Making Educators Out of Sailors

Making Educators Out of Sailors 
Post Conference Overview

Original Summary
ASTA member vessels deliver all sorts of programs. From dockside to three-hour to multi-week and longer. The one common thread is education under sail. In each program there is a need for competent, passionate educators to deliver the program, be it marine science, ship operations, teambuilding, etc. Some programs hire education professionals and teach them to sail, others hire mariners and teach them to teach, and a third group grow both from within, starting primarily with people who have little experience in either. It is relatively easy to train a skilled teacher to sail, to stand a watch, to serve in a role in the station bill. While the job is not simple, the track is fairly prescribed. There are clear metrics for skills and competencies for maritime operations tasks. This is far less so with education. This session focuses on the challenge in giving skilled mariners the tools they need to teach effectively in a range of program types. Come join a talented panel of experienced educator/sailors for an interactive discussion on hiring, training, and encouraging excellent educator/sailors.


Mark Waddington (aka “Snark”), CIMI Tall Ship Expeditions, Tole Mour

Mark Waddington


Mark first came to work for the Guided Discoveries family in 1994 as a sailing instructor at Catalina Sea Camp during his summers off from college. Once out of college he began working at CIMI at Toyon Bay. After satisfying some wanderlust, he came back to assist in the CTSE program aboard SSV Tole Mour in 2001. He has served as a Dive Master, deckhand/instructor, 2nd Mate, 1st Mate and Captain aboard the Tole Mour and has worked aboard a number of other vessels around the country. He became Director of CIMI Tall Ship Expeditions (CTSE) in 2005 and hasn’t looked back.  He also serves as Captain.



Rachel Miller, US Sailing  

Rachel Miller


Currently, a US Sailing Instructor and Coach Trainer and member of US Sailing’s National Faculty and Training Committee and founder/director of Rozalia Project for a Clean Ocean whose mission is to find and remove marine debris through action, technology, outreach and research. Co-captain of Rozalia Project’s trash-hunting mothership, American Promise (a Ted Hood 60’ sailing research vessel). Trainer for VideoRay (training remotely operated vehicle (ROV) pilots) and owner of Stormboarding, a snowkiting and kitesurfing school in Burlington, VT.


  Rick Miller, Maine Maritime Academy MMA, Bowdoin


Rick Miller


Captain Richard F. Miller is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Marine Transportation at Maine Maritime Academy in Castine, Maine.  He holds a Master of Science in Education from Capella University.  He is an instructor of Marine Transportation including Meteorology, Small Craft Construction, Terrestrial Navigation, Celestial Navigation, Seamanship and USCG License Exam Preparation.  He also serves as Captain and Training Officer for MMA’s training vessel, schooner Bowdoin.  Captain Miller has also sailed with Sea Education Association’s (SEA) SSV Robert C. Seamans and SSV Corwith Cramer, Ocean Classroom Foundation’s (OCF) schooners Spirit of Massachusetts, Harvey Gamage and Westward, World Ocean School’s schooner Roseway and the Texas Seaport Museum’s Barque Elissa.

Moderator Jonathan Boulware started the session with some background about the session and the discussion. He identified some of the challenges in ensuring that all staff in our programs are excellent educators. This can be particularly difficult in hiring for a billet where significant marine operational skills and/or credentials are required. Three panelists of different backgrounds but with common goals each made brief presentations on their backgrounds, programs in which they work, and thoughts on challenges and solutions to maintaining high-quality programs. A lively discussion ensued with energetic and passionate contributions from panel and participants. Members shared their successes and strategies for training and retention of good staff. The session ended with many hands still in the air and much more to talk about, so we may well pick this one up again next year.


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