Focus Session: Workforce Development: encouraging and training the next generation of mariners

Workforce Development: Encouraging and training the next generation of mariners

Facilitator: Shannon McKenzie

From reaching out to students to let them know of maritime careers, to training aspiring mariners, and hiring them once they are prepared, we all need to take a role in mentoring new crew and those trained for the maritime trades. This session will introduce ideas to generate interest in students and facilitate their advancement into maritime careers.


Don’t forget to register for the conference! Early Bird rates increase after December 5th. Register today and save $100!

Are you a crew member? We have a grant for you!





Focus Session: Creating a Green Event

Creating a Green Event

Facilitator: Patti Lock

Big events have a reputation for wasting all kinds of food, energy, and materials. The truth is, it doesn’t have to be this way. Recently, the Volvo Ocean Race created a plastic-free event, which included water stations, sustainable food sourcing and biodegradable service ware. Learn from the environmentally-friendly initiatives of America’s Cup and other sailing events and how you can apply those same ideas to your own event. We’ll also discuss how to green up your event without compromising revenue opportunities.

Don’t forget to register for the conference! Early Bird rates increase after December 5th. Register today and save $100!

Are you a crew member? We have a grant for you!



Focus Session: Revisiting Human Resource Management for Marine Operators

Revisiting Human Resource Management for Marine Operators

Lead Presenter:
Captain Jonathan Kabak, Chair, Tall Ships America’s Ship Operations and Safety Committee

Human Resource Management for any shoreside organization can be challenging at the least, but these challenges are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg for companies that operate vessels and employ merchant mariners and others in maritime work.  How do you catagorize a single employee who may spend part of a year as office staff, a shipyard worker and a ship’s officer?  If a deckhand is off hiking with students are they in service to the ship?  If a crew member breaks a contract early, do you have to give them a sea time letter?  Can we use our organization’s health insurance to meet our Maintenance and Cure obligations?

This session will explore the issues and challenges facing Marine Operators, especially aboard vessels that carry passengers and students.

*If you have specific questions that you would like addressed in this session, please submit them to and put HR Session in the subject line.

Don’t forget to register for the conference! Early Bird rates increase after December 5th. Register today and save $100!

Are you a crew member? We have a grant for you!


Focus Session: The Value of Experiential Marketing

The Value of Experiential Marketing – Panel Discussion

Victoria Syme, Manager of Marketing and Partnerships at Harmony Marketing

Are you finding it difficult to get partners onboard for large cash sponsorships? Are you not hearing back from your sponsor pitches? You might be missing out on great experiential marketing (XM) opportunities for your festival or event.

Sponsorship is constantly changing.  Gone are the days of gold, silver and bronze sponsor packages. Companies are less and less interested in large sponsorships and logo benefits and instead they want to interact directly with your audience onsite.  Your festival or event has tremendous value for companies who want to sample, hand out freebies and bring fun branded activities or games.

At this workshop session, you will learn more about what experiential marketing is and how it can help add value to your event through additional programming as well as adding to your bottom line. Examples will be shown of various types of XM activations to help spark some ideas for your own events and help enhance the experience for your visitor.

Speaker Bios

Victoria Syme lr
Victoria Syme

Victoria Syme is a marketing, sponsorship and media communications specialist with experience in event management, social media, production and public relations.  Victoria graduated with an HBA in Communications from McMaster University and has a post-graduate diploma in Public Relations and Corporate Communications from Centennial College.

Victoria started her career in PR at a large agency in Toronto and worked on large clients such as CBC, EXPRESS clothing and Subway Canada. In 2013, Victoria joined Harmony Marketing, a boutique marketing & sponsorship agency in Toronto where she is the marketing and partnerships lead on the annual  Redpath Waterfront Festival, Sugar Shack TO and a number of other events. In her spare time, Victoria loves to travel and has visited all 7 continents and over 40 countries.




We still want to hear from you!

We love to give out awards! It is just so nice to be able to acknowledge and reward people who are doing good things. Our small but mighty community of sail trainers, educators, and crew are amazing people doing incredible work every day. Most of that work, only a few people have the privilege to see or, better yet, experience themselves.

Help Tall Ships America find those people that inspire others to continue sailing, to learn more, to be better people. Who inspired you this year?

Submit your nomination today. You can even nominate your own program or ship! Do it. Deadline for nominations is December 14th

Have you registered for the conference? Hurry, early registration ends on December 5th!

Are you a crew member? We have a grant for you!

Head to the warmth

Remember this?


We enthusiastically embraced all that Erie had to offer in February, snow storms and all. Our conference attendees were not deterred! We frolicked tough in the snow. We ended up with a record high attendance and every agreed it was one of our best conferences.

Now, imagine this scene outside your window –



Nice right? If we can have a great conference in the middle of a white out in Erie, think of the possibilities in San Pedro, CA!

Have you registered yet? Early bird registration ends on December 5th, then prices increase by $100.

This year the conference will take place at the Doubletree Hilton Hotel, Via Cabrillo Marina, San Pedro, California.  The three-day conference will include the Safety Under Sail Forum, Administrators Forum, Port Forum and new this year a summit on ocean literacy and marine programming in collaboration with the National Marine Educators Association. We also have two days of workshops before the conference even begins. Whew!

Raising our Sails, Raising a Workforce is the theme for this year.

Holding our conference within the Port of Los Angeles emphasizes this year’s theme –how individual organizations and the sail training community at large can support the greater maritime industry’s workforce development needs, while continuing to offer meaningful and life changing experiences under sail.

Are you a crew member? We have a grant for you!

Has someone inspired you this year? Nominate them for a sail training award!

Send in your award nominations! Deadline is fast approaching.


Every year, we dress up in our finest Carharts, wipe the pine tar off our hands, and raise our glasses to our community of sail training professionals.

Help us recognize those out there making a difference. You see them, you admire them, now help them be honored.

Nominations for our annual sail training awards are now open. Awards are presented in the following categories

Lifetime Achievement
Sail Trainer of the Year
Sail Training Program of the Year
Sea Education Program of the Year
Volunteer of the Year

We have two new awards that were presented for the first time last year:

Young Sail Trainer of the Year Awarded to a sail trainer under the age of thirty to encourage and recognize high-performing individuals who deliver the sail training program for young people at sea.

Leadership Award Awarded to a member of Tall Ships America who has made a significant contribution to sail training through the demonstration of leadership at executive or senior levels, and whose impact has been felt by the sail training community at large, beyond that of their own organization.

Criteria and guidelines are on our website. Did a program knock your socks off? Were you blown away by someone in the tall ship community? Nominate them! Don’t be shy, be bold and make a sailor’s day. The deadline for nominations is Friday, December 14th.

Remember, it doesn’t count as a nomination if you comment on the blog post. Respect the process.

Have you registered for the conference? Do it!