"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines.

Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." -Mark Twain

Life at Sea

Each SEAmester student is a full member of the crew aboard Spirit of Massachusetts--there are no passengers on this voyage! Everything we do aboard requires leadership, teamwork, and cooperation; we live in a community that requires it. The vessel is under the watchful eyes and hands of her crew 24-7. Each student will be a member of a 'watch,' a team of crew members that work together four hours at a time to navigate, handle sail, prepare food--whatever it takes to keep the vessel and her crew sailing and safe. Each watch is led by a licensed mariner, or mate, and a deckhand. With each passing week, our participants will earn more responsibility and take on challenging, and rewarding, leadership roles.

Classes at sea will be unlike any previous academic experience. We will study and learn about the environment, history, and cultures of the places we visit and the ocean we sail upon. We will study Dominican history in colonial squares, learn about reef ecology on snorkeling adventures, and engage ancient mythology as we gaze, and navigate, by the night sky. Learning is a 24-hour endeavor with SEAmester!

Each crew member has their own bunk or 'rack,' where they sleep and store their gear. Meals are prepared by our cook, with the help of crew, in the galley, and we eat in the 'main salon,' which is the common area aboard with benches (settees) and a huge table. Eating, cooking, walking... everything, becomes challenging when sailing in a sea and the boat is pitching and tossing about. But soon it will feel like second nature to have the floor (sole) moving about under your feet!


Life aboard Spirit is quite unconventional compared to life on land. It has a very different feel and cadence, and even has a distinct language. It is a lifestyle that is rooted in tradition and community, and helps teach us what is truly essential and what is not.

There is nothing "easy" about this trip. SEAmester is not designed as an escape from the rigors or complications of life on campus. It will require plenty of hard work, and you should expect to be challenged physically, academically, and mentally. But as Joseph Campbell said, "Opportunities to find deeper powers within ourselves come when life seems most challenging." Come and find out.

Watching a coast as it slips by the ship is like thinking about an enigma. There it is before you - smiling, frowning, inviting,
grand, mean, insipid, or savage, and always mute with an air of whispering, "come and find out." - Joseph Conrad

SEAmester is a collaborative effort between the University of Maine and Ocean Classroom Foundation.


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