited about attending the regional Winter Training 1-3 Mar at Catoctin Mountain, where they will take classes that help them with advancement. Socializing with other Sea Scouts from around the region and beyond is also part of the Winter Training experience. The connections they make at such events help to build camaraderie and a competitive spirit.

After Sea Perch, the group will focus more on scuba, aiming to be certified in time to participate in Scuba Jam in August.

Finally, Ship 7916 now has a new skipper, Capt. Jeff Currer, USN (RET), a submariner and co-owner of Patriot Scuba.

Monday, July 18, 2011


Since Rebecca has been at college, I have taken the job of quote-taker though I do not have nearly as many as Rebecca gets. Here are some quotes from different activities we've done this year.

Winter Training

“I hadn’t noticed it; I was asleep.” –Daniel

“Here’s my lunch!”
“Pickles in a cup?” –Jared and Cameron

“We should all make speeches to embarrass Caitlín. –Daniel

“A B C D E F G” –Cameron

“Did that knucklehead [Cameron] get all that written down?”
“Yes, on receipts.” –MT Peters and Cameron

“What are you going to do to me if I forget to e-mail you?”
“I have my connections!” –Sarah and Jared

“Would that be mean?”
“Absolutely; it’d be great!” –Sarah and Mr. Fucello

COM Circle Cruise

“So Daniel’s in his own private cabin?”
“No. That’s the head door open.” –Skipper and Brenda

“His boots were really cheesy. They were too short, and they weren’t very swash buckling.” –Caitlín

“Everything is dark blue on a sea scout boat: your clothes, the cushions, your face.” –Caitlín

“Ew! Why is this sock wet?” –Caitlín

“She’s taking quotes, everyone, so shut up! –Caitlín

“It’s hissing at you!”
“It’s like my children!” –Sarah and Skipper

“You be our canary, Daniel.”
“Thank you.” –Skipper and Daniel

“You’ve got David in your mind now, don’t you?” –Brenda

“You’re gonna get poop juice on me!” –Brenda

“I could flick you with carrot peels.”
“I could touch you with my poop juice.” –Brenda and Daniel

“We got fans, we got lights--this boat is tricked out!” –Skipper

Long Cruise
“You guys aren’t singing sea songs.”
“Rebecca isn’t here to write everything down.” – MT Anderson and Mr. Fucello

“Go get ‘em, Gus. Get ‘em, get ‘em, get ‘em!”
“Meow!” – MT Peters and Gus

“She shoulda kicked his butt.” – Gus

“Oh, look. There’s the moon.” – COM Alexander [After sitting in the cockpit for 5 minutes…]

“Hey, you guys put the bimini up.” – Brenda

“What’s the difference between lee helm and weather helm?”
“It’s spelled differently.” – Brenda and Gus


“It’s a Ship full of Eeyores.” –Mr. Fucello

“So you’re wrong as of two seconds ago.” –MT Peters

“ ‘Warning; Obstruction overhead.’ Really? There’s a bridge there?!” –Caitlín [reading a construction sign]

“I didn’t know my phone was so smart!” -Skipper

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Occoquan Yacht Club Flag Raising Ceremony

Three scouts from Ship 7916 participated on the opening ceremony for the OYC season this afternoon.

This was our ship's first time at the event and the scouts proved they were worthy of the task. The commodore invited them back for next year!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Commodore's Circle Cruise

On Sunday, May 1, 2011, Sea Scout ships 548 and 7916 hosted the Commodore's Circle Cruise for some of the most generous donors to the "Saveder PeLiKan" campaign. Four scouts and two skippers spent the weekend preparing for- and holding the event. This included bending on all three sails--including the crisp, blindingly white new main and mizzen; flushing the anti-freeze from- and refilling the vessel's two water tanks; conducting the usual system checks; scrubbing the galley; cleaning the heads; installing the commemorative brass plaque; scrubbing the deck; and preparing refreshments for the guests.

Our guests were: Dr. Rosemary Enright--Mate to Ship 7916--and her husband, Don Coulter; Carolyn Hreczuck--parent to a Ship 7916 scout--who was accompanied by her friend, Allison, since her husband is serving in Afghanistan and could not be with us.

With Ship 458 scout Brenda Renninger at the helm, der PeLiKan left the dock just after 1400, under gray skies and very light wind. Sarah Fucello, the Boatswain for Ship 7916, oversaw the duty rotation, so each scout had a turn as lookout and helmsman. Scouts Caitlin Keller and Daniel Schmoker, both of Ship 7916, were also instrumental in this event.

