School & Group Programs

Experiential learning through place-based education.

We offer a variety of hands-on learning opportunities for school groups. Schools can pick from several options and design a program that works for them. To create and schedule a program, contact Nancy Israel, School Program Manager, at 360.385.3628 x109 or

View Our School Program Options

“The Maritime Staff (and Marine Science Center staff) never fail to amaze me. You folks are terrific. The kids were tying knots on the ride home and swapping stories—lots of enthusiasm. The Woodward staff was unanimously thrilled with the day and blown away with how much they learned. Great job!”
—KATE GARFIELD, Woodward Middle School

“I am so impressed at the transformation that took place on a boat for several students. These are students I have taught for years. In other settings they feel awkward. Here on the Townsend and the Martha, they flourished and came alive and very involved with the boats. This experience combines experiential education and creates authentic connection with the environment.”
—DALE RAWLS, Art Teacher

“Thank you for everything. You changed my view about nature and teamwork in general. I was surprised how hard it is to move a longboat in unison. I’m definitely looking into the summer programs.”
—MICK, student from Catlin Gabel School of Portland

Maritime Discovery Program
Maritime Discovery Program

Classroom lessons coupled with hands-on learning both on and off the water bring classroom subjects to life in the Maritime Discovery Program: science through the study of weather and local wildlife; mathematics through nautical chart use and plotting speed, distance and time; engineering through boat building; social studies through mapping and historical research; language arts through maritime nomenclature and poetry; and art through illustrations of indigenous species and mythological sea creatures and making hand-bound sailor’s books. Students learn seamanship and teamwork as they row and sail in longboats, replicas of the 18th century historic vessels in which Capt. Vancouver explored the Puget Sound. They build a small skiff in our Boatshop that they then launch at the end of the program, and they tour local maritime trades businesses, where they get a glimpse of the maritime industry and the potential for maritime careers should they choose to pursue more in-depth maritime learning.

Our community came together and asked, “Shouldn’t all schools be like that?” The 7th Grade Maritime Discovery Program thus became the inspiration and model for the Maritime Discovery Schools, an initiative to connect all grade levels and subjects to our community’s unique maritime environment and economy. To learn more about the effort to create the nation’s first maritime school district, click here.

Youth Voyaging & Exploring

Overnight Adventures: Join us for 2 to 10 day maritime voyages. Explore local Port Townsend waters, circumnavigate Marrowstone Island, or sign on for a San Juan Islands expedition. Students build cooperative, leadership, and maritime skills on voyages of exploration and discovery. Choose your vessel, or experience both. Voyage aboard a replica wooden rowing and sailing 26-foot longboat that Capt. Vancouver used to survey the Puget Sound in 1792 or sail fast aboard a 26-foot Thunderbird sloop. We provide the Captains and Educators as well as all safety gear and food. Age range: 12 and older for longboats; 10 and older for Thunderbirds.

Day Programs

Day Programs_smSail or row aboard our teaching vessels, or participate in land-based mariner’s skills classes with our experienced educators. Activities aboard the boats include teambuilding and problem solving while learning to sail, row, and navigate. Activities ashore include navigation, compass use, knots, history of PNW maritime exploration, and boat shop and maritime trades tours. Programs of 2-6 hours in length are available. Age range: 5 years and up.

Multi-Day Programs

MultiDay ProgramsSail, row, build-a-boat, and learn maritime skills during 2-5 day intensive programs at the Northwest Maritime Center. Sleep on-site in our spacious meeting rooms and participate in maritime activities including evening programs. Group sizes of up to 40 students can be accommodated. Other lodging options are available. Age range: 10 years and older.


Build a Skunk Island Skill or a ‘Nuf under the guidance of an experienced boat builder in our boatshop. Groups of up to five students can work on one boat. Multiple boats can be built at a time. The Skunk Island Skiff is a 12-foot, 140 pound row boat that can be easily handled by a novice rower. The ‘Nuf is a featherweight dory that is paddled like a kayak. It is 9-1/2 feet long and weighs 30 lbs. Either boat can be built in 4-5 days.

Joint Programs

Imagine your students taking the helm of a 100-year-old tall ship, assembling the skeleton of a gray whale, and rowing and sailing aboard a historic longboat. Partnerships with Sound Experience (Schooner Adventuress) and Port Townsend Marine Science Center (PTMSC) provide opportunities to fully engage students with our rich regional resources in a captivating and rigorous learning environment. Click here to learn more, or contact Nancy Israel, School Program Manager, for more information: or 360.385.3628 x109.


Sound Experience sails the historic 101’ Schooner Adventuress to educate, inspire, and empower an inclusive community to make a difference for the future of our marine environment.


PTMSC, located at Fort Worden State Park, offers unique hands-on experiences in the marine sciences. The facility features a Marine Exhibit with local, live animals in aquariums and touch tanks as well as a Natural History Exhibit highlighting scientific investigation and conservation.

Bravo Team

Bravo Team is a longboat seamanship, team building and environmental learning program that lasts the entire school year. Students work together to voyage on PT Bay, maintain the longboat, learn about marine trades and the natural history of the Salish Sea. They culminate the year with an overnight voyage. Students are from the OCEAN program of PT School District. To follow along with their activities during the year, visit the Bravo Team Blog.

Girls Boat Project

Girls Boat Project is a NWMC program run in conjunction with the Port Townsend School District for girls aged 12-18. Students gain skills and have fun in the maritime trades, both on and off the water. They learn woodworking and boatbuilding techniques in the fall and winter, and receive longboat training in the spring. The program culminates with an overnight sailing adventure. The program is led by female role models skilled in boatbuilding, woodworking and sailing from the Northwest Maritime Center staff. Stay up-to-date with Girls Boat Project by following their blog.

For more information contact Chrissy McLean at or 360.385.3628 x113.

Sea Scouts

Sea Scouts is a year-round co-ed Boy Scouts of America program for youth ages 13 to 21. For over 100 years Sea Scouting has promoted better citizenship and improved members’ nautical skills through instruction and practice in water safety, boating skills, outdoor, social, service experiences, and knowledge of our maritime heritage. Sea Scouts can advance through a number of ranks culminating in the Quartermaster rank, which is equivalent to Eagle Scout. Rank advancement leads the youth through learning nautical and leadership skills to putting those skills into practice as they plan and execute cruises and projects.

Contact Skipper Ron Lynn at 559.308.0772, or