As the SEAS organization sails into the new year, I want to reflect on last year’s progress.  Our entire fleet and our team are now under one roof in a beautiful and functional facility.  With the winter days abuzz with youth and adult classes and activities, we have become a “year round” boating education center. This building appeared so cavernous when empty this past summer before we moved in. By late autumn it housed all our boats, trailers and vehicles with even room to spare for storing a few boats for SEAS supporters. Like a new garage, it’s amazing how quickly we find there’s hardly room for the car. What was once only a vision has become a wonderful and unique reality.

Tony, Juju and Whitney are focused on punch lists of boat repairs and maintenance that are routine with a well-used fleet after a busy summer.  We continue to make upgrades and improvements that enhance performance of our sailboats and powerboats.  Our fleet is kept in Bristol condition, which requires the team’s expertise and attention to fine detail.

Howard Rice moved the boatbuilding education programs forward with a commitment to the SEAS mantra of “Boating for Everyone”.  Our outreach with youth and adults has paid dividends in expanding our footprint in the greater Sheboygan area.  Students from Sheboygan South and Central high schools have been participating in boat building projects for our adaptive SCAMP and the Tinkerbelle project. In addition, “The Use and Applications of Epoxy and Modern Boat Building Materials” and “Introduction to The Craft of Contemporary Small Boat Building” classes have been well attended.  There is enthusiasm and continued interest from our participants and more classes are on the calendar.

The Chicago Boat Show was highlighted by Howard with his SCAMP “Southern Cross”, engaging a nonstop line of interested attendees.  The crowd was fascinated by this unique vessel and its’ story.  Howard was invited to be a guest speaker, sharing his adventurous solo passage through the Strait of Magellan from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean.

There is a synergy growing in the Great Lakes region connecting many like-minded people through organizations with a common passion for boating. Small boat building and restoration education brings people together where skills are developed through skilled instruction. The critical thinking, problem solving, learning to work safely and successfully with tools and materials that ultimately leads to a boat that floats is the goal. These programs are getting more people on the water and expanding their interest in recreational and competitive boating, maritime history, and the importance of fresh water ecosystems, which are all relevant to the future of the boating industry.  Those who are committed to sharing their knowledge to the next generation are now building networks to insure these subjects are passed to the next generation. The SEAS mission is on course and continues to expand as our boundaries widen.  We look forward to this new year launching more new boaters into competency, and ignite a sense of curiosity and learning through our programs. 

Come join us at SEAS and experience Boating for Everyone.        

Geoff Rudolph, executive director