2018 Annual Awards

It was appropriate that Oscars were the Sunday before our conference this year in San Pedro, CA. We shook things up a bit this year and, instead of saving all of the awards for the last night at the Gala, we sprinkled them throughout the conference.  Here are the Awards and past winners are here:

TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® Gulf Coast 2018 Port Awards

Best New Port – Tall Ships® Pensacola

Port of the Year – Tall Ships® Galveston
Awarded to a city which has demonstrated significant support of Tall Ships America or a member organization of Tall Ships America and who has furthered public recognition of sail training

Port of the Year_Tall Ships Galveston
Tall Ships(R) Galveston

2018 Sail Training Awards

Sail Training Program of the Year – 1877 Tall Ship Elissa
Awarded to a current Tall Ships America member program that significanly contributes to the development of seamanship, navigation skills, teamwork, and leadership skills.  The program must be offered aboard a USCG (or national equivalent) inspected vessel, must be offered by certified/qualified personnel, must have clear training goals and a curriculum which is compatible to the Tall Ships America sail training logbook and must offer students the opportunity to demonstrate knowledge at sea by participating as active trainees in the running of the vessel

Sail Training Program_Elissa lrl
1877 Tall Ship Elissa

Young Sail Trainer of the Year – Erin Greig, Chief Mate aboard Picton Castle
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.

Erin Greig
Erin Greig

Volunteer of the Year – Shannon McKenzie
Awarded to an individual member of Tall Ships America who has significantly advanced our overall mission

Shannon McKenzie

Leadership Award – Alan Olson
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.

Leadership Award_Alan Olsen
Mike Rauworth, Alan Olson, Kris Von Wald

Lifetime Achievement – Bert Rogers
Awarded to an individual who has dedicated his/her life’s work to getting people to sea under sail and who has worked to preserve the traditions and skills of sail training.

Lifetime Achievement_Bert Rogers
Mike Rauworth, Dona Giglio and family, Kris Von Wald


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


Patti Lock, Tall Ship® Festival Consultant
Rachael Miller, Founder, Rozalia Project
Jill Savery, Sustainability Advisor
Kimberly Ulmer, Director of Sustainability, Sail Martha’s Vineyard

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 through 11th Hour Racing created a plastic-free event, which included water stations, sustainable food sourcing and biodegradable service ware. Learn about sustainability initiatives from Martha’s Vineyard Sail, Waste Management Phoenix Open and other big events.   Take their lessons learned and apply them to your own event. Other take aways include greening up your event without compromising revenue opportunities and perhaps create new ones.

Continue reading

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 manager@tallshipsamerica.org 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
Brian Lucey, Company X Marketing
Lauren Magura, Company X Marketing

The Value of Experiential Marketing_Harmony Marketing

CXM Experiential Panel

Exp Marketing Presentation_Introduction

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.


Sponsor banner for blog2



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!