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Becoming The Seafarer Collective: From SSNW to TSC

Updated: Nov 16, 2018

We've got a new name, new programs, new ways of looking at maritime education, and no plans of slowing down.

What happens when you realize that developing mariners have needs beyond handing them a book or sitting them down in a classroom to learn their trade? You get to work. You open your ears, you adapt, you think about education in a new way, and you do it all knowing that the journey of supporting your shipmates should never end.

Our program started as a desire to formalize the onboard education that happened on deck and around the dinner table. Lucky sailors would find a mentor that would guide them in their development, and hopefully find their own corner of the industry to live and work in. We started what was then known as "Sea School Northwest" - a GHHS sail training school built to create greater access to commercial maritime jobs. We wanted to open up opportunities for everyone, not just the lucky ones. Our team hit the road talking to folks about life the water, and created an onboard educational experience to start laying the foundation of a new workforce. In the traditional and commercial sector alike, we are missing a generation of mariners, and it is our responsibility to shine a light on this need.

We quickly realized that just as with a ship, you have to think about a multitude of variables. What does access look like? What are the limitations of traditional sail training programs? What are the elements of an individual's development that create success and actual change in their lives? To put it simply, how do we approach maritime education from a holistic approach? We decided to grow, and invest time in resources beyond the walls of classroom.

We became The Seafarer Collective.

sea·far·er (sē′fâr′ər)


1. A sailor or mariner.

2. A person who travels by sea.

col·lec·tive (kəˈlektiv) adj. 1. done by people acting as a group.

We are a group of people, here to serve and train those that work at sea. By taking the form of a Collective vs School, we are able to exist as a new type of maritime resource hub for novice and experienced mariners alike. Our courses have shifted from pure onboard experiences to blended offerings that combine self-paced online coursework and onboard volunteer crew opportunities. We have three branches of educational programming that speak to the varying levels of student sailing experience - The Recreational Marlinspike, The Entry-Level Merchant Mariner, and The Online Able Seaman.

Sailors travel, they move, they sail! Why not bring the education to them, and allow them to continue living their lives while learning? For those new to the industry, why not set them up for success by giving them dynamic training before they ever step onto a deck? There is incredible value in hands on experience and time underway, which is why we coordinate onboard Volunteer Crew Opportunities, but empowering our entry-level students with training at every stage is our goal.

We provide financial aid in the form of Entry-Level Merchant Mariner Program Scholarships and GHHS Crew Development Grants. We collaborate with Bluewater Safety LLC to provide USCG licensing expertise throughout all of our coursework, and professional roadmap sessions to all of our Crew Development Grant recipients. We hold community panels to take the mystery out of the industry, and invite guests onto our training vessels to better understand what life at sea will be like. We adapt to a wide array of learning styles, and have stepped away from a one size fits all method. Our teaching embraces a dynamic approach - using videos, textbooks, testimonials, articles, discussion forums, and professional development exercises at every stage to unpack the concepts that we present.

Growth and change will continue, and we are here to hold space for the developing needs of our students. Thank you for joining us on this journey.

TSC Director

- Hali Boyd

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