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October 23, 2009


BOOTHBAY HARBOR, ME: Ocean Classroom Foundation (OCF) today announced a partnership with the University of Maine, Orono, whereby the University will provide academic credit for SEAmester, a full semester at sea for college students aboard a unique educational platform: a 19th century-style schooner. SEAmester is an open enrollment program of the Ocean Classroom Foundation, a leader in experiential education at sea. Seamester tuition is comparable to that of a traditional campus semesters.


Together with UMaine, OCF will offer science and humanities curriculum that is fully integrated with the journey and ports of call throughout the Eastern Seaboard, Caribbean Islands, and Central America. In addition to a rigorous 12 credit academic load, students stand watches and assume increasing responsibilities in the sailing of a traditionally rigged schooner, acquiring leadership skills and confidence along the way.


UMaine’s School of Marine Sciences (SMS) is one of the top marine science programs in the country, and one of the fastest growing departments at the university. Marine Science studies on the SEAmester voyage include lab work in oceanography and marine biology, species surveys, environmental impact studies and marine weather observations. Humanities studies will include maritime history, literature, geo-cultural studies, and creative writing. SEAmester will also include leadership training, cultural immersion, and a service project in the Dominican Republic.


“We are excited by the synergy between the SMS and SEAmester curricula. Students within the University of Maine system, and from other colleges around the country, will have an opportunity to expand their knowledge beyond the classroom”, says William Ellis, Associate Dean of UMaine’s School of Marine Science. “Any student who is interested in exploring the natural world, who is excited by physical or mental challenges, who is looking to take their education to the next level, should look seriously at the SEAmester program.”


According to Peter Neill, Executive Director of Ocean Classroom Foundation, the sea demands decisiveness, independence, cooperation, and communication. Says Neill: “At sea, leadership is developed through working side by side with a knowledgeable captain and crew, learning through observation and emulation, and then being accountable for their successful application. Lessons are unforgettable when taught from within in a self-reliant community, in a dynamic natural environment.”


SEAmester was first offered by Ocean Classroom in 1997, originally accredited by Long Island University and later by the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. As an alternative to the traditional college academic semester abroad it is next available to qualified college students in spring 2010. SEAmester may be of particular interest to students majoring in any aspect of Marine Science, Environmental or Ecological studies, Oceanography, Geocultural studies, History, or Literature.


The Ocean Classroom Foundation is a non-profit educational organization with a mission to build the next generation of ocean stewards through education under sail. College credit and non-traditional programs vary from days, to weeks, to semester long voyages for high school and college students; custom programs for middle and high schools, youth and community organizations; and continuing education for humanities and science teachers. Programs are offered aboard three USCG certified schooners: Harvey Gamage, Westward, and Spirit of Massachusetts; sailing along the Atlantic seaboard from the Canadian Maritimes to the Caribbean.


Ocean Classroom Foundation is a 501(c)3, non-profit organization whose programs are offered without regard to race, gender, religion, or national origin. For more information, visit

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