By LOIS KINDLE
Wesley Shaw, 38, will become the Tampa Bay Sailing Squadron’s new commodore April 1.
He’s the youngest ever to lead the nonprofit organization, but that doesn’t mean he lacks experience.
“Wes is our first commodore to have grown up in the club,” said Pat Austin, former commodore and youth sailing director.
“We’re very proud of him.”
Rear Commodore Gary Mull agrees.
He’s energetic, knowledgeable and has vision for the future as the club continues to grow,” Mull said. “He was born and bred around the Tampa Sailing Squadron. His father, Bob, is still a member.”
Shaw absolutely loves sailing. He’s been doing it for more than 20 years.
“I started sailing in the squadron’s summer camp when I was a child. I had zero experience,” he said. “After that I became an instructor and moved on to Sea Scouts, a venturing branch of the Boy Scouts. It’s a co-ed club for scouts ages 14 to 21.”
The Tampa Bay Sailing squadron hosts Sea Scouts Ship 185. Members can learn to sail, row and maintain a boat; sail locally or on cruises far from home; learn to scuba dive; participate in camping, social events, tours, regattas, excursions and seamanship contests; and have the opportunity to develop maritime skills that can lead to careers later on in life.
Membership is a great way for kids to learn about responsibility and develop good character
“Sea Scouts had a great impact on me,” Shaw said. “It gave me a lifelong passion for sailing and seamanship. I learned about the importance of getting into the water and keeping the bottom of a boat clean, which lead me to start a business when I was 15 called Salty Shaws LLC with my sister Michelle.”
“We were able to save for our first cars and help support her and a Sea Scout I hired for the business while they attended college,” Shaw said.
Shaw still own and operates the business today.
TSS Youth Sailing Inc. offers summer sailing classes for youth ages 7 to 17 of all skill levels. Its classes take place at the Tampa Sailing Squadron and are led by U.S. Sailing certified instructors.
The upcoming summer camp runs weekly from June 5 through Aug. 4. The eight-hour-a-day camps introduce youngsters to all things sailing and cost $300 per week.
About the club
The Tampa Sailing Squadron has a diverse array of 300 members who range in experience from sailing novices to die-hard racers. Its purpose is to promote and facilitate sailing and related activities.
It’s a working club, where members gather once a month to work on docks, dry storage and pretty much do whatever needs to be done around the yard or building. And, of course, they sail.
The club is always open to members. Initiation is a one-time fee of $430 and annual dues are $250.
The Tampa Sailing Squadron, 1250 Apollo Beach Blvd., Apollo Beach, hosts Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 75 each month and is building a radio tower on site for its use.