Sailors Assigned to USS Constitution Participate in Rowing Competition

Sailors Assigned to USS Constitution Participate in Rowing Competition

Sailors assigned to USS Constitution participated in the 33rd Snow Row off the coast of Hull, Mass. March 10.

The Hull Lifesaving Museum (HLM) hosts the annual event to kick off the season of racing row boats in the New England area.

“It builds camaraderie amongst the crew members to be able to compete in a rowing race,” said Chief Builder (SCW) Christopher Locke, Constitution’s repair department leading chief petty officer.

The race offers five boat categories: workboats, livery boats, coxed boats, ocean kayaks and ocean shells. More than 100 small boats participated in the nearly four-mile course.

Constitution’s boat team of seven Sailors finished sixth place out of 17 in the coxed boat category, with a time of 42 minutes and 15 seconds.

“I have blisters all over my hands, but all the hard work we put into this is rewarding” said Naval Air Crewmen 2nd class (NAC/AW) Jonathan Smitherman, a Constitution’s rower. “We trained two hours per day, twice a week, for a month. Sixth place is definitely something to be proud of when you consider most of the boat teams have more experience than us and can train more often.”

The Snow Row raises awareness and promotes the rich history of lifesaving through the HLM. Volunteers of the Massachusetts Humane Society, later becoming the United States Lifesaving Service, have always watched the coast for ships in distress.

The United States Lifesaving Service became of one the three facets that make up the United States Coast Guard.

“When coming into Boston, the chances of shipwreck were very significant,” said Edward McCabe, director of maritime programs at the HLM. “The lifesaving tradition in this country can be traced back to these farmers and fisherman at the tip of Hull.”

Constitution is the world’s oldest commissioned warship afloat and welcomes more than 500,000 visitors per year. She defended the sea lanes against threat from 1797 to 1855, much like the mission of today’s Navy.

Constitution’s mission today is to offer community outreach and education about the ship’s history. Currently, her crew is planning to commemorate bicentennial of the War of 1812 through public demonstrations and educational activities at seven Navy Weeks across the U.S. in 2012. America’s Navy: Keeping the sea free for more than 200 years.

Naval Today Staff , March 13, 2012; Image: navy