Full service boatyard SEA Marine has made a $30,000 gift to the Northwest Maritime Center’s Maritime Discovery Program. The gift, given over three years, will help underwrite the cost of providing hands-on, experiential, real-world learning for Port Townsend School District’s 7th grade students.
The Maritime Discovery Program connects 7th-grade coursework with maritime experiences and real-world problem-solving, fostering leadership skills, self-confidence, and critical thinking. Reading, writing, mathematics, and the sciences come to life through real-world applications—maritime nomenclature and poetry, navigation, and the study of weather, wind, and marine wildlife. Students also gain exposure to the many jobs in the marine trades through interviewing local business owners.
It costs $52,000 annually to run the Maritime Discovery Program for Blue Heron. SEA Marine’s gift covers about 20% of the program costs. The school district pays a small fee, and the remaining expenses are raised by the Northwest Maritime Center through donations and grants.
“The Maritime Discovery Program is a great way to expose our local youth to opportunities in the maritime industry,” says SEA Marine co-owner Pat Shannon. “It’s about learning, having fun while doing it, and for some a pathway toward a good living wage job right here.”
Pat recognizes that this investment will not have an immediate payback for the company in terms of future employees. “But we have to start somewhere. Hoping is not a strategy. More importantly, SEA Marine cares deeply about being a part of our community. Chris (Bakken, SEA Marine co-owner) and his son Andrew have been coaching the Little League baseball team for many years. We want to be good neighbors by sharing our resources.”
“We’re excited to partner with SEA Marine,” says NWMC CEO Jake Beattie. “The Maritime Discovery Program connects every local student to the opportunities in our marine trades as well as the value of this sector to our community. I’ve always thought of it as our county’s unofficial saltwater citizenship class, and one that has opened doors to the maritime world for those whose imaginations were sparked by their 7th grade experience.”
SEA Marine is owned by Pat and Sara Shannon and their lifelong friends, Chris and Sandy Bakken. John Simpson, an NWMC board member, is also a co-owner.