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The Bosun School at Lunenburg, Nova Scotia- 2019

It is now mid-October, the Picton Castle is back from her very successful tour of the Great Lakes with the grand fleet of Tall Ships Challenge®, a hurricane has come and gone, and the eighth session of the Bosun School of Lunenburg is well underway at our wharf in this old seafaring town. We have a great gang of young mariners from all over in attendance putting in long tarry and salty days. Canada, USA, Denmark, Australia, Greece, and Germany are represented in this session. They have been learning and doing massive amounts of rigging, wooden boat overhaul, heaps of learning how to move heavy things and now sail-making as well as small boat handling every day as we can. Lunenburg Harbour is perfect for small boat sailing and handling. And small boat handling is perfect for learning ship handling.

There is no substitute for and nothing better than real sea time under sail in a proper ship to gain critical experience and advance the skills for a young mariner. But oftentimes on these hard-working ships sailing today, there is little time to focus on advancing these critical skills for the professional mariner. Skills such as wirework and sail-making, ship and boat carpentry and so on. And rarely does the opportunity roll around to actually be part of rerigging a square-rigged ship so extensively, or lay out and make a sail with a professional sailmaker. Or build a dory properly learning or rebuild an historic watercraft under the direction of a master boat builder. And critically, it is very difficult to get the time and access to boats to develop comprehensive small boat handling skills. These things we do at the Bosun School.

The purpose of the Picton Castle’s Bosun School is to provide this opportunity to young dedicated mariners to advance their skills in a concentrated fashion without the entirely natural demands and distractions of being underway at sea standing watches and tending the job every minute of the day. Conducted by myself, the crew of the Picton Castle and special guest instructors, the Bosun School pushes our students to significantly advance their skill levels, making their chances at the best berths in good ships of their choice all the more likely. And also, with simply being better at the job of being a mariner they get to enjoy the job more. Once signed aboard the next ship they will have that much more to offer and will be a greater contributor to helping the ship on her mission – which is, after all, what being crew is all about. These young mariners will simply be more appreciated and thus more in demand. In this year’s course we are also offering a Transport Canada certified Marine First Aid course and an Industrial Rigging certificate.

Stay tuned for updates…..

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