Bearded Pirate and Old Friend Joins the Ranks of Coastkeeper

Captain-Schaad

Captain Scott Schaad and First Mate (and Staff Accountant) Victor Vasquez on patrol for pollution

Scott Schaad still owes me 10 margaritas at Fred’s in Old Town. Granted it was a ridiculous bet years ago, but I’m still holding him to it. And as crazy as it seems, I forgot that I actually had free drinks waiting for me at one of my favorite Taco Tuesday spots. That was until I had the true pleasure of welcoming our newest Volunteer Boat Captain Scott Schaad to the Coastkeeper family last week.  

You see, Scott and I use to be co-trip leaders for Aztec Adventures, SDSU’s outdoor recreation program. Back in our undergrad days, Scott and I had the oh-so-terrible job of taking fellow students down to Baja’s beautiful and pristine coastline for weekend kayaking and surf trips. On one of these adventures, Scott and I were taking some students kayaking through a pristine coastline just south of Ensanda; a place I can only hope San Diego’s entire coastline looks like again someday. After a long day of paddling, Scott and I attempted to cook a delicious dinner and dessert for our eagerly awaiting group of students. Unfortunately, our dessert concoction turned out to be what could only be considered an ill-conceived sugar, butter and pumpkin flavored soup with overtones of burnt toast.

While the dessert was a complete disaster, Scott didn’t want to waste the valuable calories, so he bet me ten margaritas that I couldn’t eat the whole thing.  Of course I did, and to date, I haven’t redeemed my bounty.  

After those college adventures, Scott and I got busy with that whole pesky “real life” thing and kinda lost touch. Luckily, the winds of fate changed, and our other Volunteer Boat Captain and Programs Director at the Mission Bay Aquatic Center, Kevin, mentioned he knew a guy who would be interested in volunteering to help out with pollution patrols on our boat. That guy turned out to be my old friend Scotty Schaad, who is now working as the Lead Wakeboarding Instructor for the Aquatic Center.

We at Coastkeeper couldn’t be more stoked to welcome Scotty on board. With Kevin and Scott at the helm, our boat program is poised to take off.  I’ve had the chance to get to know both guys, and they both have a true passion for helping to protect our ocean ecosystems.

Captain-Straw

Captain Straw keeping a wary eye for violations of the Clean Water Act.

Our Coastkeeper staff has big plans to make the most of having these champions of the environment on board. Our toxic waterways crew has been out on the boat discussing ways to supplement the water quality data on our wiki with our boat program, and our education and outreach team is working with Scott and Kevin to reach out to the boating community to promote eco-friendly boating.

The best part of the whole story, for me, may be reconnecting with an old friend.  It’s always a great feeling to have such a good person in the mix, and even though I’m extremely grateful to Scott (and Kevin, of course!) for donating his time and energy . . . I’m still going to cash in on those margaritas.

Volunteer Captains for Clean Sweep

I never thought I’d know how to dry dock a Boston Whaler, but I know now. I’m also pretty good at cleaning a boat cover of the “gifts” left by the local birds. Today I spent the morning on Clean Sweep with San Diego Coastkeeper’s soon-to-be-former outreach and volunteer coordinator, who’s on her way to grad school in Costa Rica, and our new outreach and volunteer coordinator, Dylan,  AND our first-ever Volunteer Boat Captain, Kevin.

I had a lot of work piling up, but it’s always fun to do things with our volunteers and, who doesn’t want to spend a gorgeous sunny morning on San Diego Bay? We cruised over to the marina where the fishing boats dock. Once aboard, we checked out the industrial area beyond Coronado Bay Bridge and talked a little bit about the sediment removal that should happen by year-end. On our way back, we cruised by and said hello to our pals at the Harbor Police.

I feel pretty excited about the Volunteer Captain program. It’s going to be awesome to have qualified folks in the community who can get Clean Sweep out on the water so that we can do more patrolling for pollution, more tours with donors and decision-makers and make more connections with the people who are on the water for fun and as they make a living.

By the time I got back to the office, that work that I thought was piling up didn’t seem all that big a deal anymore. And I felt grateful for the amazing people who use our waterways and more connected to the ocean that we work to protect!