March 18, 2020

Hello friends,

This letter is the hardest that I have had to write in my nine-plus years as Executive Director. The short version of what follows is that at the close of business Friday, March 20th, the Northwest Maritime Center will be in hibernation; significantly scaling back staff and functions until further notice. Here’s why:

The core of what we do is to work with youth in our schools and bring people together in classes and community events that further and celebrate our mission. As such, the Covid19 outbreak hit our organization at the worst possible time.

We have a diverse offering of programs and experiences, but our organization is still highly seasonal, and this pandemic hit at the end of our “bleeding months.” We have now cancelled two fundraising events, and school closures have led us to cancel at least half of our spring season of programming. That’s what we know.

As of now we are planning for summer programming and signature events such as the Race to Alaska and Wooden Boat Festival, but we also don’t know for certain. Things are uncertain and moving faster than any of us can calibrate.

On top of that is the right turn in society’s priorities. The falling stock market will restrict available philanthropic resources, the bulk of those resources will justifiably be directed to the tidal wave of health and human service needs of the present crisis and likely long lived aftermath of this pandemic.

In short, it’s our perfect storm.

Given all of this, as of the close of business Friday, the NWMC will be effectively placing significant portions of itself into hibernation until things stabilize so that it can focus on the things we can still accomplish (planning for a Festival and races, producing 48° North magazine.) Our campus will remain closed, and all of our staff, myself included, will to some extent be furloughed- some working drastically reduced hours, most will be on temporary unpaid leave. We will still be doing the essential (processing payments and registrations, filing taxes, etc) but our activity will slow dramatically.

We do this both to preserve the future vitality of the organization and so the 52 employees of the NWMC may access unemployment resources to ease the burden on their families until they return to work. Our priority is bringing employees and departments back online as soon as resources and public health recommendations allow.

I am proud of the impacts that the Maritime Center continues to make in our local and regional communities, and there remain exciting projects on the horizon—the horizon is just suddenly an unknown distance away. I look forward to that future time when I can share the better kind of news you’ve grown accustomed to hearing from us.

Thank you for your ongoing support of our mission and programs, and thanks in advance for the longer than normal response times. I wish you health and peace in these turbulent times.

Onward,
Jake

PS: We are not doing a “Save the NWMC” type of fundraiser- this is what it is and there are bigger issues in the world than us right now. We are giving people the opportunity to help raise the $70,000 needed to provide 90 days of health benefits for our furloughed staff. To be a part of that effort, follow this link: https://nwmaritime.org/give/

Thank you.


March 16, 2020

Hello friends,

As you may be aware, last night Governor Inslee announced there will be a statewide ban on bars, restaurants and recreational facilities. While it is yet to be concretely defined, we are considering ourselves in the latter category and will be shutting our doors to the public as of this morning.

I found it oddly comforting that we had already made the decision to shut down the public spaces of the NWMC (Chandlery, Marine Thrift, Boatshop, Library, and administrative offices) starting tomorrow. As per the order, the boathouse and coffee shop will now be closed as well. We continue to make the right/hard decisions related to this evolving issue, and as good community citizens, we will continue to keep our staff and our community’s health and wellbeing at the forefront of our decisions.

There will likely be more updates to our operations as our reality unfolds, and as supporters and friends I promise to keep you up to date, but I’d also like to ask for your help. Many of the ways we have been serving our community (classes, school programs, public events, etc) have been put on hold, but not our desire to serve. Our strength as an organization is our community, you, and I’m inviting you to be a part of our socially distanced “think tank” to help us think through what new needs we can serve in these coming months.

Please let me know if in your own navigation of these turbulent times if there’s a role you think the NWMC can play to help us all get through this. No promises we can do them, but I promise I’ll consider it—brainstorm rules apply: no ideas are bad ideas.

Thank you for your ongoing support, and remember to breathe.

Be well,
Jake

VELOCITY IS OPEN FOR TO-GO ORDERS


She Tells Sea Tales Update | March 11, 2020

Dear She Tells Sea Tales fans and Girls’ Boat Project supporters,

We have officially decided to cancel the March 14th She Tells Sea Tales event. As you are well aware, we are navigating the impacts of Coronavirus on our community and it seems prudent to cancel this gathering.

The good news is that you can still get a taste of She Tells Sea Tales! We invite you to listen to KPTZ 91.9 this Friday, March 13th from 3:30-4:30 PM for a special reading from a few of our 2020 She Tells Sea Tales scheduled readers.

And if that wasn’t enough you can also access some of your favorite past readers (or years you missed) on the KPTZ website at https://kptz.org/podcasts/passages-sea-tales/  Thank you,  KPTZ!

We hope that you will consider donating the cost of your ticket. In the words of one of this year’s girls, “People should support the Girls’ Boat Project because it is important to learn woodworking and it is fun to be with so many capable women in our community.” This powerful program still needs your support.

If you would like a refund, please email kate@nwmaritime.org by March 17th. If we don’t hear from you by then we will assume that you are donating. If you would like to make an additional donation please visit: nwmaritime.org/shetells

For updated information from the NWMC regarding changes to programs and operations due to the coronavirus, please continue to check this page.

Best practices reminders

  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds or with a hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, or cough and sneeze into your upper sleeve. Dispose of tissues in no-touch trash receptacles.
  • Wash your hands or use a hand sanitizer after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.

