Ship Family Night and Bridge of Honor

Thursday, 19 December 2013, 1930

Zion Mennonite Church, Souderton, PA


Sea Scout Ship 461 held its first Bridge of Honor and Family Night on Thursday, 19 December 2013, in the Fellowship Hall of our sponsor, Zion Mennonite Church of Souderton, Pennsylvania.  This was the first time that the Ship attempted to hold any type of a Landship ceremony and, despite some false starts and missteps, our inaugural landship ceremony went off rather well.  Fortunately, most of the necessary props were finished in time, especially the stanchions for making the outline of our landship and the mainmast that gave our landship its nautical flair.

Mate Paul Coaché and his son, Boatswain's Mate Kyle Coaché, constructed the thirteen (13) wooden stanchions that are used to make the outline of our landship.  The mast was constructed by the Skipper using various diameters of PVC pipe and 2 x 6 lumber for the base.  The mast was then painted aluminum to simulate metal and comes apart into five (5) pieces for ease of transport and storage.  When erected, the mast stands approximately nine (9) feet tall; has a cross beam of four and one-half (4½) feet; and has equipment for three (3) halyards to from which to fly the various flags used in a landship ceremony.  The main mast can be seen at the far right of the photograph to the right which depicts Mate Andy Cowles leading the Ship's officers in boarding the landship.  The alphabet signal flags on the left-side of the main mast spell out "BSA."

Prior to the commencement of the Bridge of Honor ceremony, the crew boarded the landship, giving the Sea Scout "double salute" as they boarded.  In the "double salute," the crew member first salutes the mast, representing duty to God, and then sharply turns to salute the national ensign, which flies on the fantail of the landship, representing duty to country.  Upon disembarking, the order of the salutes is reversed, first country and then God.  The crew members looked very sharp in their winter dress blue uniforms.  Following the crew, the members of the Ship's Committee boarded the landship, followed by the Ship's Mates.  The last to board was the Skipper, who was welcomed aboard by the Ship's Boatswain.

The first part of our Bridge of Honor was an admission ceremony to formally welcome our two (2) newest members of our Ship into the crew -- Kyle R. Coaché and Matthew R. Ranberg.  While Kyle and Matt have been active with our Ship since late September 2013, this was the first opportunity that we had to formally induct them as members of our Ship's crew.  Participation in a formal admission ceremony is also one of the requirements for achieving the rank of Apprentice Seaman.  During the admission ceremony, Ship's Purser, Aaron Guttenplan, guided the candidates to various parts of the landship and to various officials of the Ship, where the candidates were required to agree to abide by the Scout Oath, the Sea Scout Promise, and, finally, to abide by the Ship's Code of the Sea Scout Ship Nautilus.  Only after agreeing to all of those conditions were the candidates permitted to sign the Ship's Log by Yeoman Sean M. van der Kleut.  Once the candidates had signed our Ship's Log, they were full members of the crew of Ship 461. 

The photo above left shows Purser Aaron Guttenplan introducing the two candidates, Kyle Coaché and Matt Ranberg, to the Ship's Yeoman, Sean van der Kleut, while Skipper Tim Wile looks on.  Members of the Ship Committee can be seen at the right hand side of the photograph.  The Committee members pictured are, from left to right, Alicia Ranberg, Committee Member, Leora L. Wile, Committee Chair, and Pattie Guttenplan, Committee Member.  The photo directly at left shows Program Mate Andrew L. Cowles during his part of the admission ceremony while the photo at right shows Kyle Coaché signing our Ship's Log while Yeoman Sean van der Kleut looks on.  Our Storekeeper, Matt Ranberg, can be seen to the far right in the photo.

During the Bridge of Honor, we also recognized six (6) of our crew members who had achieved the rank of Apprentice Seaman during 2013.  Those individuals were Kyle R. Coaché, Boatswain's Mate; Walter C. Coyne, Jr., Boatswain; Aaron Guttenplan, Purser; Matthew R. Ranberg, Storekeeper; Brandon Rhoads, Boatswain's Mate; and Sean M. van der Kleut, Yeoman.  In addition, Seaman Andrew S. Rhoads had earned the Small Boat Handler award earlier in 2013.

In addition to the awards earned by the Ship's crew members, the Bridge of Honor also recognized adult achievements.  Skipper Timothy P. Wile and Mate Andrew L. Cowles were recognized for having completed Sea Badge during 2013.  Skipper Wile, Mate Cowles, and Mate Randy van der Kleut were also recognized for earning the Sea Scout Long Cruise Badge.

Following the Bridge of Honor, the various parties, commencing with the Skipper, disembarked from the landship in the reverse order of their embarkation. 

The Ship's officers, crew and family members then enjoyed a social period and light refreshments that were brought by the various families.  The photograph at left shows most of the Ship's crew in their dress blue uniforms with the Ship's officers seated in front.  Our crew, from left to right, is Boatswain Walter Coyne, Storekeeper Matt Ranberg, Boatswain's Mate Kyle Coaché, Purser Aaron Guttenplan, and Yeoman Sean van der Kleut.  The Ship's officers, in the front row from left to right, are Mate Paul S. Coaché (in khakis), Skipper Timothy P. Wile, and Mate Andrew L. Cowles (in dress whites).

In the background of the group photo, you can see our landship mast from which  our Ship's flag flies during landship ceremonies.  The Sea Scout centennial burgee flies on the right-hand halyard while on the left-hand halyard alphabet signal flags spelling out "BSA" are flying.  If we have visitors from either the council squadron, the flotilla, or the region, the flag of the highest visiting official will fly in the halyard instead of the Sea Scout Centennial burgee.  By tradition, the Skipper is represented by our Ship's flag on the main mast.


































This page last updated on Sunday, 16 February 2014.

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