Navigating Uncharted Waters: Planning for Success in Challenging Times

Prepare to be impressed. You expect to be challenged and you expect to learn. This year’s annual conference is no exception. We’re combining virtual event technology with the expertise of our community to bring you a stellar virtual event. This means you can focus on what matters most: reconnecting with and learning from each other and the experts.

Prepare to be engaged. With just a click, you can share contact information with other attendees and exhibitors, start chat and video calls, or set up one on one meetings with other attendees. And, our social committee has come up with some after hours events to connect you with your fellow sailors and have a bit of fun, all from the comfort of your home.

When: For four consecutive Thursday afternoons in February 2021, the sail training and tall ships community of ships’ masters, crew members, program administrators, educators, environmentalists, port representatives, festival managers and more will gather for a very untraditional conference on traditional sail.  Sessions cover topics of vessel operations, regulatory issues, coast guard licensing, administration and management, educational programming, safety at sea, media relations, marketing, funding, and port event organization. Check out the agenda below, and click here to Register Now! Information about how to get the most of your experience is available as soon as you register.

Register Now!



To see information about Tall Ships for the 21st Century, the 47th Annual Conference in St. Pete Beach, Florida, February 17 – 20, 2020, please click here.
To see information about Raising our Sails, Raising a Workforce, the 46th Annual Conference in San Pedro, California, February 25-27, 2019, please click here.

Our Conference App was Developed in Partnership with Eventee

An emerging resource for Tall Ships America members, these professional development opportunities are now available free to all though registration is required. Join us to keep informed about the most up to date practices, regulations, and opportunities that effect sail training and the tall ships.


Webinar: The Jones Act, General Maritime Law, and Maintenance & Cure in the time of COVID19: What are Your Obligations?
When: Tuesday, 29 September 2020, 14.00-15.00 EDT
Click here to access the recording.

Though tall ship fleet operations look very different than usual this summer, tall ship owners and operators continue to have potential liability to their employees who become ill in the service of the ship. There may also be obligations to third-party visitors and passengers. Following on from our webinar in May and pandemic developments over the summer, this webinar will help you answer the questions: Are you prepared to respond? And do you understand what your insurance does and does not cover should your ship experience COVID19?

Join Chris Richmond of Allen Insurance and Financial, Tall Ships America’s endorsed insurance agency, for a timely and important discussion with maritime attorney Bob Murphy of Holbrook & Murphy, marine insurance underwriter Brett Chase, and marine claims adjuster Will Marrione from Berkley Offshore. The panel will discuss significant claims already paid by insurers under maintenance & cure, wrongful death law suits filed, changes being made to insurance policy language, and how the tall ships community can best take care of crew and passengers in case of infection.


Webinar: Tips and Tools for Experiential Online Training with T. Grant Lewis PhD and CAPT Chris Cusson
When: August 18, 2020, 1300 EDT
Click here to access the recording.
Click here to download the slides.

Teaching and learning online is now what we do – all of us. And we can all do better to engage learners of all ages with online content and resources that come alive through interesting and hands-on activities. Join T and Chris as they expand on their successful in-person workshop from our Annual Conference in February to provide practical tips and tools for making your online training a success.


Webinar: Education Onboard and Online – Content-based and workforce training examples from Sultana Education Foundation and Bosun School with Picton Castle
When: July 29, 2020, 1300 EDT
Click here to access the recording

Education and sail training are fundamental to the Tall Ships America community. The COVID-19 pandemic created a worldwide migration to online everything, and providing a quality online experience is now a priority for everyone. This includes sail training and education aboard the tall ships. This webinar will discuss the process and the product of online education using examples of the school-age and skills-based programs from Sultana’s Virtual Classroom and Bosun School. Chris Cerino from Sultana Education Foundation and Danielle Noble of Picton Castle will offer their insights and advice from their experience of developing and then transitioning their programs to online platforms. To see more about each of these, visit and


Webinar: Risk and a Return to Sailing
When: Wednesday, 27 May 2020, 13.00-14.00
Click here to access the recording
Click here to download the slides
Click here to download the reference materials

People are desperate for a return to ‘normal’, and finding a way to get the tall ships and sail training under way is at the top of our list. And yet, a return to operations in a COVID-19 world requires considerations about safety in a dynamic, evolving and uncertain situation. Bill Frederick, founder of Lodestone Safety International and specialist in health, safety and security for educational organizations operating abroad will present issues for consideration when making decisions about a return to operations. Bill will be joined by Shannon McKenzie of Mystic Seaport and Jen Haddock of SEA as they discuss specific implications in the tall ships and sail training environment.


Webinar: The Jones Act
When: Monday, 18 May 2020, 11.00-12.00
Click here to access the webinar recording
Click here to download the webinar slides

The 100th anniversary of passage of the Jones Act is in 2020 and it is time for a refresher! This webinar provides an overview of the Act, its significance, and the applicability and requirements for the tall ships fleet. Juliette McCullough, a California attorney specializing in maritime law and a former mate for Sea Education Association, will present and CAPT Jonathan Kabak of Oliver Hazard Perry Rhode Island will facilitate. This webinar is applicable to anyone who has an interest in or is affected by the Jones Act. Submit questions in advance by email to

Bringing together Captains across the fleet, this monthly meeting creates an opportunity to exchange ideas, troubleshoot ship operations, and share resources. The meetings are moderated by Erin Short of Tall Ships America and open to Captains of member and non-member vessels. Participation is free, but registration is required. Click on the link below to be part of the conversation.

Register here: Tall Ships America Captains Meetings on Third Wednesdays of Month at 1300 EST
March 17, April 21, May 19

Author Vanessa Veselka made Tall Ships America a stop on the virtual book tour for her book “Great Offshore Grounds”, longlisted for the National Book Awards. Vanessa incorporated her experience as a deckhand on board US Brig Niagara in 2013 into her book, as the main character spends the latter half of the book aboard a tall ship. Vanessa joined Erin Short with Tall Ships America on October 26, 6:30-7:30p ET and Captain Billy Sabatini from Flagship Niagara League for an entertaining and lively discussion. The event is over, but you can access the recording on our YouTube channel and receive an original author-signed book plate with a suggested donation of $10.

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