Coast Guard sponsoring program at SML

Pictured is the patrol boat that will be used for the sea scouts program at Smith Mountain Lake.

The United States Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 8-11, District 5 Southern Region, is sponsoring the creation of a new Sea Scout unit in Smith Mountain Lake. The Flotilla will serve as the chartering organization and in partnership with the Boy Scouts of America (BSA).

“Instead being call troops, like a boy scout troop, they’re called ‘ships,’” Sea Scout Ship Skipper Larry Ruffin said. “So it would be called a sea scout ship.”

Ruffin is in charge of the sea scout program at Smith Mountain Lake along with help from his wife Joan Ruffin.

According to a press release from the Coast Guard, in the past year, an agreement between the Coast Guard Auxiliary and BSA made the Sea Scouts the official youth program of the Coast Guard Auxiliary. The Sea Scout unit will work and train alongside the experienced Coast Guard Auxiliary members and learn from them. A Sea Scout unit is called a Sea Scout Ship – they will give the ship a name once they have completed its initial formation.

“It’s a cool program,” Ruffin said. “Normally to be an auxiliarist, they’d have to be 17. They don’t have to become an auxiliarist, but since the Coast Guard is sponsoring the program, they have the opportunity to become an auxiliarist right at the age of 14 as well.”

-For more information, see the Nov. 27 edition of the Smith Mountain Eagle-

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