About Us

Our Mission

Call of the Sea is a 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit with the mission of connecting people to the sea and maritime traditions. Our teaching platform is the lovely 82' schooner, Seaward. Our goal is to offer the benefits of connecting with the sea and sailing to all people, with a special focus on empowering youth of all backgrounds. Our programs range from three hours to two weeks long, primarily taking place on San Francisco Bay, but occasionally ranging as far as Baja Mexico. Operations are based in Sausalito, California.

Our Work

Call of the Sea offers programs that inspire people of all ages and backgrounds to connect with the sea on a traditional sailing vessel. Educational content focuses on marine sciences, nautical heritage, the environment of the bay and ocean, and maritime careers. Our programs are designed to keep students involved, active, and connected with the maritime world.

Bay Explorations, a three-hour sail, includes hands-on learning stations in sailing, California coastal history, navigation, and bay ecology. It aligns with 4th and 5th grade state curriculum, but is appropriate for grades 4-12.

Voyage Seaward is a youth-oriented sail training adventure for teenagers designed to build self-confidence, self-awareness, discipline, and the teamwork and leadership skills inherent in being part of a ship's crew. These trips give youth the unique opportunity to work as a team as they sail on a challenging 5-day, 4-night or 3-day, 2-night voyage on the bay and sometimes beyond.

We also work with other bay area nonprofits, schools, and youth groups such as Canal Alliance (San Rafael), Tall Ship Education Academy (San Francisco), Lake Merritt Boathouse (Oakland), Kids for the Bay (Berkeley), Waldorf School (San Francisco), and  youth-at-risk groups to provide Customized Educational Programs. Schooner Seaward is a great bridge to the Bay and California coast and we welcome the opportunity to work with local programs.

We also have programs for the young-at-heart (adults) and for families! A variety of special events and Private Charters as well as Public Sails round out Seaward's programs. Friday Sunset Sails, Sunday Family Adventure Sails and challenging Farallon, Drake's Bay, and Mexico Voyages help connect the public to San Francisco Bay and beyond.

Our Vessel

Call of the Sea owns and operates the vessel Seaward, an 82-foot classic staysail schooner constructed of steel and specifically designed for educational programs. She is inspected and licensed by the U.S. Coast Guard.

Seaward accommodates up to 40 passengers on day sails and 12 on overnight programs. She is accessible to a diverse population of students and adults in the spirit of "Your Boat, Your Bay". Though her homeport is Sausalito, Seaward visits many ports in the bay and Northern California and voyages to Southern California and Mexico during the winter.

For more information about schooner Seaward, visit our vessel page.

Our History

The present organization and leadership of Call of the Sea comes from the collaborative merger in December 2004 of two like-minded groups, "Voyage Seaward for Learning" and "Call of the Sea". We joined our efforts, merged boards, and adopted the name Call of the Sea for this rechartered and revitalized educational nonprofit.

Supported by a $25,000 matching grant from the Renaissance Fund of Oakland, Call of the Sea purchased the business of Hawaiian Chieftain, a local tall ship that had been sold to the East Coast but left in its wake fine educational programs and a loyal following. With the Bay Model as our program partner, Call of the Sea added environmental science to complement the historical and nautical components.

From the beginning, our dockage and related facilities have been generously donated by the Bay Model/US Army Corps of Engineers. We are also grateful for the support of the San Francisco Bar Pilots.

Charles Hart, Executive Director 

With a background of business, boats, and non-profits in the San Francisco area, Charlie is excited to continue the mission of Call of the Sea. He has spent most of his time as CEO of technology companies in Silicon Valley and was named to the Micro Times 50, a roster of the fifty most influential people in the computer industry. However, his community activities have included: Chairman of the Board of the San Jose Symphony, CEO of the Ballet San Jose, President of the HealthStore Foundation, President of the Association for Corporate Growth of Silicon Valley, and Commodore of the St. Francis Yacht Club. As an officer in the United States Air Force, he served as a Squadron Commander. Mr. Hart earned his bachelor's degree at the University of Maryland and completed Stanford University's AEA Executive Institute in the Graduate School of Industrial Engineering.

Erika Dwyer, Program Director

Erika Dwyer has been the Program Director of Call of the Sea since December of 2012. Erika studied Business Management with an emphasis in Marketing at Golden Gate University. She grew up in the small town of Woodside, CA and is now living in the North Bay. Erika has grown up on boats her whole life, either on the Bay or on the Delta. Before Call of the Sea, she worked for companies that specialized in the ski, trek, surf and paddle industries.


"Our Amazing Crew"

Captain, Scott Spillas

First Mate, Samuel Daily Swenson

Naturalist, Mary Rutz

Chef, Lizzie Loomis


"The Board"

A diverse and dedicated group, our Board of Directors keeps Call of the Sea running.

Stephen Gertz -Chairman of the Board, Acting Treasurer

Charles Hart - Executive Director

Alan Olson - Founder, Matthew Turner Project Director

Angie Lackey - Secretary

Dave MacGregor - Physician, Sailor

Ken Neal - Co-Founder

Chris Kieliger - Maritime Attorney

Dan Sillin - C.P.A.

Terry Causey - Matthew Turner Project Co-Founder, Sailor

Dave Stuhlbarg - Maritime Captain and Educator

Russ Hamel - Non-profit Executive

Graham Green - Financial Adviser, Sailor

Jerry Fiddler -Technology Executive

RADM Frank Johnston - Maritime Executive

And Don't Forget . . . "You!"

Call of the Sea relies on volunteers and the financial support of people in the community. If you'd like to help us change young lives, either through volunteering your time or through financial support, please contact our office.

Donate with PayPal