What's it Really Like?

Do we have contact with people onshore?
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Evan Cervelli
Assistant Instructor

During the time that you are on a Sea School trip your instructors check in regularly with the Sea School’s shore support team through a cell phone, VHF and SPOT Messenger. This is our communications system for safety however, so we do not allow participants to communicate directly with shore during their trip. This is to ensure that the program can run uninterrupted by technology and outside distractions and our lines of safety communication stay clear.

What about the weather?
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Crane Stookey
Sea School Captain and Founder

We have a good mix of sunny and warm days with beautiful sea breeze nights, cloudy and cool days, with some rain and fog. Nova Scotia is famous for having four seasons in a day – and that is especially true on the sea so come prepared with everything: your bathing suit, layers of warm fleece and a few things in-between. See our clothing list in the enrollment package for more details. If we have strong winds we sail with glee!!! But if it is too rough for sailing we stay in a sheltered cove (of which there are plenty) until conditions improve. If a hurricane is forecast (which is very rare) we go straight ashore and to safety. We sail on the coast so evacuating to shore is very easy.

Is it safe?
Keegan Kerslake
Assistant Instructor

Going on a Nova Scotia Sea School boat is probably safer than staying at home! The Sea School is uncompromising in our high safety standards. In more than 15 years of operating there has never been a single safety incident on a Sea School boat or on any of our programs. We have strict communications procedures, the best possible on-the water communications, and safety equipment well in excess of industry requirements. Our staff are meticulously trained and re-trained, only instructors with superior safety judgment are hired, each and every staff of the Sea School takes safety seriously and personally. A network of shore support and response system is activated every time a trip is on the water. We have industry-leading safety and training standards that were developed with counsel from Survival Systems Training, The Canadian Coast Guard, Doyle Adventure and Safety and various other experts in our field.

Who can go on a trip?
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Heather Kelday
Executive Director

Almost anyone can do a Sea School trip! If you are in good health and ready for a new and challenging adventure you’ll have no problems. If you have questions or doubts about your ability to sail with us please contact us and we can help you decide.

What is the food like?
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Chris Pyke
Provisions Coordinator

You eat really well during your trip. I plan a yummy menu, pack the food, make sure that you have plenty to eat. You’ll eat fresh fruit and veggies, pasta, rice, bread, home-made granola and GORP and lots of other delicious snacks. For 21-day trips we resupply to ensure we have fresh food as fresh fruit and veggies only last for a short time. Most meals are vegetarian, hearty and designed to satisfy the appetites of hard-working sailors. We cook our meals on the boat as a crew and most participants tell us it is the best camping food they have ever eaten!

What is the crew like?
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Katie-Beck Oliver

Our crews represent a cross-section of society, because we learn more from each other when we’re not all alike. We have adventurers, poets, athletes, artists, sailors, landlubbers, talkers, listeners, outdoorsy-types, indoorsy-types and lots of cool people like you. We have students are from the country and the city, students from all over Nova Scotia and students from the rest of Canada, the US and even Europe. It’s a diverse group and we like it that way.

What are the instructors like?
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Denma Peisinger
Assistant Instructor

Sea School instructors are great people who are down-to-earth, fun to be around and have fascinating life-experience. They are accomplished sailors and skilled outdoor educators. Safety is their priority and all are highly experienced sailors. Their skill, training, judgment and know-how have ensured that in our 16 years of operation we have had no injuries or accidents on the boat. They will make sure that your course is challenging as you learn the ropes and discover how amazing life is at sea. See our staff profiles. We strive whenever possible to have one male and one female instructor on each course.

What will the experience be?
Richard Leckenby

Whether you're a racer with a shelf full of trophies or a landlubber who's never been in a boat before, you learn a lot about the sea and a lot about yourself. You learn to read charts and navigate in the fog without electronics, using just a compass and leadline. You learn knots and rope work, constellations, how to read the weather in the clouds. You learn to sail your boat in all weather and get safely to harbour each night no matter what the wind and waves dish out. Everyone takes turns being in command of the boat, so you discover how to work with others in demanding situations. And you come to trust your ability to meet whatever challenges come up.

How long are we away for?
Philippe Inacio-Goetsch
Assistant Instructor

We’re away for 5, 7, or 21 days straight and we learn a whole lot more than how to sail! Each participant gains a full experience of being at sea: you learn to handle the boat and sails, navigate, live in the ocean wilderness and command a crew. In this challenging environment you discover the values taught by the sea: courage, leadership, teamwork, generosity, humour and respect.

What is the Trip?
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Dave MacCulloch

Most sailing adventures begin and end in Lunenburg, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, home of the Bluenose and the Picton Castle and one-time home to the East Coast schooner fleet. Our cruising range extends from the La Have Islands and Petite Riviere in the west through Mahone Bay and St. Margaret’s Bay and as far east as Sambro Island Light.

Do I need sailing experience?
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Geoff Beck
Assistant Instructor

You don’t need any sailing experience to do a Sea School trip! If you know boats already, you’ll find new challenges you haven’t imagined. If you’ve never been in a boat before or if sailboat seems like a tangle of incomprehensible ropes, canvas and terminology - not to worry! We will help you make sense of it all as you adventure on the sea. And you’ll be well versed in sailor speak by the end of your trip. You don’t need to know how to swim in order to sail. Lots of our participants don’t know how to swim.