Five Sea Scout vessels, with youth ages 14 to 21 under control, will sail into the Thea Foss Waterway as part of the Tall ShipsTacoma Festival, June 30-July 5. The sailing will highlight the work of one of the largest Sea Scout units in the United States.
More than 100 youth from Pierce, King and Thurston counties sail on the Charles N. Curtis, home-port Tacoma, making it among the largest and longest-running Sea Scout units in the United States, having served youth since 1924. The vessel itself is a 78 foot former Coast Guard cutter, the first assigned to Tacoma and has served youth since 1946.
“More than half of the youth we serve are raised in non-traditional homes with single parents, grandparents or foster parents,” said Tom Rogers, skipper of the Curtis. “Sea Scouts offers quality time with adults and other teenagers in an exciting and achievement-oriented program.”
Four other Sea Scout vessels will join the Curtis for Tall Ships Tacoma. The list includes: the Odyssey, a 90 foot yawl, home-port Tacoma; the Vértié, a 38 foot Bantry Bay Gig, home-port Tacoma; the Rejoice, a two-masted schooner, home-port LaConner; and the Yankee Clipper, a 44 foot Gaff Rig Ketch sailboat, home-port Seattle. The vessels sail June 30 with the rest of the festival fleet.
The Sea Scouts will be contributing many volunteer hours to the Festival – the Charles N. Curtis alone will clock over 3,000. Sea Scout vessels will be open for public boarding and offer cruises.
It’s all part of the objectives of Sea Scouts: provide young men and women leadership training and teach the duties associated with vessel operation. Sea Scouts is a co-ed program that is a part of the Boy Scouts of America.
“The practice and experience gained from the rigors and responsibilities of operating a large vessel build successful leaders,” Rogers said.
Last year, for example, a number of Curtis crewmembers and officers received several awards for their work on the boat. Among the successes: Tarin Todd from Tacoma, 21, earned his 100-ton U.S. Coast Guard Captain’s license; Mary Hicks from Tacoma, age 17, received a full, four-year scholarship to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy; still another young man, Charles Canaan, finished his high school education in the Job Corps and went on to start a Sea Scout program in Idaho.
“We’re proud of our crew members, their hard work and commitment,” Rogers said.