The Founding of Sewanhaka Power Squadron

 

For a period of ten years, Bayside Power Squadron had been utilizing the facilities of Sewanhaka High School for Piloting instructions. The course proved to be extremely popular in the area. It developed however that this favorable acceptance was not an unmitigated blessing since the operations at Sewanhaka, in conjunction with those at Flushing High School, PS#20, and Bayside High School involved administrative difficulties that began to assume serious proportions. This led to speculation as to the desirability of fostering a new Squadron with Educational Headquarters at Sewanhaka High School and regionally embracing the Central Area of Queens and Nassau Counties.

 

Many members of Bayside residing in this area were enthusiastic with the idea of a geographic regrouping that would afford them greater convenience in their participation in Squadron activities. Mindful of this situation, in November 1952, Walter P Dreher, then Commander of Bayside Power Squadron, and Paul R Nachemson discussed various aspects of the matter and reached the conclusion that the time had arrived to organize a new Squadron.

 

On February 6, 1953, the Executive Committee of Bayside Power Squadron was petitioned to approve the formation of a Squadron at Sewanhaka High School. A cordial and unanimous approval was voted. With the guidance of Gar Seale, N, then the Commander of District #3, an organizational meeting was held at Antun's Restaurant in Queens Village on March 2, 1953. The 33 members present signed a petition for a Chapter, elected officers and adopted By-laws.

 

The Charter petition was approved by the Governing Board of the USPS at their April meeting on May 23, 1953, at a gala affair at the Garden City Hotel. Chief Commander Herbert R. Prior, N, presented Sewanhaka Power Squadron with its Charter. As an officially constituted Squadron, Sewanhaka plunged into an unusually ambitious program. Our educational group undertook to give the entire aray of advanced grade courses in addition to Engine Maintenance and two Piloting courses. For a Squadron to accomplish this in its first year was an unprecedented achievement.

 

The social phase was likewise extremely active. Rendezvous were held on both north and south shores, while indoor gaiety was provided by a Christmas party, a Founder's Day Dance and a Graduation Dinner Dance. In a more serious vein, we contributed an impressive Flotilla of boats to the joint maneuvers of the Marine Corps and the USPS on September 26, 1953. When J/P/C Paul Nachemson, N, turned the reins of command to J. Walter Foster, N, in May, 1954, it was with the happy conviction that Sewanhaka Power Squadron was firmly established. At the National Meeting in January 1955, we ranked second on the the country in Celestial Navigation instruction and were awarded a Certificate by the 'N' Club of New York attesting to our standing. In March, at the Third Distric Conference, we recieved the custody of the Haedrich Memorial Trophy, emblematic of the outstanding Squadron of the District. Sewanhaka retained the Trophy for three consecutive years.

 

Today, Sewanhaka Squadron has an active member base on Long Island. Founder's Day Luncheon, Holiday Parties, Spring Rendezvous and cruises to ports near and far remain an integral part of the Squadron's annual activities. Beginner and advanced boating courses are taught across more than a half a dozen locations in Nassau County each year. Future projects have the Sewanhaka membership aligning with local environmental groups and working on preserving and restoring our area waterways.

 

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A unit of the United States Power Squadrons

Webmaster: Cdr. Fred J. Deppert, AP

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