With scouts at the helm, der PeLiKan motored slowly around Baltimore's Inner Harbor, while guests and scouts were treated to interesting tidbits about various sights, like the Domino Sugar plant, and the collection of historic ships. The scouts then pointed the regional Sea Scout training vessel down the Patapsco River and under the Key Bridge. As it began to rain harder, the scout at the helm turned der PeLiKan around at Fort Carroll, and docked her in her slip.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Amanda Grace Work Day

Thankfully, November 13, 2010 was a warm and sunny day. This allowed scouts from Ship 7916 to spend several hours taking care of Amanda Grace, the US Yachts 27 that was our first and most beloved sailboat.

Here, Sarah removes old caulk from the deck light opening, in preparation for replacing the light with a new piece of Lexan.

Jared uses special marine caulk to re-seal the port side deck light, which is in the head.

With their mission accomplished, Jared, Caitlin and Sarah stand victorious at the mast.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Scouts Dazzled by Lone Sailor Dinner

The teenagers’ sparkling eyes were wide in amazement as they caught sight of the
great hall. They saw circular tables draped in blue and gold, flanked by delicate gold chairs and adorned with fresh flowers, candles, and a miniature pewter statue at each place setting.The young women are youth officers from Sea Scout ships in the Northeast Region, who were treated to an unforgettable evening on September 15, 2010.

Wearing their dress uniforms, the Sea Scouts dined in style in a grand ballroom with lofty ceiling, lighted fountain and beautifully prepared gourmet food, while watching Bill Cosby speak on stage. Seventeen-year-old Sarah Fucello—newly-elected Boatswain of Sea Scout Ship 7916—and fourteen-year-old Brenda Renninger—crew leader with Ship 548 and boatswain of the NCAC council—enjoyed this and more at the 23rd Annual Lone Sailor Award dinner hosted by the Navy Memorial at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC. The building was decked out beautifully for this very special event, with dramatic lighting and greenery. Sarah had “never been somewhere so fancy,” before and Brenda agreed, saying the building probably the nicest I’ve ever seen.”

The Lone Sailor Award is given to Sea Service veterans “who have excelled with distinction in their respective civilian careers while exemplifying the Navy core values of Honor, Courage and Commitment.” Past recipients include elected officials, as well as author James Michener, golf pro Arnold Palmer, and actor Tony Curtis.

Having previously heard about the dinner and viewing pictures, Sarah was very excited when she received the invitation. “I spent all day jumping off the walls,” she said. Brenda wasn’t initially sure exactly what the event was, but in talking to her skipper and to Sarah about it, she realized the magnitude of the invitation. Brenda was shocked, “because it was such a high class dinner and a real honor. “I was like, whoa, my skipper asked me to go to this?” she said.

Both scouts had their uniforms dry-cleaned for the event. Brenda said she “made sure all my patches were right, washed my cover to make sure it was clean.” Sarah “spent all day very carefully getting ready, making everything as perfect as I could make it, thinking the whole time on what it would be like to go and see Bill Cosby…I’ve never been in the same room with someone that famous before.” Brenda appreciated that “everybody was all dressed up in their uniforms and dresses and looked beautiful” at the dinner.

This year’s Lone Sailor Award honorees were the actor/comedian William H. Cosby, Jr.,PhD, a United States Navy Veteran; Eddie LeBaron, famed Washington Redskins- and Dallas Cowboys Quarterback and Korean War Veteran, United States Marine Corps; and Lanier Phillips, the first African-American Sonar Technician, United States Navy, World War II Veteran and Survivor of the USS Truxtun shipwreck. During the dinner, the scouts enjoyed watching what Sarah called “a captivating slideshow of each honoree,” and then heard the gentlemen speak.

Brenda said “their stories were so interesting to hear…Bill Cosby was my favorite; he was so funny and really made his story interesting!” Sarah said she “wasn’t expecting all the honorees to speak and was cool they really could speak tell their view of their experiences. It thrilled me!”

