Welcome to Spirit of the Sea!

Our goal is to provide a meaningful marine experience to every middle- and high-school-aged youth in the San Francisco Bay area, but we especially seek to provide services at no cost to those who are at risk, disadvantaged, suffering illness, or who would uniquely benefit from or otherwise not have an opportunity to sail.

Our mission is to bring the spirit of the sea to youth with hands-on experiences aboard a sailing vessel in order to educate and inspire new awareness, perspectives, and initiative regarding the oceans, the environment, their communities, and themselves.

Spirit of the Sea awarded 501 status!

Spirit of the Sea is pleased to announce that the IRS has determined that we are a tax-exempt Public Charity in accordance with section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, retroactive to our incorporation on October 4, 2011. Therefore, past and future donations to Spirit of the Sea are tax deductible. We wish to thank our many supporters and donors and we look forward to continuing our work with the benefit of tax-exempt status.

Get in touch

Email: CaptainRichard@spiritofthesea.org
Tel: 510-646-7735
8168 Crown Bay Marina Ste 505-266
St. Thomas, VI 00802

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Watch our video!

Captain Richard Gillette Receives Jefferson Award

We are very excited to announce that our founder and Executive Director Captain Richard Gillette has been selected as a winner of the Jefferson Award for his work with children in the SF Bay area! Read more at CBS San Francisco and jeffersonawards.org

The Challenge:

Increasing Awareness and Participation in Ocean/Bay Stewardship

Humans are totally dependent upon a healthy, productive ocean: 86% of the water we drink comes from the ocean. One billion people depend on fish for their protein. The ocean produces more oxygen than the rainforests, and it absorbs 48% of the carbon that humans put into the atmosphere. It covers most of our planet, is the source of most life on Earth, regulates our weather and climate, provides most of our oxygen and feeds much of the human population. And in the U.S. alone, ocean-dependent industries contribute 2.5 times more to the economy than the agriculture industry.

Yet, although the ocean covers more than 70% of Earth's surface, its health is in jeopardy. Threats include overfishing, habitat destruction, pollution, oil spills, climate change, invasive species, and more. But despite these increasing threats, most Americans remain unaware of critical issues affecting and damaging our oceans. We face a pressing need to increase awareness and to inspire action.

The good news is that Americans support protecting the health of the ocean. And Americans believe that their individual actions can have a positive effect on protecting the environment and improving the health of the ocean. They are ready to act but are not sure what to do.

Young people know and care more about ocean and other environmental issues, and are more willing to act, than are adults. Children also influence the opinions of their parents, who tend to view their children as better informed on conservation issues. However, while there is a strong national push to improve student interest and achievement in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), ocean and aquatic sciences are among the most underrepresented disciplines in K-12 educational curricula.

Consequently, the burden of exposing young people to ocean issues depends more heavily on informal education- learning opportunities that happen after school and outside of school.

Spirit of the Sea intends to harness the natural curiosity children have for the world around them and give young people the experience and information and tools they need to become ambassadors for the ocean/bay with their parents, families, friends and communities.

The Solution:

Inspiring Awareness, Attention and Action

Children are the key to reaching and teaching their elders. Children are differently, perhaps better, informed than their parents about the environment. Children also influence the opinions of their parents, who tend to view their children as better informed on conservation issues.

To raise public awareness and inspire action about the ocean/Bay, Spirit of the Sea is committed to reaching as many young people in the Berkeley and San Francisco Bay Area as possible. By using our 64-foot sailing vessel Ocean Watch we will be able to take more children out sailing. The ability of the sea to excite and inspire human thinking and emotion is unique, powerful, universal, and timeless. We seek to invoke that spirit of the sea by taking youth out sailing on San Francisco Bay, one of the great estuaries of the world.

Sailing in the middle of the Bay offers a very different perspective for those who have lived their entire lives on shore. Observing their community from the water, instead of the other way around, may open new personal perspectives for a young person, especially one who is coping with a difficult or troubled life. At the very least, it may offer an opportunity to set those troubles aside for a while and view the world and life with fresh eyes. In addition, to someone unaccustomed to the nautical milieu, a sailing vessel with its different parts and terms, its heeling and constant motion, and its dependence on the wind and waves can be an entirely different experience from any they've encountered before. This can lead to fresh insights, on many levels.

We will be working with the scientific community to design and implement experiences that will teach and inspire our participants. We will do things like- plankton pulls and then view the life in the water through microscopes. Do saline tests where we look at the saline content of different parts of the Bay and during tidal shifts. We will do turbidity testing to show how different organisms and tides affect the clarity of the water. These are all experiences and learning opportunities that are not possible in a classroom and will add to their overall knowledge. We often see many varied species of marine life while sailing. We see porpoises, seals, sea lions, occasional whales, and numerous varieties of birds. This ability to see such varied marine life in their natural environment is the best way for youth to learn about and gain understanding of the interconnectedness of all life and of the ocean/bay with what they do on shore.