In March, KPTZ celebrates the Northwest Maritime Center (NWMC). In the broadest sense, they’re a nonprofit organization that engages people in the powerful experiences of the sea, to make them stronger people, connect them and their communities to the blue parts of the map and, in so doing, authentically address the larger issues of our world.
The Northwest Maritime Center’s roots are in the golden age of the Wooden Boat renaissance of the 1970s when an intrepid group of “Back to Sea” hippies created the Wooden Boat Festival. Since then the NWMC has added programs, events, publications, and expanded their campus. They’ve helped revitalize school districts, are helping connect communities of color to experiences on the water, helped birth and sustain great ideas like the Port Townsend Maritime Academy, and crystalized delightfully bad ideas like the Race to Alaska. Today they have over 2,000 program participants annually and tens of thousands more that engage in-person and online through the Wooden Boat Festival and their adventure races, and another 20,000 people who read 48° North every month (a regional sailing magazine that joined the Northwest Maritime Center family in 2018). All told, there are around 60 employees who work at the NWMC year round, another 40 or so that are added during the summer, and over 700 volunteers who support their events and initiatives throughout the year.
“It’s a beehive down here, and regardless of your age or depth of interest in maritime activities, there is something for you here,” says Jake Beattie, Executive Director. You’ll find students as young as 5 and as old as 80. The NWMC hosts trainings for the most senior professional mariners and also opens the waterfront for people who just want to have their morning coffee in the breathtaking beauty and sounds of waves on the beach. NWMC offers maritime and boat-building classes. They celebrate the spirit of adventure during Race to Alaska and SEVENTY48 in June, and at the Wooden Boat Festival in September. And if you’re looking for a way to get involved and give back to the community, the NWMC offers a multitude of ways to volunteer. All are welcome at the NWMC. Learn more here.