Sea Scout attendees are selected from a group of award-winners in the NCAC (National Capitol Area Council to fill the 4-6 seats given to the nautical scouting program. A somewhat mysterious donor, Robert Dorion—about whom little is known—makes the seats available. He has sponsored a table at the dinner for about the past six years, sends representatives in his place and always includes room for Sea Scouts. If given the opportunity, each of the young women would thank Mr. Dorion. Brenda thinks it is “really generous of him to donate a table like that to Sea Scouts,” and Sarah would “tell him I really appreciate his giving us this opportunity. It’s very generous to donate to Sea Scouts…we’re in our teen years, so we don’t have the decorum of the adults he would usually invite to that.”

After the event, Sarah enthusiastically said that if she were invited again, “I would accept in a heartbeat. I had a very fun time and enjoyed many experiences I had never encountered before.” Brenda exclaimed that “this was really a once in a life time experience and I wouldn’t have asked to go with a different group of people to share the experience with!”

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Sea Scout Day, Sep. 25th

Join Sea Scout Ship 7916 for hands-on activities, displays, and presentations showing what this co-ed, nautical high-adventure program is all about!

Come upstairs to the VFW meeting hall, where you can meet Sea Scouts scouts in uniform, try your hand at Mayday radio communications, strengthen your knotty knowledge, learn how to “heave a line,” watch videos that show some of our cool adventures, and have a tasty snack, too.

Sea Scout Day
Saturday, September 25, 2010
10:00am - 6:00pm
VFW Post 7916
204 Mill Street, Occoquan, VA 22125

NOTE: This event coincides with the fall Occoquan Craft Show and parking will be available at designated lots only, with access to the town by shuttle bus, bicycle or on foot.

Known as “scouting’s best-kept secret,” Sea Scouting is a high-adventure coed branch of the BSA for youth age 13, who have completed the 8th grade, through age 20. Sea Scouting develops nautical skills, leadership, and confidence through sail training, and a scout who obtains the highest rank of Quartermaster--equivalent to the Eagle Scout award--receives the advanced pay grade of E-3 upon enlisting in the United States Coast Guard. Boy Scouts who join Sea Scouting are encouraged to also stay with their troop, and advancements can be earned in both programs simultaneously.

Though Ship 7916’s main focus is sailing, we also participate in activities involving scuba, powerboating, kayaking, piloting a historic vessel, volunteering for community events, Chesapeake Bay water quality protection, regional events, advancement ceremonies and social activities.

Come join the fun!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Scouting Presentation to the Board of Supervisors

On Tuesday, September 14, 2010, Ship 7916 scout Caitlín Keller participated in the Occoquan District Scouting presentation to the Prince William County Board of Supervisors, at the invitation of Neabsco District Supervisor John Jenkins. Caitlín opened the presentation, followed by a Bear Cub Scout and a Boy Scout/Venturer.

To see the presentation given by these young people, go to this page, and under the video image on the left--beneath the All Items/Current Items box--scroll down about 2/3 of the way and click Item 12. "Presentation 7:30pm." The scouts speak after the Pledge of Allegiance.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

A Few Long Cruise Quotes

by Caitlín

This is usually done by Rebecca, but as she was busy for most of the time meeting the requirements for Quartermaster, I took up a bit of the slack.

"Are you tricking people into praising you for making them eat half their Oreos later?" - Cameron

"We're going to turn in a more sailing-like direction. I think...that way!" - David

"Cameron--look like a lookout!" - Caitlín

"Everybody go around a say a chore you hate and why you hate doing it." - David

I am so not having fun!" - Random whiny sailing student in Annapolis

"Show the Mates the picture of me when I was stoned." - Eric

"I know, it's so creepy, looking at ourselves." - Cameron

Caitlín: "That's so sexist it burns!"
David: "It burns like the stove you should be slaving over!"

"I'm sad because I have no emotions." - Cameron (reportedly made up when he was 6 years old)

"I tried to train my GPS--every time it talked I hit it." - David

"The [engine] blower is chicken-flavored." - Cameron

"I'd come and squish you from the other side, but that would be very bad for the steering of this boat." - David

"Oh my gosh, we stay closer to the nuns?!" - Daniel

Cameron: "Darn you people who bring us delicious food!"
Daniel: "She doesn't eat Crustations, remember?"

"YES, I want a yummy sandwich!" - Cameron

"You killed him good, but you killed him all over the ruler!" - Daniel

"Are you telling me that if you didn't wear a hat, your head would turn into a Chia Pet?" - MT Peters

"The more trash we generate, the faster we go!" - David

David: "We don't have any hot irons."
Cameron: "They're in the bathtub somewhere."

