How do you get to be the best Sea Scout ship in the country?
Follow in the wake of ships like the SSS Dominion of Manassas, Va.
The Sea Scout ship, officially called Ship 100 of the National Capital Area Council, received the 2017 National Flagship Award.
That award, presented by the Boat Owners Association of the United States and Sea Scouts BSA, recognizes a Sea Scout ship that boasts exceptional programming, top-class youth achievement and dedicated adult volunteers. The ship receives a trophy and has its name permanently inscribed on a separate trophy that remains at BSA headquarters.
SSS Dominion has more than 20 youth members and maintains a very active and diverse program. It also might be the only Sea Scout ship that holds its meetings at an airport. Manassas Regional Airport is Ship 100’s home base.
What else makes Ship 100 so great? Let’s count the reasons.
1. They have a great nickname.
Ship 100 is chartered by the Freedom Museum in Manassas, Va. The ship was formed in 2012 to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the BSA’s Sea Scout program.
Members chose the name Dominion to salute Virginia’s nickname: “Old Dominion.”
2. Their fleet is first-rate.
SSS Dominion maintains a fleet of seven boats.
There’s the SSTV [Sea Scout Training Vessel] Benjamin Chase, a 22-foot Catalina kept on the Potomac River across from George Washington’s Mount Vernon. The ship’s name honors Benjamin Wheeler and Chase Kowalski, the two Cub Scouts killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting.
For longer events, Ship 100 uses its SSTV Der Pelikan, a 46-foot Morgan ketch sailboat.
3. They take epic trips …
Last year, 16 members of Ship 100 traveled to the U.S. Virgin Islands, where they sailed a pair of 41-foot sloops around St. John. Of course, they did more than sail.
They stopped to swim, explore the reefs and take hikes to historic sites. They saw turtles, rays, dolphins and thousands of brilliant Caribbean reef fish.
Next year, Ship 100 is planning a long cruise in the British Virgin Islands.
4. … and their ‘other’ trips aren’t so bad either.
Every other week, Ship 100 heads out on the waters of the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay.
They love night sailing and anchoring overnight in secluded coves around Maryland.
And, as you might expect from a bunch of teenagers, the Sea Scouts of Ship 100 are conducting ongoing field research to find the best pizza and ice cream shops around Chesapeake Bay.
5. They do all their own boat maintenance.
Being a Sea Scout means putting in some work on dry land. For the Sea Scouts of Ship 100, that’s no problem.
When the SSTV Blue November took on significant water last year, the Sea Scouts disassembled the engine, refinished the flywheel, flushed the transmission and reassembled everything. Now the boat runs perfectly.
How’d they learn the process? YouTube, of course.
6. They’re lifesavers. Literally.
Two Sea Scouts from Ship 100 were featured in Boys’ Life magazine’s popular “Scouts in Action” feature.
The Sea Scouts, Aidan Wiecki and Jacob Skiles, helped save the victims of a car accident. Each received an Honor Medal for his actions.
7. They give back to the community.
Ship 100 works with the St. Lucy Project, which serves as the food bank of food banks for Northern Virginia.
This means the Sea Scouts inspect, sort and package food for distribution to various centers across the area.
2017 National Flagship Fleet
Ship 100 was named 2017’s top ship, but congratulations also are in order for the entire 2017 National Flagship Fleet.
These ships offer some great programs for young people:
- SSS Charles N. Curtis, Ship 110, Pacific Harbors Council, Tacoma, Wash.
- SSS Response, Ship 911, Capitol Area Council, Austin, Texas
- SSS Dragonlady, Ship 1942, National Capital Area Council, Arlington, Va.
- SSS Decisive, Ship 5011, Aloha Council, Kauai, Hawaii