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Sea Scouts Ship 459
(Mt. Holly, North Carolina)
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Sailing Aboard the USCG Cutter Eagle

Each summer a select group of Sea Scouts climb aboard the USGC Cutter Eagle and participate in the program with Cadets from the Coast Guard Academy. 
Training includes watched, knots, heaving line, fire drill, climbing aloft, putting on a “Gumby” suit, and everyone’s favorite, Square Rigger Olympics.

Earlier this summer, a small group of Sea Scouts spent a week sailing between Boston and New York City alongside the crew of the Coast Guard Barque Eagle – 

a 295-foot three-masted tall ship – the only tall ship in the U.S. military fleet.

The Sea Scouts are a branch of the Boy Scouts of America but with a maritime focus. 

Throughout the year they meet and work together learning skills and earning individual advancements while spending time on the water sailing and boating with their Ship. 

For nearly a decade, the Sea Scouts and the Coast Guard have partnered together offering a week-long sailing experience aboard the Eagle to a select group of Sea Scouts each summer.

The Sea Scouts selected to sail aboard the Eagle were chosen based on their merits, accomplishments and goals. 

Interested applicants submitted a package for consideration for an opportunity to embark on the trip. 

A part of the submission package includes an essay by the applicants outlining why they want to experience a week-long trip sailing with the crew aboard the Eagle. 

Of the potential candidates who applied, only six were chosen for the week-long off-shore sailing adventure with the Coast Guard on a 79-year-old piece of living history.

“The partnership with the Coast Guard gives the Sea Scouts a unique experience at sea as they jump right in with the crew and the Coast Guard Academy cadets hauling lines, 

standing watch, steering, navigating and learning the importance of working together to sail the Eagle,” said National Sea Scout Commodore retired Coast Guard Vice Adm. Charles Wurster, 

who sailed with the Sea Scouts for the week. “The values the Sea Scouts learn through their program are very much in line with those of the Coast Guard creating a natural fit for them.”

The Sea Scouts are exposed to all of the challenges that Mother Nature and a 295-foot tall ship can throw at them throughout the week, which creates a truly memorable experience.

“Working side-by-side with the crew and cadets aboard the Eagle opens the Sea Scout’s eyes to a new world and a potential career as a member of the Coast Guard,” 

said Capt. Matt Meilstrup, the Eagle Commanding Officer. “In return, many of the crew and cadets are exposed to the Sea Scout program.”

While aboard, the Sea Scouts had the opportunity to climb high into rigging that covers the three masts of the Eagle like a spider web of crisscrossing lines and rope-like ladders. 

They inched out along the horizontal yard arms that hang 50-130 feet above the water with smiles on their faces spread as wide as the horizon in the backdrop.

The Sea Scouts were not treated any differently than the Coast Guard Academy trainees, or “swabs,” 

with whom they were embedded alongside throughout the week working together in teams. 

Their duties included standing watch and working in the various departments throughout the Eagle. 

Sailing far off the coast away from city lights, the Sea Scouts had a front row view to an array of marine life and 

shooting stars that left brief streaks of shimmering light painted across the night sky.

Sea Scout Joey Kasper from Lake Havasu City, Arizona remarked that the experience was life changing, and that she was ever grateful for the opportunity to sail aboard the Eagle. 

She expressed great interest in both the Coast Guard and the Coast Guard Academy, which she had limited knowledge and familiarity of prior to the week-long trip.

As the crew navigated the Eagle toward the pier in New York City, the Sea Scout’s journey drew to a close, but the memories of their adventure sailing upon the Atlantic Ocean with the crew will last a lifetime.