"We were just using an ocean liner as an aid to navigation; I don't think we care all that much what it is as long as it's not moving." - David

Monday, August 9, 2010

Long Cruise 2010 - Day 1

Relayed from Caitlin to Skipper via cell phone this morning:

Ship 7916 arrived at Fells Point, Baltimore, MD about 9:30am yesterday. Scouts stowed gear and provisions and prepared the boat. The crew followed instructions for the engine checks, however, someone had switched the caps for water and radiator, and so water ended up in the oil. This necessitated pumping out the oil and replacing it—a task that took about 4 hours. While our crew was sitting at dock, the wind was coming from the west, perfect for sailing. They watched “all these sailboats passing by, sailing along on nice tacks, heeled over about 20 degrees.”

With this setback, der PeLiKan left the dock at 4pm. By then, the wind had shifted to the south, so sailing to Annapolis was out of the question, so they motored the whole way. The “best part was going over wakes of 4 tankers, yelling ‘WAKE’ and bouncing up and down. It was good we had ramen for dinner because it was easy to prepare under way.”

Each scout had a chance to take positions at Nav, Helm and Lookout. They arrived in Annapolis around 9pm. Emily steered the boat into the harbor to pick up mooring ball, where David and Daniel snagged it on the first try. It was good cruising at night last night, to get a taste of it. It was pretty dark past the Bay Bridge, then another hour to the mooring in true darkness.

They decided to wait until arriving in Annapolis to change Bosun of the Day (BoD). MT Enright brought brownie bites and they ate those, looked at the stars, talked about Annapolis, then went to bed at 10:30. Sleeping on deck was quiet. “Usually we’re here later in the week, but it’s very quiet this time."

Rebecca is BoD today and woke her crew at 6 am. Evidently, it took some effort to rouse Eric. “We pulled Eric out of his sleeping bag to wake him up.”

“We’re at the row of mooring balls closest to the Naval Academy. The cadets are singing America the Beautiful and sound horrible.”

“Depending on the wind, we plan to sail in morning, hang out in Annapolis in the afternoon, and sail at night. Right now, it looks calm. Cameron and Eric are cooking pancakes and sausage for breakfast and it smells so good and I’m starving!”

Scouts wash cars to float their boat

By SHAY SEABORNE For the News & Messenger

The forecast was for rain on a recent Saturday morning, but teens from Sea Scout Ship 7916 of Occoquan didn't let a little water from the sky stop them. They gathered for a car wash fundraiser anyway.

The young men and women, ages 15-20, kept their hopes up and didn't mind getting a little wet for a good cause. Their goal was to raise money to help save the National Capitol Area Council's Sea Scout Training Vessel, der PeLiKan.

The 46-foot Morgan ketch is owned by a non-profit that operates and maintains the vessel for Sea Scouts throughout the council and beyond. The well-used and aging boat needs a new main mast, standing rigging and roller furler for the jib before it can be sailed this year. Total repair cost is estimated at $20,000.

Sixteen-year-old Daniel Schmoker coordinated the car wash because he knows first hand the value of this vessel. "A lot of ships only have small boats and der PeLiKan is forty-six feet, so [scouts] have the opportunity to work with more people on a single boat, which is great for team building and getting to know each other better," said Daniel.

A bigger boat also means youth can "take longer trips and see more of the Chesapeake, like Annapolis, St. Michaels and even take a tour the US Coast Guard station at St. Inigoes," he said.

Daniel participated in five der PeLiKan cruises in 2½ years, including two of the ship's annual "long cruises," which last about a week. Some of his favorite memories include "meeting [Sea Scouts] from New York on our first long cruise, anchoring in St. Michaels and meeting a family that lives aboard the sailboat they built, watching the Coast Guard bust some illegal crabbers at the dock in Annapolis…and the night sail during the Quarterdeck training cruise."

Ship 7916 has made the Save der PeLiKan Campaign a ship project. The scouts previously hosted a car wash in the fall, donated the proceeds of their Halloween party fund-raiser, and collected donations in their booth at the Aquia Harbour Marina's annual Marina Fest in September.

Other Sea Scout ships, as well as friends and families, have also donated to the repair fund. So have local businesses like Prince William Marina and Patriot Scuba, both in Occoquan.

The current total is just over $13,500, leaving about $6,500 to be raised in the next few weeks.

