At Call of the Sea, we know students have powerful experiences under sail. Part of this comes from our “no electronics” policy. This summer, students that ventured on our 3- or 5-day overnight voyages aboard schooner Seaward revealed the power of powering down their devices. Technological interfaces often displace human interaction and face-to-face friendships, but not aboard Seaward. In a writing exercise, a student reflected: “I learned how to step out of my comfort zone, and that isn’t something I do often because I am afraid I will embarrass myself or something. I also learned that meeting someone on the Internet stinks compared to meeting new people in person, because I felt like you can connect more with the person.” Another wrote: “[One] thing I found out about myself is that I can have fun without my phone…Everyone says I’m a phone addict, and I think that’s true, but now I don’t think I need my phone to have fun.”
During our programs, cell phones leave the hands of the students and get put away safely for the duration of the trip. We facilitate the opportunity for them to engage fully with their surroundings, including the other people onboard. Students turn off and tune in, and it makes a difference.