Sea cadets: schooners and a taste of SALT

Bosun Brock directs cadets Cassandra and Hunter as they prepare to come alongside in Victoria Harbour on the deck of S.A.L.T.S. schooner Pacific Swift. Photo by Christa Brunt

Bosun Brock directs cadets Cassandra and Hunter as they prepare to come alongside in Victoria Harbour on the deck of S.A.L.T.S. schooner Pacific Swift. Photo by Christa Brunt

Peter Mallett, Staff Writer ~

A group of 57 Sea Cadets from across Canada set a course for fun and adventure earlier this month aboard two tall ships.

The heritage vessels are built and operated by the Sail and Life Training Society (SALTS) of Victoria. The aspiring mariners, all between the ages of 13 and 25 representing nine of Canada’s 10 provinces, took part in SALTS’s first deployment of 2019.

The two schooners, the Pacific Grace and Pacific Swift, returned to Ship Point Pier on March 15 after five days at sea and a voyage that took the cadets through the Gulf Islands and back. As the ship entered Victoria’s Inner harbour under fair skies, Sea Cadets could be heard cheering and singing while several were spotted climbing the rigging one last time.

SALTS Executive Director Loren Hagerty says the heritage tall ships provide an ideal platform for youth mentorship at sea, and provide them a confidence boost and sense of wellbeing.

“Every young person on board has to fully participate and engage in order for the ship to go anywhere,” said Hagerty. “The result is growth in relational skills, teamwork, work ethic and the satisfaction of accomplishing something significant together.”

Each ship normally has a crew compliment of five who are accompanied by up to 31 trainees. While aboard, cadet trainees had the opportunity to handle sails, take the helm, climb the rigging, and take part in night-time anchor watch along with many other activities of shipboard life.

Each year 1,700 young people are given an opportunity to learn how to sail, grow relational skills and develop work ethic in five to 10-day voyages aboard Pacific Grace and Pacific Swift. The voyages are not just for cadets – any teen or young adult can sign up online. Expenses cost each sailor approximately $200 per day but a $100,000 bursary fund has been set aside to help lessen the financial burden for aspiring sailors who can’t afford the costs of the program.

SALTS is a registered charity that was established in 1974. For more information on SALTS and upcoming voyages, visit their website www.salts.ca

Filed Under: Top Stories

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