To help with the repair costs, seven young men and women from Ship 7916 washed cars for four hours under brooding clouds and occasional rain. They raised $555, some through online donations from supporters who could not attend.

One of the customers, Ella McKay, 36, drove from Springfield to have the scouts wash her car, and said, "I heard the story of…those Sea Scouts and I just had to participate to help save their boat!"

Scout parents brought snacks for the car washers and delivered pizza for lunch. Route 1 Pontiac Buick GMC provided the strategic location, as well as water for car washing and bottled water to keep the scouts hydrated. According to General Manager Mark Sable, the auto dealership regularly supports area youth groups.

Daniel's father, Dan Schmoker, a sales consultant with the car dealership, expressed pride in his son, who "could have spent a cloudy day home playing video games. Instead, he was with his shipmates working on a fund-raiser so hundreds of Scouts…can have the opportunities to sail and learn. I am amazed in the changes in my son from Sea Scouts," said Schmoker.

Rebecca Siegal, who currently serves as the unit's Boatswain, or youth leader, was in on the car wash. Her mother, Ann Cameron Siegal, also praised the Sea Scout program, saying, "What a difference two years [made] in our shy teen's life. The encouragement, guidance and opportunities she has received as a member of Sea Scout Ship 7916 and as a crew member aboard der PeLiKan, have been invaluable in helping her gain self-confidence and learn leadership skills."

Sea Scouting is a co-ed and high-adventure arm of Boy Scouts of America. Many young men and women have found their measure of success through Sea Scouting. Ship 7916 welcomes youth ages 13-21 to join them as they sail locally aboard boats owned by Woodbridge Sailing School, and for longer cruises aboard der PeLiKan.

Daniel coordinated the car wash "because it helps get der PeLiKan back in the water not only for my ship, but for all ships to enjoy. I don't think you'll find a Sea Scout who says they don't like to sail der PeLiKan. We need to get her running before a lot of peoples' summers are ruined," he said.

Tax deductible donations of all sizes are needed and appreciated and accepted by check or online via, where you can also learn more about the vessel, read a progress report and see photos.

Shay Seaborne is the skipper, or scoutmaster, of Sea Scout Ship 7916.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Preparing for Long Cruise 2010

by Caitlín

Unlike the past two years, this year the scouts are doing the majority of the planning for Long Cruise 2010. (Well, the adults are working out things like transportation, but they will be the ones transporting us, anyway!)

Even though each of us are planning different bits, it's been a lot of work, and makes me realize how much effort the Skipper and other adult leaders put into planning long cruises 2008 and 2009. At first it was really overwhelming and nobody had a clue, but now I think it's coming together quite well. Tuesday August 2nd will be our last pre-cruise meeting, and we depart from Henderson's Wharf on August 8th.

As our Boatswain, and as part of her Quartermaster requirements, Rebecca has been the sort of "general director" and has made sure people keep moving on their assignments and kept track of everything. She's done an amazingly good job of this, especially despite the fact that she was involved in summer activities and without internet access for the past few weeks.

Cameron, as the recently-appointed Purser, has done an excellent job collecting payment and making sure everybody is up-to-date on their dues (a requirement for long cruise participation).

Emily, our Yeoman, gathered everyone's menus, made sure we weren't eating the same dish every night, made grocery lists, and will be in charge of the shopping.

As Boatswain's Mate for Program, I accepted school of the ship outlines, came up with possible travel itineraries, and checked with der PeLiKan's captain, Commodore Steve Nichols, for the plausibility of our plans. After taking ideas for things to do and places to visit and researching marinas to stay at, the plans were finalized.

I'm sure there will be things we forgot to do--things nobody thought about, that we will realize mid-cruise and say, "Ooops!" but that's part of the learning experience. We'll deal with it, and next year, it won't be a problem.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Visit with Occoquan Yacht Club

The Occoquan Yacht Club invited us to visit the docks at Fairfax Yacht Club for a tour with activity, then hold our regular Ship 7916 meeting at the clubhouse. Our host was Harry Croft, whose wife, Pat, is currently serving as OYC Commodore.

Checking out boats on the dock.

Our host led the way to the covered dock where "Bay Dreamer," owned by the Crofts, is berthed. He noted various types of boats and their particular attributes, demonstrated the finer points of tying a cleat hitch and showed us a nifty way to stow long docklines.

Trying out the nifty way to stow docklines.

