Education Programs

Ms. Hiltons ClassWow! What an amazing adventure. Thank you so much for the program you prepared for my class, it’s a field trip we will always remember.”

– Mary Ann Hilton, Lady Washington Nov. 20, 2012

Ready to register now? Use our convenient online registration form.

Each year we engage more than 9,000 students in our “Voyages of Discovery” programs on Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain. Our hands-on experiential programs are designed to meet state standards for grades 4, 5, and 6, but the programs can be tailored to the needs and interests of any age group in grades K-12. Let us know if you have participants with special needs so we can prepare.

Sailing Programs

Our three-hour Voyages of Discovery educational sails offer an experience that cannot be simulated in any classroom. After a brief safety class, students work cooperatively to set and trim the sails that carry their beautiful tall ship through the water. After engines are shut off, students break into watch groups that rotate through three learning stations, each one focused on a different aspect of maritime history.


Life of a Sailor: This station takes place on the bow with one of our experienced deckhand/educators. The station focuses on the tasks and life of a common sailor in the 1800s. Students learn about the food, conditions, and skills that carried men across the sea for hundreds of years.

Life of an Officer: On the aft deck with the captain and mate, the watch group presides over the whole ship and they learn an officer’s  responsibilities. Students study the science of finding speed, depth, direction, and keeping time in an age when many sailors couldn’t read or write. The station makes clear the importance of education. Conditions permitting, the students are encouraged to take the helm to get a sense of what it’s like to steer a tall ship under sail.

Early Trade: Students descend below decks into the main hold and great cabin to learn about the cargo and trade routes of our ancestors and still used today by container ships and bulk carriers. Our deckhand/educators bring this history to life with artifacts and maps.

Bonus fun! No time aboard a ship is complete without a round of sea shanties. Our crew leads the class in one or two traditional work songs that help sailors pull together in rhythm, share stories, and pass the time.

For pricing, see below. Our Title I scholarship program is now closed.

Dockside Programs

Our one-hour dockside Voyages of Discovery education programs provide students guided, interactive exploration of one of our ships to discover fundamentals of the age of sail. After dividing into watches, students explore different parts of the vessel as they move through three learning stations. Our friendly and knowledgeable deckhand/educators engage students at “Life of a Sailor” on the bow, “Life of an Officer” on the aft deck, and “Early Trade” in the hold below deck.

Dockside and Sailing Program Pricing

  • Sailing: $35 per person, 15-person minimum
  • Dockside: $8 per person, 15-person minimum

Ready to register? Fill out our online Voyages of Discovery registration form today or download the PDF version of the form and fax it to 360-533-9384. Reservations are available on a first-come, first served basis. For more details, call 800-200-5239, or email

This is my twenty-fourth year of teaching middle school students, and I can’t begin to tell you how rewarding it was to be able to ‘bring to life’ some of the experiences my students have been reading about.

— Lisa LaBolle, Sunny Brae Middle School, Arcata, Calif.

Read Lisa’s thank-you letter and school newspaper article.

Information for Teachers

GHHS-IMG_2886Hyde ImagesHands-on education is at the heart of our mission. We show people the relevance of history in modern life. We teach teamwork. And we demonstrate the powerful principles of ship first, shipmates second, and self third.

Use the links below to find the education standards for your state to help determine how Voyages of Discovery shipboard education program complements your curriculum while engaging your students in a hands-on, interactive learning experience.

Washington essential academic learning requirements (.pdf)

Oregon Content Standards (.pdf)

California Content Standards (.pdf)

Learn more about the importance of outdoor, hands on learning from this great article by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Download our Pre-visit Packet

We want you and your students’ time on board our vessels to be as fun and informative as possible. We recommend the pre-visit activities we’ve designed for you in the Voyages of Discovery Pre-Visit Activity Pack (PDF). The packet contains information about the ships and activities for use prior to and/or after your on-board education program. The packet is also designed to help integrate time aboard our tall ships into your academic calendar. The Pack includes:

  • Introductory letter
  • Program overview
  • Field Trip instructions
  • Activities: a story in which the ending is left off in order for the students to finish the journey, map out the adventure, calculate mileage, and locate places visited.
  • Drawings of the ships with the sails labeled
  • A vocabulary list
  • Sea shanties (Sailor’s work songs)
  • Manifest form (bring with you to sailing program)
  • Risk management information
  • Take-home information for parents/guardians
  • Teacher and student evaluation forms
  • Flyer for Voyages of Discovery t-shirts
  • Flyer for student’s family and friends about sailing on the ships

Here’s a program checklist (PDF) to help teachers prepare.