Thank you for continuing to support the Northwest Maritime Center and the Girls’ Boat Project .

Chrissy McLean
Associate Program Manager, Northwest Maritime Center
chrissy@nwmaritime.org


Note from our Program Director | March 6, 2020

Dear teachers, school administrators, parents and students,

As we all assess the risks and impact of the coronavirus, we wanted to reach out and let you know that as an organization we are taking COVID-19 seriously. At this time we have one confirmed case in Jefferson County. Given that we’re all learning into this together we anticipate that how we operate will be changing as this progresses, but here’s how we are approaching this today

In alignment with public health recommendations, we have made the following changes to our operations:

Campus precautions: In addition to re-emphasized personal hygiene (washing hands, staying home while sick, covering coughs, etc) we are also instituting increased cleaning procedures to sanitize high use surfaces frequently. 

  • Increased cleaning of contact surfaces including doors, handrails, tables and chairs
  • Programs staff is wiping down classrooms daily
  • Enhanced facility cleaning policy has been provided to all staff and tenants

Campus Programs 

  • Meet & greet students and ask them to wash hands with soap & water
  • Open each class session with a reminder re: best practices & expectations for good hygiene while at the NWMC.  There are tissues and trash cans in each classroom and windows to open for ventilation
  • Instructors will monitor and role model good hygiene.  We will limit close contact in the classroom 
  • Snacks, if part of the program, will be pre-prepared and in individual paper serving containers or something similar

Boat Based Programs 

  • Dock safety talk – hygiene and life aboard the boat
  • Galley procedures
    • Increasing all handwashing with soap & water for 20 seconds
    • Reducing student involvement in food prep and serving
    • Washing all produce using soap and water
    • Continue to follow all public health recommendations for food service.  Our galley crew all have their food handlers card.
  • Use paper towels to dry hands, dishes and other surfaces as needed
  • Increase sanitizing of below deck surfaces to 3x per day 
  • Follow recommendations from public health officials to make new sanitizing solution every 1 hour and/or when it becomes cloudy

If during a program, an instructor or student becomes concerned about possible exposure from another student or person,  they are asked to tell the on board Program Coordinator who will then contact the NWMC Program Director to determine a plan of action. 

Best practices reminders

  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds or with a hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, or cough and sneeze into your upper sleeve. Dispose of tissues in no-touch trash receptacles. 
  • Wash your hands or use a hand sanitizer after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.

There are currently no directives from Health officials to cancel programs, so at this point, we are proceeding with programs as scheduled but with increased precautions as listed above. Due to an increased interest in our cancellation policies we have linked it for you here.

Given this unprecedented situation, we have increased flexibility for parents/students wishing to postpone their program until a future date. 

Thank you in advance for working with us. If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out.  For updated information from the NWMC regarding changes to programs and operations due to the coronavirus, please continue to check this page.

Robin Mills
Program Director
Northwest Maritime Center
robin@nwmaritime.org


Letter from Port Townsend School District | March 6, 2020

Click here to view the letter.


Note from our Executive Director | March 3, 2020

Dear NWMC community,

If you are like me, for the last couple of months you had been treating the Coronavirus like any other of the pandemics of recent history. Swine flu and bird flu sounded scary but never hit close enough to home to be more than a passing worry. With rising numbers of cases worldwide and Washington State seemingly being the domestic epicenter of the virus, I think it’s safe to say that Coronavirus should be considered as more severe than the predecessors that have occurred in our lifetime. As such, I wanted to reach out and let you know that as an organization we are taking the emerging threat seriously, and planning is underway for how we will both “do our part” for stopping its spread as well as navigating the impacts to our mission and programs. Given that we’re all learning into this together we anticipate that how we operate will be changing as this progresses, but here’s how we are approaching this today:

Campus precautions: In addition to re-emphasized personal hygiene (washing hands, staying home while sick, covering coughs, etc) we are also instituting increased cleaning procedures to sanitize high use surfaces frequently. We are also requiring our tenants to do the same.

  • Increased cleaning of contact surfaces including doors, handrails, tables and chairs
  • Programs staff is wiping down classrooms daily
  • Enhanced Facility cleaning policy has been provided to all staff and tenants

Canceling events, others on standby: We have canceled Salish Sea Expeditions’ annual fundraiser scheduled for this coming Friday in Seattle. It raises over $100k annually but we decided that the best and most responsible path is to not put our donor community at risk. We’re a values-based organization and this is the responsible thing to do. Other events and programs are being evaluated on an ongoing basis.

Given that this may take a year or more to return to normal we are looking forward and thinking through what needs to be addressed for our students, the schools we work with, event rentals, retail customers, rowers, tenants, and everyone else that we serve.

Changes to policy: We’re also taking action to better protect our staff and volunteers. You’ll get fewer handshakes and hugs from us, we’ll be traveling less and skyping in more, and we’re updating our policies about sick leave and working at home to allow those who are infected, quarantined, or high risk to work remotely for extended periods of time.

All that is a long way of saying that we’re on top of this as much as anyone can be, for the sake of our students, our staff and volunteers, and our community. As I said before, things will likely change as we all learn more about how to navigate these new Coronavirus infested waters so please check our website: nwmaritime.org/news periodically to stay up to date.

Be well,

Jake