Afterward, Mr. Croft gave us a detailed tour of "Bay Dreamer," which is a very nice boat! He showed us the engine, told us how much fuel she uses, and took small groups of us up into the flying bridge to check out the Garmin and other cool equipment.

Mr. Croft in the flying bridge.

We hung out on the dock for a while, going through Q&A, before heading up to the clubhouse for our meeting. We noticed these interesting depressions in the mud under shallow water. Mr. Croft told us they were fish nests, and we could see the fish protecting their clutches of eggs. Neat!

Many thanks to OYC, especially Mr. and Ms. Croft, who were so kind to us and shared their interest and knowledge.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Lightship Chesapeake Work Day

Sea Scouts from Ship 7916 put in about 6 hrs of work aboard the historic Lightship 116 "Chesapeake" on May 1, 2010. The scouts mostly painted, a constant job aboard ship. It was tedious and hot, but there was nary a complaint. "We're Sea Scouts, that's why!"

Happy Painters

Lunch was a brown bag affair in the mess deck where the skipper had eaten hundreds of times in her youth.

With painting complete, the scouts turned toward installing chafing gear on two of the dock lines. This took coordination and teamwork. Jared, Rebecca, Caitlin and Sarah took the pressure off the line, holding tight while their shipmates installed a piece of old fire hose to stop chafing on the line.

The scouts worked hard and felt the satisfaction of completing important work, helping to preserve a historic vessel.

The day also marked completion of a circle that began when the skipper started volunteering aboard "Chesapeake" soon after her eleventh birthday. When she turned 14 and of eligible age to join the Sea Scouts (called Explorers then), the National Park Service denied her application on the basis of gender, despite federal regulations. However, she continued to volunteer aboard the vessel until the fall after she turned 17. Now her own scouts--male and female--have spent a day aboard the Chesapeake, and so has she, not as a Sea Scout, but as a Sea Scout leader. Sweet.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

News & Messenger: "Groups contribute to Sea Scout campaign"

Published in the March 11, 2010 edition of the News & Messenger:

Groups contribute to Sea Scout campaign
By SHAY SEABORNE - For the News & Messenger

Patriot Scuba of Occoquan recently presented a check for $200 to Friends of Sea Scouts of Maryland, at the National Capitol Area Council Sea Scout Wardroom Dinner.

The donation arose from the dive shop's Discover Scuba Diving fundraiser for the Sea Scouts' "Save der PeLiKan Campaign." The project aims to raise $20,000 to repair the regional Sea Scout training vessel.

Numerous individuals, groups and businesses have made contributions totaling $12,000.

The 47-foot ketch named der PeLiKan has served hundreds of Scouts from across the country, providing opportunities for youth to work as a team on a vessel much larger than most Scout units can own. The boat is out of commission until the final $8,000 is raised and repairs are completed.

Patriot Scuba hosted the fundraiser in January, with help from Woodbridge Sport & Health, which donated the facility pool at no charge. The event allowed scouts to learn basic scuba skills and use the equipment under water.

"It was a pleasure for our staff to donate their time and for the store to donate the majority of the proceeds. We had a great time," said Patriot Scuba co-owner Jeff Currer.

Currer, a Navy captain, and his wife, Merial, attended the Wardroom Dinner and saw the Sea Scouts' formal landship ceremony. Currer said the couple appreciated "the chance to see these bright young Sea Scouts demonstrate their pride and professionalism, and have a lot of fun at the same time."

Watching the young men and women at the ceremony "further galvanized our support," said Merial Currer.

The business owners said they "hope other merchants in the area will also see the value of investing time or money in the Sea Scout program and the leaders of tomorrow."

Patriot Scuba continues to support the Occoquan Sea Scouts. Currer has joined the unit committee and has sparked the scouts' interest in the Sea Perch underwater robotics project.

Currer hopes that building and using the robots "will not only be fun and exciting, but also strike the imagination of these scouts as to what great things they may accomplish as they choose their careers and life path."

Patriot Scuba opened its doors in June. President Merial Currer and her husband chose Occoquan as the location for many reasons, including the uniqueness of this small town.

The Currers involvement in the neighborhood comes naturally from their military experience. "We love to work with people, build relationships, offer supreme quality in all that we do," said Merial Currer. "We take care of our customers as we take care of our community; they are family now."

