Call of the Sea is an educational nonprofit with the mission to inspire people of all ages and backgrounds to connect with the sea and its tributaries through educational programs aboard traditional sailing vessels that focus on marine sciences, nautical heritage, the ocean environment and careers in the maritime profession. Our youth-oriented sail training programs are designed to build self confidence, self-awareness, discipline, and the teamwork and leadership skills inherent in being part of a ship’s crew. Our vision is to empower generations of students to become environmental stewards and transform their world through sailing.

COTS was founded in 1985 by Alan Olson, Ken Neal, and a group of local sailors to provide Bay Area youth an opportunity to sail traditionally rigged vessels and to learn about the marine environment as well as maritime history — while inspiring them to be stewards of the sea and earth.

Since then, COTS has merged with other committed groups of sailors and grown dramatically:

  • In 2007, COTS merged with another Bay Area sailing group and acquired the schooner Seaward. Subsequently over the past ten years, Seaward has served over 50,000 students, and now sails with an average of 5,000+ students a year.

  • January 2015, COTS merged with Educational Tall Ship Inc. (ETS) an organization that was constructing the 132’ wooden, hybrid propulsion system tall ship Matthew Turner in Sausalito. This ship will also serve as a floating classroom for students, extending our capacity to serve the Northern California community.

  • COTS also, that year, merged with the Golden Gate Tall Ship Society which was founded in 1985. This non-profit organization was dedicated to raising on-board scholarship funds for students and bringing awareness of tall ships to the Bay Are

These mergers, especially with ETS, are part of the long-range plan to grow and extend COTS capacity with a more efficient business model to provide greater long term sustainability. Thus far, we have raised the $6.2 million needed to launch and certify for passenger use, the Brigantine Matthew Turner in the summer of 2019.