This Thursday, Westport welcomes a historic ship with a very modern mission. Tall Ship Hawaiian Chieftain will host an open house on Thursday, June 21, from 4pm to 5pm, to educate area residents about job-training opportunities through the new program Sea School Northwest.

“We saw an opportunity with our vessel [tall ship Hawaiian Chieftain] because our mariners were successfully making the switch to cruise ships, tugboats, and other types of vessels where you make a good, family wage,” says Program Director, Capt. Hali Boyd. “We want to give that opportunity to Grays Harbor County residents, as well as folks throughout Washington state. We are offering people the chance to come train, live on the vessel for 8 weeks, and come out of the program ready to work as a deckhand in the commercial industry.”

Westport residents will be among the first to learn about the new program, and $72,000 in available scholarship funds. The vessel is offering open houses throughout Washington state, but with the first two intentionally scheduled for the vessel’s homeport turf in Aberdeen and Westport. The second open house will be in Aberdeen on Friday, June 29th from 4pm to 5pm at Seaport Landing.

What: Sea School Northwest Open House
When: Thursday, July 21 from 4pm to 5pm
Where: Westport Marina, 326 Lamb St. at Float 10 in Westport, WA
More info? Contact [email protected] or call 360-589-8212

What can attendees to the open house expect?

“At an open house you get to tour the training vessel Hawaiian Chieftain, and get a sense for what your day-to-day life in the program would be like,” shares Sea School Officer David Livingstone. “You can ask any questions you have to the crew. I can provide a copy of the application, and in-depth information about the program and your job prospects afterward.”

Livingstone is a recent graduate of the Maine Maritime Academy, and was selected for the role of live-aboard instructor. He travels with the vessel, and is onboard to help cadets work through the Sea School Northwest curriculum, which is a combination of hands-on skills, digital learning, and guided US Coast Guard paperwork.

The Sea School Northwest program is the brainchild of Aberdeen-based nonprofit Grays Harbor Historical Seaport. Launching in July, Sea School Northwest will provide 8-week training sessions year-round, during which trainees (referred to as “cadets”) will live aboard the training ship Hawaiian Chieftain seven days a week. Cadets will receive mentorship and support to go into a maritime job at the conclusion of their training.

The program was in part sparked in response to the national lack of workers for the high-paying trades, at a time when 4-year degrees are resulting in skyrocketing student loan debt without any guarantee of employment. The average salary for maritime workers in Washington state is $70,800.

More information, and application paperwork, can be found at www.seaschoolnw.org.