Lynn Colletti is skipper of ship No.5 for the Sea Scouts in Massachusetts in the US and has recently joined forces with Victor Mastone, a retired underwater archaeologist, and the Big Anchor Project to bring the ‘Scouts at Anchor’ program to the Sea Scouts in a fun and more hands-on approach.

Making Anchors fun by Lynn Colletti

On September 19, 2021, Sea Scout Ship 5 out of Gloucester Massachusetts hosted a variety of young scouts from Pack 33 in Westminster MA, introducing them to the Big Anchor Project through their ‘Scouts at Anchor’ program. We were introduced to the Big Anchor Project by Victor Mastone a retired Nautical Archaeologist from Massachusetts. He wanted to work with us, but then Covid hit, so then he suggested maybe us getting involved with the anchors which are in abundance in Gloucester Massachusetts.

Ship 5 had developed a program called ‘Sea Scouts at Anchor’ in collaboration with Victor Mastone, and the BAP/ NAS representative, Peta Knott. When scouts document the location and features of an anchor (silver level), they can submit documentation for a patch for the Sea Scouts at Anchor initiative and patch requirements. The program is open to all scouts: boy scouts, girl scouts and sea scouts. One of the advancements in sea scouts is all the nautical opportunities, part of their learning they need to know about anchors and the history of anchors, what they are used for and why and for the kids it can be a little boring! But with Victor and the Big Anchor Project it’s all physical and you can go out and log an anchor and be apart of this international recording of anchors which helps make it fun and exciting for the younger and older generations.

On the day I had a friend who is a leader of a nearby cub scouts’ group who wanted to come with her cubs and see what we were doing, so we said great come along see what we do and come and measure an anchor and get a little patch.

Above: The Sea Scouts showing off their Anchor Badges

They came out and had a wonderful time, the cub scout leader was much more expressive and enthusiastic than I am! On the day we probably had 20 kids in total, we arranged them into their groups with their measuring tapes and were able to measure and learn the parts of the anchor. In the end we logged around 28 anchors!

They had a really good time and even said they wanted to come back and do it again. Some of them didn’t like touching old things some thought it was really cool, when asked what they liked about anchors some of the more enthusiastic responses were; “seeing all these anchors, because they are very old’, ‘I like answering questions’, ‘measuring them’, one parent said they didn’t even know all the parts of the anchor and found it very cool to learn’. It really helped the learning process to work together and talk about the anchors and get pictures. They way we worked it is that we the older kids who had done it previously (discover that story here) helped the younger kids, so having organised it the kids soon took over working in their groups whilst I walked in-between them as the older kids taught the younger ones, which is nice to see as it shows the knowledge and enthusiasm being passed down and helping getting them more engaged as the kids seem to respond better to other kids.

Above: passing on techniques a young sea scout measures under the watchful eye of their peers

What’s next:

The kids definitely want to come back and log more anchors. And my enthusiastic friend from the cub scouts wants to bring more of her groups down and look at the anchors again, and take the project away with them as they had such a good day. We wanted to get the older kids to do it so that we can eventually get them NA level 1 certified as we have plans with Victor Mastone to hopefully get them going out and looking at wrecks as we have quite a few wrecks and islands which the kids are very excited to explore.

To learn more about these programs:

Sea Scouts are an international youth organisation that promotes citizenship and boating skills through instruction and practice in water safety, outdoor social experiences, and knowledge of maritime heritage.

Big Anchor Project (BAP) is a global research initiative to create a comprehensive database that aims to be a research tool for maritime historians and archaeologists, generated by the global public.