Every summer for over a decade, the Coast Guard has partnered with Sea Scouting to offer a weeklong sailing adventure aboard USCGC EAGLE to a select group of Sea Scouts from around the nation.
What exactly is it like to sail aboard the Eagle? Katie Bruton, a Quartermaster Sea Scout, provided a firsthand account of her life-changing adventure.
“We began our voyage in Boston, Massachusetts where we boarded, had a safety briefing, and were assigned to our sleeping areas. During our safety briefing we were reminded that we would get as much out of the opportunity as we put in and that we were expected to do everything with the first year cadets. Some of our duties included preparing meals in the swaying messdeck for the 200 people on board, scrubbing the teak deck with Simple Green and water, polishing the brass for public tours, trimming sails for maximum speed and changing direction, and trying to stay awake in the scorching engine room at 1am. The multitude of lines we heaved and hoed during the week in order to trim the sails left us with dirty and callused hands. During our shifts, we also climbed aloft in some of the 6 miles of standing and running rigging to prepare the twenty-three sails to be set and stowed, used celestial navigation to pinpoint our location, and attended interactive trainings. These trainings included preparing for fire emergencies, man overboard, abandon ship, and weather safety.
The week of exhausting hard work did have its perks. At the beginning of the week, I, along with many of the cadets, stared at the whale-speckled horizon. We watched dolphins dance through the waves off the bow, did sunrise workouts, laughed at a 2-hour long talent show, and gazed at the glorious sunrises while standing in the rigging above the ship’s deck.
I did not fully realize how amazing the opportunity was until I was 40 feet in the air watching the sunrise come over the surprisingly calm horizon of the Atlantic Ocean between Boston and New York. I knew how uniquely I was seeing the world and I was awestruck by the beauty of it.
Among an endless laundry list of things the experience taught me, is how so many people can come together to accomplish a common goal. Sailing on Eagle gave me a new view on life and I would not trade the experience for the world.”
If you want to see more, check the Sea Scouts, BSA Facebook group from Aug 2018 for photos and posts about the 2018 cruise. You can check the USCGC EAGLE Facebook page as well, but please do not ask the EAGLE about this program on Facebook because they do not administer the selection process for the program – Sea Scouts does.
Do you think you have what it takes to join the crew of the USCGC EAGLE?Apply today!
Important note – you’ll need to use the form here to upload your application – please don’t send it via email!
First-hand account of the Sail Aboard Eagle was provided by Katie Bruton. Updated February 2023 for 2023 program information.