Tax deductible donations to the Save der PeLiKan campaign can be made by check or by online PayPal transaction at

Shay Seaborne is skipper of Sea Scout Ship 7916 "Blue Heron," VFW 7916 in Occoquan.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Ship 7916 Honored in Congressional Record

Congressman Gerry Connolly’s Prince William County Director, Collin Davenport, presents a copy of the Congressional Record to Skipper Shay Seaborne at Ship 7916’s annual dinner on March 2nd. The Congressman honored the ship in the Congressional Record of the 111th Congress for its "highly decorated membership" and for being "responsible community partners and upholding the well-respected traditions and principals of scouting."

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Grateful Thanks to Sister Ship 1115, Constellation

Ken Kessler, skipper of Ship 1115, took these photos today. He and his Mate, Bill Horn, went to the marina to clear snow off our Amanda Grace, and found other boats that did not fare well under the snow. The Skipper of S1115 said that the safety netting held the snow aboard A.G., so it piled up.

Amanda Grace with snow piled up, and cleaned off.

Tonight's fall on top of that might have been too much, and she could have ended up like some of the other boats on Dock F.

These boats did not fare so well. (See the mast sticking out of the water in front of the dock on the right hand picture?) The heavy snow made them list, their gunwales went under, they took on water, and, down they went!

We are very lucky to have such a conscientious sister ship!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Ship 7916 Discovers Scuba Diving

Our scouts enjoyed the Discover Scuba Diving class presented by Occoquan's Patriot Scuba. Thanks to the generosity of the dive shop's owners, Jeff and Merial Currer, profits from the class are going to our “Save der PeLiKan” campaign. “That’s just the nature of the military folks,” Jeff Currer noted. “You see someone in need, you get involved. Occoquan is also a great town for this. It’s like a family town and we take care of each other, and the Sea Scouts are part of our town,” said Currer.

Sea Scout Cameron Peters, age 15, took on the responsibility of handling the administrative needs. He informed his shipmates of the details and required paperwork and coordinated with the venue and Patriot Scuba. “It was a little bit of work, but watching it come together as well as it did made it worth it in the end,” said Peters.

The Currers were Cub Scout leaders when their now grown children were young, so they know the value of scouting, and the enjoyment that can belong to a scout leader. “We love the kids,” says Capt. Currer. “It’s great to see them focus, feel a sense of accomplishment and take on leadership roles. Scouts have a wholesome venue and a productive way to see the adventure and excitement out in the world and understand they can affect the people and the world around them.”

Our ship has taken on a special cause in raising the $20,000 needed to repair der PeLiKan, a 46’ ketch that serves as the regional Sea Scout training vessel. The boat is currently out of commission until its standing rigging is replaced.

Thanks to an outpouring of donations from individuals, businesses like Patriot Scuba, and other scout units, the Save der PeLiKan campaign has gathered more than enough to order the mast, which will take 3-4 months to manufacture. In the meantime, the new goal is to raise enough to ship the mast and install it and the spreaders, shrouds, lights, and roller furler, about $12,000 more. Plans include additional fund raisers, as well as continuing appeals to individuals and businesses.
[A longer version of this article was published in the January 26, 2010 edition of the News & Messenger: Occoquan scuba shop comes to Scouts "SOS"]

Friday, January 1, 2010

Nautical Literacy

Can you truly claim Nautical literacy if you have not read?

This was a post to a Sea Scout newslist in December 2000, written by Roger Crossland, Skipper of Sea Scout Ship 101 Viking, Stratford, CT. I've added some links to those I've found online:

Sea Scouts,

With the onset of the fireside season, this is a good time to set sail for distant waters with minimal risk. I recommend the following to my crew and invite suggestions for additions to the list.

Joseph Conrad: Lord Jim, The Secret Sharer, Heart of Darkness, Two Years Before the Mast
Daniel Defoe: Robinson Crusoe
Anything nautical by C. S. Forester
Anything nautical by Jan de Hartog
Thor Heyerdahl: Kon-tiki
Victor Hugo: The Loose Cannon (short story)
Terry Jones: The Saga of Eric the Viking
Jung: The Perfect Storm
Rudyard Kipling: Captains Courageous
Lansing: Endurance
Jack London: The Sea Wolf
Nicholas Marryat: Mr. Midshipman Easy
Anything nautical by Philip McCutchan
Herman Melville: Moby Dick, Typee, White Jacket, Billy Budd
Nordhoff & Hall: The Bounty Trilogy including Mutiny on the Bounty, Men Against the Sea, and Pitcairn's Island
Joshua Slocum: Sailing Alone Around the World, Voyage of the Liberdade, The Voyages of Joshua Slocum,
Tim Severin: The Brendan Voyage
Robert Louis Stevenson: Treasure Island, Kidnapped
Herman Wouk: The Caine Mutiny
Jules Verne: Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Mysterious Island
Alan Villiers: By Way of Cape Horn

Or browse around or [defunct URL deleted] for something to your liking.

