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About Maritime High School

Maritime High School (MHS) is a tuition-free public school currently located in Des Moines. It’s designed for students who have an interest in anything connected to the sea. Using hands-on, project-based learning and STEM education, MHS inspires student interest in maritime careers, marine science, and the environment. Classroom time is supplemented with frequent fieldwork experiences and boat-based learning. By graduation, students have the skills to launch directly into a maritime career or continue studying at college.

The school is a collaborative project of Highline Public Schools, Northwest Maritime Center, Port of Seattle, and the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition, with many community and industry partners engaged to support the students.

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Through project-based learning, students at Maritime High School are prepared to be the collaborative problem-solvers of tomorrow. By ­working together to investigate and solve a series of increasingly complex and authentic questions, students actively acquire a deeper knowledge during their studies.

Students follow their interests to learn a trade, earn industry certifications, or pursue the post-secondary path of their choosing, leading to careers on vessels, in management, in ocean sciences, and across the wide range of careers in the maritime world. The school collaborates with community organizations, maritime professionals, and industry employers to address skill gaps, employer readiness, and system barriers that constrain young and diverse people.


Inclusive programs, policies, and practices ensure that quality education and maritime career opportunities are accessible to all. Focused efforts are made to recruit, engage, prepare, and empower students who are underrepresented in maritime and ocean science careers, emphasizing those furthest from educational justice and opportunities, including students of color and girls. The school will actively showcase strong maritime and ocean sciences professionals from these under-represented populations, creating promising pathways for the students.


The maritime industry is a pillar of the state’s economy, yet workforce gaps threaten the sector. The industry projects a significant shortage of mariners, as the sector continues to grow, buoyed by the latest technologies. Maritime High School will address the workforce gap by training today’s students for well-paid, meaningful, and lasting careers. Students of color make up more than 70% of students in the residential areas closest to many of the region’s maritime industries and should enjoy commensurate representation in its workforce.

Meet the Maritime High School partner organizations


Highline Public Schools

Highline Public Schools serves more than 18,000 students grades K-12, and encompasses the communities of Burien, Des Moines, Normandy Park, SeaTac and White Center in Washington state. Highline is committed to equity in education, high expectations for all, and partnering with families and the community to ensure all children graduate ready for the future they choose.

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Northwest Maritime

The mission of the NWM is to engage and educate people of all generations in traditional and contemporary maritime life, in a spirit of adventure and discovery. We do it in service to our community and maritime industry, but mostly because regardless of the subject, the sea is the most powerful teacher we know.

Duwamish River Community Coalition

DRCC elevates the voice of those impacted by the Duwamish River pollution and other environmental injustices to advocate for a clean, healthy, and equitable environment for people and wildlife. They promote placekeeping and prioritize community capacity and empowerment.

Port of Seattle

Founded in 1911 by a vote of the people as a special purpose government, the Port of Seattle’s mission is to promote economic opportunities and quality of life in the region by advancing trade, travel, commerce and job creation in an equitable, accountable and environmentally responsible manner.