REDONDO BEACH, CA – January 28th, 2015 – King Harbor Boating Foundation’s Waterfront Education (WE) is an engaging and interactive form of education which fosters discovery learning utilizing local waters as nature’s classroom. Los Angeles Maritime Institute’s TopSail Youth Program uses hands-on experiences at sea to provide an array of social, education and leadership development opportunities to middle school and high school students throughout the greater Los Angeles area aboard the tall ships, Irving Johnson and Exy Johnson.

Together, the two non-profit organizations have formed a collaborative pilot program titled “STEM TopSail” that will use adventure-based learning to promote team building, problem solving, and leadership. (STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education.) The navigation curriculum leverages STEM by teaching mathematics through nautical charting and additional skills necessary to sail a tall ship. Mastery of these skills will create a solid sailing foundation that will last a lifetime.

“We are extremely excited to bring our 23 years of experience working with youth to the South Bay in this collaboration with King Harbor Boating Foundation,” said Bruce Heyman, Executive Director of Los Angeles Maritime Institute. “It’s a complementary blend of existing programming that will allow more students and educators to benefit from a proven educational model.”

The joint-programs will be King Harbor based and include curriculum specifically designed to educate about the local Redondo Beach waters and ecosystems. For the pilot program, there will be two different options: a Homeschool Program and Educator Classroom Program. The Homeschool Program is designed for middle schoolers with monthly classes aboard a tall ship that build upon each other and culminate with an overnight excursion to Catalina Island.

“Our Waterfront Education team is thrilled to introduce our homeschool partners to an educational adventure series aboard the tall ships,” said Julie Coll, Executive Director of King Harbor Boating Foundation. “Home-based education provides an opportunity to explore alternative teaching environments that engage students in active learning in a natural setting.”

The Educator Classroom Program will combine classroom education with at-sea learning activities, supporting the intentions of the Next Generation Science Standards. The customized educational experiences are designed to provide a teaching extension tool for educators allowing them to expose their students to learning in a natural environment, on the ocean aboard the tall ships. The program is also receiving significant support this year from CenterCal Properties, the creators of the proposed Waterfront pier revitalization project in Redondo.

“I have always been amazed by the incredible educational atmosphere our local waterfront creates. As a young boy, I had some of my most memorable learning experiences visiting the Redondo Beach Pier with my father,” said Fred Bruning, CEO of CenterCal. “Providing fun ways for children to learn about the ocean is at the core of our vision for The Waterfront pier revitalization project. That’s why we are so proud to be supporting the King Harbor Boating Foundation and the Los Angeles Maritime Institute’s TopSail Program in making this educational initiative a reality.”

Since its founding in 1992, the Los Angeles Maritime Institute’s TopSail Youth Program has provided disadvantaged youth with an extraordinary hands-on learning environment aboard a traditional tall ship, where young crews must do “real work” that is physically, mentally and emotionally challenging. They raise the sails, set the course, work with wind and waves, and climb the rigging standing only on footropes. The youth must pull together as a team to meet the actual, practical demands of the ship. Through their adventures at sea, youth realize their own potential while demonstrating the benefits of teamwork and cooperation.

The Waterfront Education team invites the public to attend the STEM TopSail Open House on February 15th and February 16th. The community will be able to Tour the Tall Ship, Sample the Tall Ship or Sail the Tall Ship. The tall ship tour is free. There is a one hour discovery excursion ($10 kids, $20 adults) and two hour extended adventure where you can become part of the crew and help sail the tall ship ($20 kids, $40 adults). Space is limited on the sail excursions so reservations are recommended. Click here to make a reservation.

For further information about the Waterfront Education STEM TopSail Program, visit King Harbor Boating Foundation at or Los Angeles Maritime Institute at



Media Contacts:

Julie Coll, King Harbor Boating Foundation

Direct 818.268.4740


Joleen Deatherage, Los Angeles Maritime Institute

Direct 310.422.4146


About King Harbor Boating Foundation

Founded in December 2012, King Harbor Boating Foundation aims to promote safe, clean and responsible boating activities, and to foster public interest through community outreach. We endeavor to educate about boating activities and stewardship of our marine environment. We strive to partner with local organizations that support our mission. The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose work is primarily funded by corporate sponsors, grants and individual donations.


About Los Angeles Maritime Institute (LAMI)

Founded in 1992, the Los Angeles Maritime Institute is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that serves to empower youth to discover their greater potential through extraordinary at-sea experiences. Located on the Los Angeles Waterfront in San Pedro, CA, the TopSail Youth Program takes place aboard the tall ships, Irving Johnson and Exy Johnson – the Official Tall Ships and Maritime Ambassadors of the City of Los Angeles. These magnificent vessels serve as outdoor classrooms for character-building, educational, sail training adventures for youth. Since its inception, the organization has served more than 55,000 youth throughout Los Angeles County.