Good, cruising.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Scouts spearhead drive to save training vessel

On December 1, 2009, the News and Messenger published this story on page A2.

Scouts spearhead drive to save training vessel

When the Chesapeake Flotilla's Sea Scout training vessel was taken out of commission due to the need for extensive repairs, scouts from Occoquan Sea Scout Ship 7916 swung into action, initiating the "Save der PeLiKan" campaign.

Der PeLiKan, a 46-foot Morgan ketch has eight berths, two heads and a galley, is owned by a regional non-profit organization. The vessel is used by hundreds of youth and adults for training that includes piloting, long cruises, weekend training cruises and advanced leadership courses.

Repairs will cost about $20,000 and the "Save der PeLiKan" campaign has raised more than $5,490 so far, with more ideas in the works.

For instance, Patriot SCUBA of Occoquan will contribute part of the tuition from its upcoming "Discover SCUBA Diving" classes. Sea Scouts, part of Boy Scouts of America, is a co-educational program known for helping thousands of young people develop self-confidence, seamanship and leadership skills on and around the water.

"My scouts spent two week-long cruises and several weekend cruises aboard the training vessel, as well as applying their elbow grease in exchange for time aboard, so we know how important der PeLiKan is and we are anxious to see completion of the repairs," said Shay Seaborne, the "skipper," or adult leader of Ship 7916.

"If the boat is not back in commission by spring, hundreds of scouts will miss out," Seaborne said.

Sea Scout Rebecca Siegal, 18, of Alexandria, serves as the top youth leader for Ship 7916. She learned the majority of her seamanship and leadership skills aboard der PeLikan, and explained that "on a boat that size ... teamwork is needed in order to raise or lower sails, fend off, and anchor, and der PeLiKan allows scouts to learn these skills safely."

Lake Ridge resident Stella Kent, mother of 15-year-old Sea Scout Jonathan Kent, said that the time her son has spent on der PeLiKan has given his parents "glimpses of the man he's becoming. We have seen him become more self-assured—follow through when he'd rather quit, and step up to responsibilities—because others were depending on him."

Gift of opportunity

Friends of Sea Scouts of Maryland received der PeLiKan as a donation from Claire Kennedy, an elderly woman who wanted her boat to give special opportunities to young people. This year marks der PeLiKan's 10th year of service to Sea Scouts from across the country. Since being donated, she has logged more than 300 days under way and provided sailing experience and leadership opportunities to nearly 800 youth.

Der PeLiKan, the centerpiece of the Chesapeake Flotilla's training program, is used for both adult and youth courses that include Sea Scout Prepared Afloat Meals, Sea Scout Advanced Leadership, Seabadge Underway, piloting courses, long cruises and weekend training cruises.

For further information, visit Donations are accepted by PayPal or by checks made out to "Friends of Sea Scouts of Maryland" with the notation "repair fund" and send it to Friends of Sea Scouts of Maryland, 1426 Crabhouse Rd., Lusby, MD 20657.

Sea Scout Ship 7916 is a co-ed group of 14-20-year-old youth that is part of the Venturing program of Boy Scouts of America. Venturing offers older scouts the opportunity for high adventure, and Sea Scouting focuses on maritime adventure. Sea Scouting includes a rigorous advancement program that leads our youth through the skills necessary to be a very competent sailor and mature leader.

Occoquan VFW 7916 is the group's chartering organization. Town Mayor Earnie Porta is the committee chair and the unit is named Blue Heron in honor of the Occoquan town symbol.

The ship has support from the local community including Carefree Boat Club, Prince William Marina, Mom's Apple Pie Bakery, Leesylvania State Park and the Occoquan Town Council.

The ship's Web site is, where you can read about the scouts' activities. View the online photo album:

For more information contact Shay Seaborne at 703-494-6021 or by email at .

—Occoquan Sea Scout Ship 7916