Tall Ships America facilitates access to the experience of sail training and sea education aboard the North American fleet of tall ships and sail training vessels. Generous and committed donors and partners provide funds to support participation in the sail training experience and to develop the maritime workforce. These funds are available for the acquisition of mariner skills and professional development and sail training and sea education experiences. Applications for Grants and Scholarships can be submitted at any time and are reviewed at least quarterly by a committee in February, May, August and November. Except where noted, the size and number of awards will vary year to year. Except where noted, Grants and Scholarships are open to all applicants without regard to race, color, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability or veteran status.

Tall Ships America manages funds dedicated to support professional development for crew and aspiring mariners to participate in the maritime workforce. This includes grants to attend the Annual Conference on Sail Training and Tall Ships, internships aboard Tall Ships America member vessels and support for USCG certified licensing courses and fees. Alongside general workforce development funding, specific funds are as follows:

  • Liz Strojny Memorial Fund: Supporting those seeking the sea and expanding their future endeavors in the maritime industry. Liz was an avid sailor who inspired and educated everyone onboard. She attended the University of South Carolina, Columbia, where she received a Bachelor’s degree in Marine Biology in December 2001. She sailed throughout the tall ship fleet, including on Corwith Cramer, Sound Waters, Providence, Hawaiian Chieftain, Westward, Spirit of Massachusetts, Harvey Gamage, Appledore V and Summerwind. This memorial fund keeps her memory and spirit alive by providing professional development opportunities to working crew who want to continue their education and professional career in Liz’s wake. Every year Tall Ships America crew members may apply for conference grants to support their participation in the Annual Conference on Sail Training and Tall Ships, normally held in February. The application process is opened in the fall and remains open until all funds are used. The size and number of grants will vary year to year.
  • The Ernestine Bennett Memorial Fund was established in 2013 to honor the memory of long-time sailor and 1998 recipient of the American Sail Training Association Lifetime Achievement Award, Ernestine Bennett (see complete bio below). The Fund is designated to support individuals who are genuinely interested in sail training and education under sail and was renewed in 2021 through the generous support of the Stanton D and Ernestine J Bennett Charitable Trust. These funds are designated to support the professional development of tall ship crew and aspiring mariners, either through participation in professional development courses (including the Annual Conference on Sail Training and Tall Ships) or through supported internships to gain experience and sea time. The Ernestine Bennett Memorial Fund offers equal opportunity to crew members and aspiring mariners between the ages of 19 and 26 and will give priority to residents of the Pacific Northwest and to female applicants but is not limited by these criteria.
  • Tall Ships America Diversity Fund: Supporting those from under-represented populations to expand their involvement in the tall ship workforce. The Diversity Fund intends to provide opportunities for under-represented populations to get involved in professional development for the maritime workforce. This includes grants to attend the Annual Conference on Sail Training and Tall Ships, internships aboard Tall Ships America member vessels and support for USCG certified licensing courses and fees. Applications are welcome from people 27 years old or younger and in entry level/early career position. Priority will be given to those with an active Tall Ships America crew membership. If you are encountering financial difficulty and would like to be considered for a sponsored crew membership, please indicate this on the application.

Award Criteria for all Workforce Development Grant Funds:

  1. Available to Tall Ships America non-officer crew and aspiring mariners. Priority will be given to those with an active Tall Ships America crew membership. If you are encountering financial difficulty and would like to be considered for a sponsored crew membership, please indicate this on the application.
  2. Sail training internship or sea time grant must be sanctioned by a current member of Tall Ships America and the vessel must be a US Coast Guard Inspected Sailing School or Passenger Vessel.
  3. Licensing fees and certification must be provided by a recognized provider.
  4. Personal statement about interest and expectations for what will be achieved through participating in the professional development experience.
  5. Willingness to describe and share the impact of the experience with others and evidence of achievement (license or certification) where possible.
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Applicants must be Tall Ships America members. Click here for membership information.

Tall Ships America manages several funds that support young people to access sail training experiences onboard member vessels. Scholarships in these funds are awarded to individuals and organized groups (such as school classes, youth groups, scout troops, or community organizations) between the ages of 14 and 19 who are genuinely interested in experiencing sail training and education under sail and can describe what they will achieve by participating in the sail training experience.

Maximum award to an individual is up to 50% of program fee or $500. Maximum award to a group is up to 50% of program fee or $1,500. Payment of the scholarship is on a reimbursement basis when participants have completed the program. Priority will be given to sail training experiences for individuals that are at least four days duration, while group experiences may be of any duration. The sail training program selected must be a current member of Tall Ships America and the vessel must be a US Coast Guard Inspected Sailing School or Passenger Vessel.

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A Tall Ships America Crew Membership allows you to apply to our Workforce Development Grants, lets you apply directly to Billet Bank job postings, and supports your connection to our vibrant community. Sponsored Crew Memberships are funded by Tall Ships America and our generous members in order to support the next generation of tall ship sailors and are open to non-officer crew who are working or interested in working aboard a tall ship or sail training vessel

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