Sea Scouts offer on-the-water fun; leadership skills

Earlier this year, the Portland Sea Scouts took first place honors at the regional regatta. Read this article and you’ll learn how one Gresham youth has grown, as a result of this distinctive program ‚Ķ

Sea Scouts Steven Adams, Andrew Hazell, and James Hoffman aboard their 44-foot motor life boat, VIKING.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
In April, the Portland Sea Scouts participated in their annual Nor’Wester Sea Scout Regatta. The crews took part in 25 competitive events at the regatta, and the crew of one Portland vessel, CITY OF ROSES, was the overwhelming winner with 19 first places awards.

When we learned three of the Portland Sea Scouts’ craft were on public display recently, we decided to check in on the progress of the troop.

The Portland Sea Scouts crafts CITY OF ROSES and VIKING, on display at the Jantzen Beach Red Lion hotel.

On the dock, we became reacquainted with Andrew Hazell, a crew member of the Portland Sea Scout’s 44-foot motor life boat, VIKING ‚Äì sister ship of CITY OF ROSES.

With an air of authority one would expect of a naval officer, Hazell told us their ship, an former Coast Guard 44-foot motor life boat, was built in 1967. “The Coast Guard ran it until 1998. When it was decommissioned, we applied for the ship.”

It wasn’t a smooth sail, Hazell said. When they first got the VIKING, the starboard engine had a lot of problems. “The crew and officers hauled it out, and made all necessary repairs to put it in ‘ship shape’ condition.”

Gains discipline, respect and leadership
“I joined because I wanted to get on the water,” Hazell explained. “If you don’t own a boat, it is a rare opportunity to go on the water, basically for free.”

More than simply being a fun time on the water, Hazell said his Sea Scouts experience has taught him discipline, respect and leadership. “These concepts are integral parts of the program. The crewmembers dip the tanks, fuel the boat, check the oil, check the transmission. It’s not only learning to take responsibility for one’s self, but also for the boat and sharing responsibility with your crew members.”

Hazell said he’s grown as a leader during his four years in the program. “When I first came, I felt very unsure of myself and my skills. Over time, with training and learning skills, I feel confident, more able. Also, I feel a lot more confident in being able to talk to people.”

Sea Scout Andrew Hazell says he’s gained confidence from being in this program.

As an example, Hazell told us he’s joined the Speech and Debate Team at Gresham High School. “It turns out I love it. Now, partially thanks to the Sea Scouts, I can speak in front of people and state my views. I can reason out a position and present it.”

Community service
Each of the Sea Scouts maintains the shore of the Columbia River around their base. Also, to become a Quartermaster, every Sea Scout has to create and complete a community service project.

Oh yes, there is lots of boating
In addition to evening and weekend work parties, Sea Scouts enjoy boating. A lot of boating, Hazell told us! “Every year, we go on a long cruise and to the Regatta. We won first place every year! It felt great to be part of a winning team.”

Want to hit the waves? The Portland area Sea Scouts are actively seeking new members. Both young men and women, from those who have graduated from eighth grade this spring through high school age, are eligible for membership now.

For information on joining, and meeting schedules, call Pat Kelley at (503) 667-7835 days or evenings, or e-mail him at

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

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