Bainbridge-based educational nonprofit Salish Sea Expeditions and Northwest Maritime Center recently announced their intention to merge into a single organization, effective July 1.
“At the heart of this was a desire to reduce overhead and improve program quality and sustainability,” said SSE board president Trina Wellman. “We were in between executive directors — a natural time to reconsider how to best deliver our programs.”
For 22 years, SSE has provided inquiry-based science/sailing programs to roughly 700 students a year onboard the 61-foot sailing vessel, S/V Carlyn.
“We approached the Maritime Center because of their complimentary educational goals and proven ability to innovate and execute,” Wellman explained.
The Northwest Maritime Center opened its 27,000-square-foot Port Townsend campus in 2009 and is known for taking on large projects; both in education and in the maritime field in general. At 43 years old, its longest running event Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival, and in recent years NWMC has gained notoriety in the maritime world for the creation of the Race to Alaska, and the offshoot SEVENTY48 human-powered race between Tacoma and Port Townsend.
“There are a lot of reasons to be beyond excited about this merger,” said Jake Beattie, NWMC executive director. “Salish Sea Expeditions provides exceptional science education programs, and I’m excited by the synergy, and how this can help us all get more kids out there and engaged in the science of their home waters. More than ever, the ocean — and specifically the Salish Sea — is the key. Creating more connections to it is critical, and now we are part of the solution.”