2017 Conference on Sail Training and Tall Ships: Boston, MA


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TALL SHIPS AMERICA is pleased to announce that the 44th Annual Conference on Sail Training and Tall Ships will take place in Boston, Massachusetts on February 9 & 10, 2017.  The conference will be preceded by the Safety Under Sail Forum, the Educators and Administrators Forum and the Host Ports Seminar on February 8.

The theme for the conference is The Way of a Ship: Linking our History, Heritage and Future.  The Conference will be organized around six main topic areas:

  • Crew Training, Development, Retention
  • Ship’s Operations & Safety, Navigation, Marine Weather
  • Educational Programming, Maritime History and Marine Science, Training for Careers at Sea
  • Tall Ships events and Host Port Organizers
  • Administration, Organizational Sustainability, Marketing, Fund Development
  • Historic ship preservation and utilization

The conference will be held in the Seaport Hotel, located in the Seaport District of downtown Boston.

Tall Ships America’s Annual Conference on Sail Training and Tall Ships gathers hundreds of ships’ masters, crewmembers, program administrators, educators, environmentalists, port representatives, festival managers and more for an information-packed three day conference.  Topics include vessel operations, regulatory issues, management, educational programming, and safety at sea, as well as media relations, marketing, funding, communications, and port event organization. The Tall Ships America Annual Conference on Sail Training and Tall Ships is both fun and informative and is known for its high “take away value”, networking opportunities and camaraderie.

The Safety Under Sail Forum expands the dialogue among professional mariners by presenting case studies of actual incidents at sea, discussing emerging technologies, and sharing “best practices” so as to constantly insure a high level of safety and professionalism in the sail training industry. Professionals engaged in sail training, sea education, vessel operations, and tall ship events participate in this annual symposium. The Educators and Administrators Forum is designed to inform and inspire excellence in the development and delivery of educational experiences under sail as well as address organizational sustainability. Going beyond just “how-to” educate, the forum covers a wide variety of topics including the latest in teaching techniques and resources, establishing successful partnerships with schools, communities and others, marketing, fundraising, development and more.

The Educators and Administrators Forum is for educators AND those responsible for the marketing, development, sustainability and community outreach of educational programs under sail!

Global Applause – Part Three: The Gala

Awards Dinner Photo Credit Sail Training International
Awards Dinner
Photo Credit Sail Training International

We have traditionally ended our conferences with our annual Awards Night Gala Dinner or, unofficially, Prom Night. It marks the end of a hectic week and allows the attendees to dress up in their best attire and get down on the dance floor. It is always a good time. This year, we had the gorgeous ballroom of the Frontenac Hotel as a backdrop to two special award presentations. Continue reading

Global Applause – Part 2

Youth Council and Nancy Richardson Photo Credit Sail Training International
Youth Council and Nancy Richardson
Photo Credit Sail Training International

This year we continued our successful crew grant program which, combined with Sail Training International’s Youth Council and their own bursary fund, meant that there was a strong contingent of young minds running around and contributing to our sessions. For the more experienced crew members, it meant that they were able to attend at a nominal cost, furthering their professional development. For our U.S. attendees, grants were generously funded by USMMA Foundation, United States Maritime Resource Center and the Liz Strojny Memorial Fund. Continue reading

Global Applause- Part 1

Frontenac exterior cannons_Photo by MAX

And so they came from all over the world to icy, beautiful, historic, Quebec City. We are currently holed up at Tall Ships America HQ, weathering the latest winter storm and catching up on all things sail training. It is hard to believe, that after two years of planning and anticipation, our annual conference is over. It was, in a word, awesome. Sailors, sail trainers and tall ship enthusiasts from all parts of the globe (over 450 delegates! Our largest conference ever!)  converged at the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac to discuss what we love best – sailing, tall ships and sharing our passion for both of those things. The last time we hosted a joint conference with our European counterparts, Sail Training International, was in 2008. For those of us who attended in Halifax, we knew what to expect and we weren’t disappointed. It is utterly fascinating to speak to other people about sail training. While fundamentally we are all about the ships and getting people on board those ships, the cultural differences in the approaches and the new ideas we heard are what make these joint conferences so valuable. If you missed it, presentations will be up on the blog next week (it will be announced). Some presentations were filmed. Continue reading

Attendee Registration List as of 22 January

Photo courtesy of seattlestravels


Here it is, folks. Here is the list of who will be in Quebec City (a final list will be provided to attendees at the conference). You can still register for the conference- It’s not too late!

Registration List – 22 January

Have you seen the agenda? We have awesome sessions. And Quebec City promises to be an amazing host city. The New York Times was even kind enough to write up a whole article about what to do if you go. How helpful! 36 Hours in Quebec City

Focus Session: Back to Basics – Transforming Customer Complaints into Opportunities

 Back to Basics – Transforming Customer Complaints into Opportunities

Bryan Bissell, Dale Carnegie Training

Turn a complaint into an opportunity to create a loyal customer. Learn how cross and up selling opportunities can result from a well-handled complain. We’ll examine root causes of your common complaints and help you find ways to reduce or eliminate them. By effectively resolving complains you can reduce stress, build relationships and improve customer loyalty and retention.


Dale Carnegie Training sharpens skills and improves performance of people and organizations through leadership, sales, communication and employee engagement programs. Bryan Bissell holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Johannesburg, South Africa. Now a Vermont resident, Bryan sells and delivers Dale Carnegie programs in both the United States and South Africa.




Focus Session: Accident Analysis-Using Case Studies for Crew Training

Accident Analysis-Using Case Studies for Crew Training

Captain Jonathan Kabak, Director, Marine Operations for USMMA Foundation
Captain Pedro Poenca Mendes, Director of Aporvela, Portuguese Sail Training Association
Commander Michael Simbulan, United States Coast Guard

Accident investigations are undertaken not only to determine fault, but also cause, in the name of improving maritime safety. The findings included in these reports are intended to keep mariners from making the same mistakes twice, however they are often relegated to gathering dust on a bookshelf. They are an underutilized resource outside of Bridge Resource Management classes and other STCW training. This will be a workshop on maximizing the value of maritime casualty reports for use in crew training. We will discuss the process of incident investigation and how to facilitate crew discussions to highlight relevance to their own experiences on-board. Continue reading