Lewes Sea Scouts return to water after boat fire

Open house set Nov. 13
November 4, 2019

Story Location:
211 Front St
Lewes, DE 19958
United States

On June 16, members of the Sea Scout Ship 198, a coed Boy Scouts of America nautical program, faced a disaster.

While en route to Baltimore, Md., one of the two boats caught fire. The engine began shooting flames. Smoke filled the cabin.

Cheyenne Snyder, a member of the Sea Scouts, was at the helm. She noticed the smoke and alerted another member, Carson Watts. The whole situation, though terrifying, didn’t shake the team. The fire was extinguished in less than a minute.

“You just know when you need to react, and if you don’t react on time, it can become catastrophic,” Snyder said. “If I didn’t see it or smell the smoke, it could have gotten really bad.”

The nine members were all under 20 years old, but they handled the situation with professionalism and knowledge. They stopped the fire, pulled one boat with the other, and made sure to contact all of the correct people. The parents supervising the trip let the scouts control the situation. The crew was prepared, the main skill Sea Scouts focuses on.

Chris Dean, another member of the crew, said “We have training classes that we go to every year, and most of the requirements focus on the safety around the boat… If you remember how to use a fire extinguisher, then the main part is just managing the shock of the situation. We train for that.”

On Oct. 18, the Sea Scouts took to the water once again with a trip to Cape May, N.J., capping off their trips for the 2019 year.

Sea Scout Ship 198 of Lewes was founded in 1992. Ron Krajewski, one of the original members, continues to help run the program and teach the new scouts. His daughter, Sarah, is currently a member.

Young adults ages 14-20 learn how to sail, maintain ships, and travel safely. They plan everything themselves, from charting courses to contacting the marinas.

Michelle Snyder, mother of Cheyenne Snyder, spoke of the members’ passion, saying, “What’s great is that all of these kids are from different walks of life and different schools, but they all share a passion of loving the water. It’s like a family… It’s because of that passion that we completely trust them in situations like the fire. They run it all, and they do an exceptional job.”

This October, four members of the troop qualified for the William I. Koch International Sea Scout Cup at the Northeast Regional Race. Sarah Krajewski and Ellie Cerchio placed first in the competition, while Carson Watts and Chris Dean placed third, beating out Sea Scout groups from all over the East Coast.

It’s achievements like this and the situational awareness during the summer fire that the group strives for, helping prepare them for life on and off the boat.

“Not only does it prepare you to go to college if you do want to pursue something on the water, but it gives you life skills, too,” Cheyenne Snyder said. “I’ve learned to come out of my shell, communicate, and be a leader. Now I’m a boatswain of Ship 198. I can’t thank Sea Scouts enough for making me who I am today, and it’s going to take me where I want to go.”

Sea Scout Ship 198 will hold an open house Wednesday, Nov. 13, at 7 p.m., at Lewes Canalfront Marina. For more information, visit Ship 198 Sea Scouts on Facebook.





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