Sea Scout Ship Nine and BSA Troop Nine (Sea Fox) are a combined unit based in Alameda, California. Ship Nine operates three training vessels: the 44-foot former US Navy Admiral’s Gig Sea Fox (formerly Morningstar), the 36-foot racing sailboat Pegasus, and the 17-foot competition Malibu ski boat, For Fox Sake. Ship Nine also owns and operates a small sailboat and has access to kayaks and canoes through the Alameda Boy Scout Council.
The Island Yacht Club in Alameda sponsors and provides meeting space for Ship and Troop Nine. Troop Nine, for boys aged 11 – 13, meets on Tuesday nights at the Island Yacht Club, and Ship Nine, for boys, girls and young adults 14 – 21, meets on Wednesday nights. Island Yacht Club also makes their facility available for the unit to hold fundraisers such as its popular crab feed event each February.
The Sea Fox and the Pegasus are docked at the Ballena Isle Marina in Alameda. The scouts work on, train on, and operate the two boats most weekends, and during the much anticipated 12-day summer cruise. Led by qualified adult leaders, scouts learn the full spectrum of marine engineering and maintenance, boat handling, boating safety, radio operations, navigation, environmental protection, and other related nautical and maritime skills for the safe operation of motor and sail vessels on the San Francisco Bay and Sacramento River Delta.
Sea Scout Ship Nine is chartered as a High Adventure unit of the Boy Scouts of America and structured as a co-ed teen-focused organization with its own distinct rank structure and culture. Youth can join Sea Scouts at age 14 and remain until they are 21. Sea Scouts has four ranks, distinct from Boy Scouts, that are Apprentice, Ordinary, Able, and Quartermaster. Achieving the rank of Quartermaster as a Sea Scout is considered the equivalent challenge of achieving the rank of Eagle Scout. Motivated scouts are encouraged to pursue both their Eagle Scout and Quartermaster ranks while members of Ship Nine.
Boy Scout Troop Nine is chartered and operates under a traditional Boy Scout troop structure, including the pursuit of Boy Scout merit badges, rank advancement, and opportunities for hiking and camping, in addition to a maritime education. Boys who achieve the rank of 1st Class prior to turning 14 can remain in Sea Scouts while continuing to pursue Boy Scout ranks up to Eagle Scout until their 18th birthday. Troop Nine focuses on teaching new scouts the First Aid, Swimming and Radio merit badges during their first year in the Troop; skills and qualifications that will benefit them whether they decide to remain sea scouts, or later transition to a traditional boy scout troop.
Sea Fox scouts engage in a number of training and community service events each year, to include competitive regattas with other Sea Scout Units, shoreline cleanup events, and a 12-day summer cruise. During the summer cruise, scouts live on their boats and have the opportunity to participate in a variety of maritime adventure and
education including sailing, water skiing, fishing and cooking on board, while standing watches, driving the boats, making necessary repairs, refueling, exploring area harbors and ports, and learning safe boating practices.
Sea Fox Ship and Troop Nine are led by a Ship’s Committee of adult leaders, including the Ship’s Skipper and Scoutmaster. The current Skipper and Scoutmaster of Sea Fox Ship and Troop Nine is Ken Shupe. Skipper Shupe earned the rank of Quartermaster and has a number of other scout and other maritime qualifications, Coast Guard licenses and certifications. Sea Fox relies on the generous support of time and funds from scout parents, Sea Fox alumni and the greater Alameda community to keep the unit functioning on an “even keel.”
Sea Fox youth membership costs $20 per month, and scouts are expected to spend about $50 to purchase necessary uniform items. Scholarships are available for interested youth with limited financial resources