News Archive

Ocean plastic pollution: under the magnifying glass in Chile

Workshops held for science teachers and students in Valdivia by LAMI Youth Crew members

Professors and teachers had the opportunity to be part of the Workshop “Microplásticos: the oceanic trip of garbage”, in the Coastal Laboratory of Aquatic Resources Calfuco just outside of Valdivia, Chile.

The workshops were led by Mark Friedman, science teacher at the LA Maritime Institute, former science teacher at the Animo High School in Los Angeles California and mentor of the Marine Biology Club of the same school and two Animo students This training, which ended on Friday, May 11, was the end of a cycle of activities related to the care of the oceans and their environmental protection.

The PAR Explora of CONICYT Los Ríos, joined this final initiative aimed at teachers in the area of science, with the aim of providing methodological tools to stimulate students in scientific research. In addition to motivating them to care for the environment, especially that of the oceans and the entire ecosystem that it comprises.

All this was possible thanks to a scholarship given by the United States Embassy to the Faculty of Sciences of the Austral University of Chile, who with it managed to invite the Los Angeles residents to teach students and teachers about the consequences of throwing plastic waste at schools and home that end up in the ocean. Coordinating this effort in Chile were Carla Christie and Paula Marin.

The workshops were also guided by the students, members of the Marine Biology Club of Animo High School, Briceida Montes and Melissa Zepeda, who mentioned the great experience he has lived these days and how surprised he is to see the interest of schoolchildren and teachers to participate in the activities. “Many of them were amazed to see that the plastic was a problem in the world, and the teachers showed a lot of interest in us, they were very focused, they were like students and that is not seen much in the teachers”.

Carolina Rodríguez, the environmental education educator in schools from North Patagonia to Southern South, pointed out how interesting it is to be able to apply practical activities with students to guide them to discover the effects of human beings in the oceans, “I think it is very important to teach schoolchildren how to identify the different types of plastics and fight them. In addition to learning the methodologies, it is essential to see how to prevent the entry of this material into the ecosystem. It is important to see the ecology in another way, not only in a way that the human being uses it and how it affects us but also to value it for itself and see that the other organisms that live on the planet have the right to live in a healthy and free environment. of our trash.”

The educational activities began on Monday, May 7 to elementary and middle school students of various educational establishments. in the Valdivia region, teaching on microplastic pollution and their research, with the aim of galvanizing new recycling programs and greater consciousness of the plastic impact on marine organisms and humans thru ingestion of marine shellfish and fish.

The emphasis in these workshops was to complement the learning objectives of subjects such as Natural Sciences, History and Geography, Mathematics, Language and Communication and Visual Arts, which point to the critical and reflective thinking of scientific research. Teachers and students physically examined local beach sand with plastic particles and dissected boluses (stomach contents) of Albatross chicks who died from plastic consumption. (see photos below)

Support for this educational effort also came from the US with a grant from LA Supervisor Janice Hahn and materials supplied for the workshops from Algalita, Ocean Conservancy, 5Gyres, LA Maritime Institute, HHMI Medical Institute Winged Ambassadors and City2Sea. Photos and article by Mark Friedman.


Love that Cioppino. BEST IN THE SOUTH BAY

Hello Fellow Sea Lover,

A reminder that the Celebration of the Sea 2018 will take place at the Port Royal Marina and Yacht club on May 26, 2018, starting at  3 p.m. Click here for the flyer. This event is a fundraiser for the Animo Marine Biology Club.  Many in the Marine Biology Club go on to study marine science and become our future Ocean scientists.  You may view a short video of the Marine Biology club in action by clicking here.  This year we hope to help fund 25 inner-city students for a trip to Montana del Oro Tidepools, Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey Bay Area Research Institute, Elk Horn Slough, Kayaking, Camping and Ed Ricketts Museum.

Not only that, but we will once again be serving seafood Cioppino prepared by one of the best chefs in the South Bay (Robert Bell from Chez Mélange Restaurant), Lobster donated by our own Port Royal lobster divers (Lobsterdon and Urchin Cathy). Also, a program featuring underwater videos and students Briceida and Melissa from the club who will have just returned with Mark Friedman from a Microplastics conference in Chile.

If you plan to attend and haven’t already RSVPed, please RSVP to the event by replying to this e-mail and saying yes so we know how many to expect and have enough food.

This will be our 8th year of doing this and we have raised thousands of dollars for this cause. It is really a grassroots effort and many in the Yacht Club and supporters have donated time and food to compliment Robert’s outstanding Cioppino. We can be proud as a club for what we have done in the past. If you would like to help this year, please let me know. At this point, we could use some help on set up and take down, club bartenders, and could use some food donations (appetizers, French bread, salads, side dishes).

Thanks for your interest and if you have any question, just reply to this e-mail and ask me. I’ll send out an e-mail a few days before the event with the details and a timeline of events for the day

As always, if you would not like to receive these e-mails, simply reply to this e-mail with REMOVE in the title.

