Tall Ships America is committed to being an anti-racist membership organization.

Anti-racist is an intentional term. We recognize that it is not enough to be “not racist,” and being committed to anti-racism means we are actively fighting against institutionalized systems of oppression to drive equity and inclusion and celebrate our diversity. Our commitment is based on the idea articulated by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi and others that you cannot be anti-racist and homophobic, anti-racist and sexist, anti-racist and classist, anti-racist and ableist, anti-racist and ageist, and/or anti-racist and sectarianist.

We also recognize that action must be taken internally (within Tall Ships America’s organizational structures and systems), externally (in partnership with individual and organizational members to bring about change in member organizations, programs and practices) and with the maritime industry where we all operate.

This is a commitment that includes:

  • respectful dialogue and communication, listening to our members, our students, our peers and empowering each of us to speak out against injustice and inequity in our communities
  • elevating the voices and visibility of underrepresented mariners in the fleet
  • recognizing the complicated and interrelated history of tall ships, oppression and slavery
  • education about the legacy of institutionalized oppression and racism
  • developing more diverse and inclusive staff, board, and membership participation
  • strengthening the tools, resources and support available across the fleet to equip our members to understand how they may be active participants in dismantling systemic oppression.

This is a commitment to continual growth and evolution, holding ourselves accountable to measurable action, and we have work to do. Will you come alongside Tall Ships America and join us in this work?

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion Committee December 2020

“It was through the sailing ship that man learned about the planet. Through the sailing ship, the peoples of the earth grew closer, learned about each other, traded silks and furs, iron and coal, lumber and wheat-supporting one another, helping one another, beginning to understand one another. And often, when understanding failed and darkness fell upon the lands, the ships kept open the sea routes until such time as the light might reappear.”

Barclay Warburton, Founder of American Sail Training Association, 1980

Tall Ships America is working diligently to create and implement an action plan to address issues of diversity, equity and inclusion across the fleet. The plan is evolving, and our action is on-going. It signifies an organizational commitment to prioritizing diversity, equity and inclusion in the sail training and tall ships community alongside a commitment to taking action, monitoring progress, being accountable and providing evidence of change.


We believe education is the cornerstone of change and our mission is firmly grounded in education.

We were founded on the belief that the tall ships and sail training carry messages of hope, cultural exchange, learning life skills and leadership to the world.

We will work with our members to promote and support their work to create a more diverse community.

We know we need to do more and do better to create diverse governance structures, inclusive messages, and equitable, safe spaces and opportunities for all people.


Tall Ships America is embedding diversity, equity and inclusion in our work by:

  • Dedicating resources to connect sail training and education to empowerment of individuals and strengthening communities;
  • Creating education and training experiences for our members that enlighten, support, encourage and promote greater understanding and better practices across the North American fleet;
  • Increasing the visibility and desirability of opportunities within our fleet for all people; and
  • Exposing gaps of participation in sail training by any segments of society and exploring ways to fill those gaps with and through our members.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee

Tall Ships America and our community of vessel owners and operators, sail training programs and tall ship mariners have been talking about issues of diversity and inclusion across the fleet for years. Our intentional approach with and on behalf of our members is based on our organizational commitment to prioritize diversity, equity and inclusion in the sail training and tall ships community. It signifies a commitment to taking action, monitoring progress, being accountable and providing evidence of change.

A Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee was established by the Executive Director in July 2020 to inform and influence the plan for action and update the plan as steps were taken and progress was made. The volunteer committee members represented all levels of the tall ship community, from recreational sailors to sail training organization executive directors.