THE SEAFARER COLLECTIVE began as most dreams do - Sitting around a table with our community asking big questions, and daring to think even bigger with our answers.
From these meetings, we discovered that we have the power to impact existing challenges in the maritime industry, and guide the professional development of sailors in new and exciting ways. Our initial discoveries revealed the following:
In Washington state, the maritime industry is experiencing a growth of 6.4% annually, but the workforce is "greying" and is struggling to recruit workers with entry-level skills.
Currently, there is a homogeneous male-dominated workforce on the commercial side of the industry, with only 2% of the global industry identifying as female.
49.6% of experienced tall ship sailors are unable to afford the expense of professional licensing that would allow them to be competitive hires in the rest of the industry.
Our solution to these challenges became The Seafarer Collective - a new type of education for aspiring mariners that functions as a springboard into the maritime industry. We wanted our students to walk away from the program with real life experience on the water, a clear understanding of the professional path that they hoped to pursue, and USCG endorsements to make them competitive entry-level hires.
Guided by our nonprofit parent organization, Grays Harbor Historical Seaport, we sought out the support of the Magic Cabinet Foundation and Washington Sea Grant. Through the generosity of both funders, we were able to create the framework for a program that would serve our community for years to come.
In collaboration with Capt. Sarah Herard of Bluewater Safety LLC, we built a curriculum that incorporates weekly USCG licensing guidance, hands-on skill development, lessons in maritime systems, industry readings and video content, and professional development round table discussions.
We are on a mission to change the face of the maritime industry, and invite you to join the journey.