Bay Sea Scouts win first phase of U.S. Coast Guard challenge

The Sea Scouts' Navy 44 yawl, Intrepid, returns to Spitzer Lakeside marina after a fun sail.

Ever cognizant of the fickle nature of Lake Erie, on-the-water safety is the number one concern of the Sea Scouts and Explorer Club leadership. For a fun exercise, with that concern in mind, the youth entered the U.S. Coast Guard's Ready for Rescue Challenge, a competition to design an innovative solution to help find people in the water. 

In accepting the challenge back in October, the Sea Scouts and Explorers formed teams to brainstorm out-of-the-box ideas. The plan was to develop an inexpensive and usable product that would improve the chances of the U.S.C.G. recovering a man overboard. The Sea Scout teams, using their STEM skills, combined their efforts and submitted their conception for a “Detection Kite” – an aluminum-coated sled/parafoil kite that would reflect Coast Guard radar. It can be seen above waves from five to seven miles away. The kite clips onto a lifejacket in a pouch as a zipper pull and can, if necessary, help retain body heat if used as a head covering.

Capt. Greg Rothrock, commanding officer of the U.S.C.G. Research and Development Center, in awarding the Sea Scouts $5,000 as a winner in Phase I, said, “I am excited to work with innovators and research ideas that apply a wide range of technologies that have potential to enhance the detectability of persons in the water in need of rescue.”

Bay Sea Scouts were one of five monetary prize winners in the national competition.

In mid-January, the Sea Scouts will compete in Phase II of the competition, where they will pitch their solution in a “Piranha Pool” to compete for a total prize pool of $120,000. The prize money will assist Phase II winners in developing their concept into a working prototype for Phase III.

Bay Sea Scouts are the sponsors of Sea Scout Ship 41 and Explorer Clubs 360 and 180 programs that concentrate on developing life skills, character, leadership and ethics for students in third grade through high school. In the non-boating season, the students concentrate on STEM activities and have a very successful track record entering competitions as reported in previous issues of the Observer. For details contact Richard Gash, or 440-871-6106.

Richard Gash

Adult leader with Sea Scout Ship 41, contact

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Volume 10, Issue 22, Posted 9:32 AM, 11.20.2018