Sea Scout Ship Intrepid (41) crew wins national USCG Auxiliary contest

Heidi Moody and Gwynn Miller test an electric trolling motor.

Congratulations to Alpha Crew, Hannah Bergmann, Amy Burgy, Gabby Csire, Gwynn Miller, Heidi Moody, and Grace Sugaski, whose research report was selected by the judges as the top Sea Scout B.S.A. project, nationally chosen to support the U.S. Coast Guard Research & Development (R&D) Center.

The challenge Alpha Crew tackled was researching a way for the Coast Guard to reduce its environmental impact while still effectively executing its missions. Knowing that there is considerable excitement regarding electric vehicles, the scouts decided to explore the possibility of the Coast Guard using electric outboard motors.

To ensure the project was on target, they consulted with Capt. John Bingaman U.S.C.G. (ret.) on the suitability of electric outboard motors.

Capt. Bingaman stated, “Regarding the electric motors … a very interesting concept. The motor needs of the Search and Rescue or Law Enforcement require sudden bursts of energy to get the boat up on top of the water and then run hard for extended periods. That said, the Aids to Navigation fleet is a mix of vessel types and the need for quick and sustained energy is not as great.”

Briefly from Alpha Crew’s investigation: they found that battery weight and size limit the vessel’s length. They discovered, for example, that a 6 horsepower electric outboard on a single charge of one lithium battery at 7 knots has a run time of 3 hours and a range of 21 nautical miles with a 12-foot aluminum boat. Even with these types of limitations, the scouts recommended the R&D Center consider electric outboards because they are emission-free. The initial high purchase costs are offset by their low maintenance costs. 

The Sea Scouts, BSA is the official youth program of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary which allows the scouts to benefit from the Auxiliary’s seamanship and vocational training while giving the Sea Scouts a unique introduction to the Coast Guard. For further information on the Sea Scout program contact Richard Gash at

Heidi Moody

Heidi Moody, Alpha Crew Chief, is a sophomore at Orange High School.

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Volume 13, Issue 19, Posted 9:57 AM, 10.05.2021