Thanks, and looking forward to another fun and worthwhile event again this year.

Barbara Smith

LA Waterfront Town Hall 2018

On March 20, 2018, the Port of Los Angeles hosted a community town hall to update stakeholders with the latest information about current and planned projects in development on the LA Waterfront, with presentations by the Port’s Executive Director Gene Seroka on the San Pedro Public Market and the Port’s Director of Waterfront and Commercial Real Estate Mike Galvin on the Wilmington Waterfront Promenade. The town hall also featured presentations by Councilmember Joe Buscaino, LA Waterfront Alliance (developers of the San Pedro Public Market) AltaSea, Los Angeles Maritime Institute (LAMI), CRAFTED at the Port of Los Angeles, Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, International Trade Education Programs (ITEP), San Pedro Chamber of Commerce, and Battleship IOWA.


Listen to the voices of LAMI featured on Born to Talk!

Thanks to Alice and Noah for joining me on the #BornToTalkRadioShow as we talked about all the exciting programs offered at the Los Angeles Maritime Institute. These Tall Ships provide students and adults the opportunity to learn about sailing as well as classroom science-related activities. Students from all over along with volunteers have hands-on experiences.

I really enjoyed learning about your organization.
– Marsha Wietecha

Click here to watch the video


Saturday Muster Weekly Post

Hi everyone,

This is Captain Patterson here… saying thanks to everyone that has been helping during the holiday season.

We now have the Swift of Ipswich back at the LAMI campus and we will be doing some light maintenance as well as site clean-up. We have been organizing building G and cleaning up the yards, as well as making progress in the Swift Yard Building G. We will be assembling 2 sheds and 3 chemical storage cabinets, as well as reorganizing all chemicals, paints, varnishes to one location. Also, we will be creating a personal protection equipment area to further promote safety in the workplace.

Come join us this week or on Saturday the 3rd to help complete these and other projects at Building G Saturday Muster.

A picnic lunch will be provided, which includes hot dogs and drinks inside Building G.

Looking forward to seeing you.

Captain Patterson

Swift lifted onto truck

Tall ship Swift of Ipswich returns to San Pedro for last phase of $2.8 million repair work

The Swift of Ipswich, built in 1938 and once serving as actor James Cagney’s personal yacht, is being restored and will rejoin the Los Angeles Maritime Institute’s fleet of tall ships used for youth sail training on the San Pedro-Wilmington waterfront. Workers hoist the 70-foot, wooden topsail schooner — a replica of a Revolutionary War privateer — onto a barge early Friday 1/5 morning to be brought back to San Pedro.

Photo By Michael Hare

By DONNA LITTLEJOHN | | Daily Breeze January 8, 2018, at 4:30 pm

When the topsail schooner Swift of Ipswich was taken out of service for repairs in 2006, it was supposed to return to the Los Angeles Maritime Institute’s youth training program within a few years.

Perhaps that timetable was a bit optimistic. By the time it’s finished in about 18 months, accounting for more fundraising and the last phase of repairs, the work will have taken well over than a decade.

Blame it on more extensive repairs than anticipated, having to meet updated U.S. Coast Guard regulations and a recession that killed donations, resulting in the project running out of money. But the final stretch is in sight.

The vessel that once served as actor James Cagney’s personal yacht was returned from a shipyard in Chula Vista to the San Pedro-Wilmington waterfront a few days ago. Still ahead are more repairs that are expected to take at least a year — and, before that, more fundraising.

When the $2.8 million restorations are finished, the Swift initially will be based near Banning’s Landing in Wilmington, where it will specialize in providing sail trips for fifth-graders.

“She was the matriarch of the (Top Sail) vessels,” said Alice Robinson, who served as the ship’s captain form 1992 through the early 2000s. “We started the (Top Sail) program with her. She’s so intimate and great for younger ladies and gentlemen.”

The tall ship Swift of Ipswich sails under the Vincent Thomas Bridge as she entered the Port of Los Angeles on Sept. 6, 2002. The ship was one of more than a dozen tall ships participating in the “Festival of Sail.” (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

The program, now in its 25th year, served 6,016 students in 2016-17. At-risk youngsters in the Top Sail program are all given a chance to take the helm on sailing trips to Catalina Island, learning new skills while practicing the art of teamwork.

The 70-foot wooden vessel, a replica of a Revolutionary War privateer, was built in 1938 in Ipswich, Massachusetts.

Cagney purchased the ship, moving it to Newport Beach as his private yacht. It also appeared in several Hollywood films and television shows, including “Treasure Island,” “Fantasy Island,” and several commercials.

Out of the history books
“When they first see the Swift of Ipswich, they say, ‘Oh, a pirate ship,’ ” Robinson said the young people who have sailed on the Swift. “They’re intrigued with the way she looks.” While pirates are thieves, privateers in colonial times were licensed by a government.

