History

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The Nova Scotia Sea School was founded as a registered charity in 1994 by Crane Stookey, bringing together his passion for boats and the sea, his years as deck officer on Tall Ships, his love of teenagers, his training in Buddhist philosophy and meditation and his aspiration for a more contemplative approach to life rooted in the experience of the real world.

The Sea School had its unofficial start when Crane borrowed a whaler from the Navy in Halifax and spent the summer with a group of a dozen teenagers rowing and sailing it around the harbour. When summer ended, they decided they wanted a boat of their own. The Sea School was officially incorporated as a non-profit and we began construction of our first boat, DOROTHEA, a 30’ Sable Island Pulling Boat launched on Canada Day, 1995.

DOROTHEA’s maiden voyage was a 7-day expedition from Halifax to Mahone Bay with her builders. She has been sailing ever since, and in 2004 we launched a sister ship, ELIZABETH HALL, built on the Halifax waterfront with over 300 friends and volunteers.

Since then more than 2000 people have participated in Sea School programs, we have built 16 wooden boats ranging in size from 8’ to 30’, and we have spent over 9,000 hours on the water in the boats we’ve built. Our distinctive traditional rigs have become a recognized and admired fixture along the Nova Scotia coast.

Meaning of the Emblem

The Trident is Neptune’s scepter, symbol of the power of the sea. The white disk is the full moon, traditional symbol for compassion. The white waves beneath are moonlight reflected on the water, or compassion working in the world. But the Trident is also a weapon. Compassion is not about making nice. It’s about leaning into the sharp edges of our experience with an open heart.