The original Swift, an American privateer during the Revolutionary War, was captured by the British Navy and later destroyed, but drawings still existed and were used to construct the replica.

Cagney sold the ship in 1958 and it was used for harbor tours before the institute acquired it in 1991. The other two ships in the fleet — the Irving Johnson and Exy Johnson brigantines — are larger and have been designated as Los Angeles city’s official welcoming vessels.

Wear and tear took its toll on the Swift over the years, requiring a new wooden deck. But once work began, workers discovered that many more repairs would be needed. Structural and design changes were required to comply with updated Coast Guard regulations.

Part of the initial restoration funding was awarded from the so-called China Shipping mitigation fund, established as part of a settlement reached in 2003 with Harbor Area residents opposed to the terminal expansion.The repaired ship, Robinson said, will maintain its original look.

Swift being lifted

The Swift of Ipswich, built in 1938 and once serving as actor James Cagney’s personal yacht, is being restored and will rejoin the Los Angeles Maritime Institute’s fleet of tall ships used for youth sail training on San Pedro’s waterfront. Workers hoist the 70-foot, wooden topsail schooner — a replica of a Revolutionary War privateer — onto a barge early Friday morning to be brought back to San Pedro. Photo By Michael Hare

“It’s going to look pretty authentic. That’s what we were hoping to go for,” she said. The original lines will be the same, though the ship will have less rigging as part of stability requirements enforced by the Coast Guard.

Fundraising, more work ahead
The ship now is in the Maritime Institute’s yard near San Pedro’s fishing slip at the south end of Ports O’ Call Village, where the remaining work will be done in the institute’s Building G workshop on site.

When it’s back at sea, the Swift will increase the Top Sail program’s capacity by about 3,000 students a year, shifting a focus to serving more upper elementary and lower middle school students.

In 2008, the estimated costs for repairs — which still stands — was $2.8 million. Improvements amounting to $2.3 million have been completed.

The institute needs $50,000 to cover expenses associated with the move of the vessel from Chula Vista to San Pedro and another $500,000 will be needed for the last step of repairs to be carried out by professionals and community volunteers.

Read more on the Daily Breeze

Support youth education at sea in Los Angeles

2017 – 2018 Annual Appeal Campaign

image of students on sail boatNovember 22, 2017


Dear LAMI friends,

Los Angeles Maritime Institute exists for one reason and that reason is we are here for young people. Our “magic” is to use our skill, knowledge, incredible location, awesome vessels, partners, and donors to change lives. We have an impact on students of all walks of life but our main focus is on those students in the greater LA area that are economically disadvantaged.

Think back to your middle school years. Now imagine that you came from a family that lived within 10 miles of the California coast but because your family was so short of resources you had never been to the ocean. Never been on a boat. Never had a real family vacation. Now imagine the wonder as you leave your community and all of its problems temporarily behind. You and your classmates board Irving Johnson and/or Exy Johnson and you sail out of one of the busiest ports in the world. In addition to being blown away by the splendor of a traditional tall ship with 13 sails, you are seeing a potentially different future for yourself! Port pilots, tugboat operators, crane operators, commercial crews, captains, port police, port fire fighters, truck drivers, train engineers, longshoremen—any of these could be your new future.

Under way, your captain points the bow into the wind behind the historic Los Angeles Warehouse One and you hoist sail before falling off the wind and sailing out Angels Gate; leaving Los Angeles in your wake. While you are not old enough to drive a car you are now at the helm of a 128 ton tall ship heading for Santa Catalina Island or one of the other Channel Islands. Along the way you see massive container ships, cruise ships and tankers.

When you arrive at your evening’s anchorage you respond to the captain’s command to lay aloft and put the sails away by climbing the ratlines and laying out on the yards. You are now many stories above the water experiencing a perspective like none you have ever imagined. If my words have done justice to capturing the essence of what we provide, you will understand the profound impact our program has at the individual and group level.


The vast majority of the students that we serve are Title 1 which is the universal test for economically disadvantaged. This means that the family, and most likely the school have no financial resources to fund their participation with LAMI. This is why we have to raise at least two thirds of our annual budget through grants and donations. Our annual appeal is one of our most important activities for raising these funds.

We are delighted that again this year the Sherry Griswold Foundation along with the Kling Family Foundation has challenged all of us with a one for one match. The two foundations together will match your donation up to $20,000.00. We are encouraging everyone to make use of this opportunity and effectively double their donation.
I hope this appeal finds you and yours well and that you will be able to support our drive to positively impact as many area youth as possible; they are our future.



P.S. Please make use of the $20,000.00 dollar for dollar match before it expires on 12/31/2017.

Support youth education at sea

Click here to download a PDF of our annual appeal letter.
Your gift will empower youth to discover their greater potential through extraordinary at-sea experiences aboard the tall ships SSV Irving Johnson and SSV Exy Johnson, twin brigantines built to train and equip young people with 21st century leadership skills, and inspire life-long learning. Thank you!