The sailing vessel provides an educational venue, rich in potential for the development of knowledge, skills, and attitudes that are necessary for the education of today's youth, but may be difficult for some youth to grasp in the classroom. It is effective with those youth who are not coping well with the demands of society and are "at risk" of dropping out of school and/or giving up on the quest for a successful and productive life. Our educational program is coupled with a sailing experience to enrich, validate, challenge and enhance conventional school curricula. Science, mathematics, physics, biology, geography, history, and literature come to life in this real world, outdoor classroom. Students don't even realize they're engaged in a curricula learning environment or growth sequence of developing skills: Awareness, Understanding, Communication, Cooperation, and Teamwork. At the same time, the students' attitudes are able to mature in: Persistence, Patience, Endurance, Courage, and Caution. Our program offers "real life" experience in: problem solving, decision making, planning, self reliance, and leadership. Not only is this an impressive list of outcomes for any educational endeavor, it is demonstrably cost effective to achieve these goals with sailing vessels.










Participants and Program Cost
During the 2012-2013 school year, the TopSail Youth Program provided tall ship adventure learning experiences to more than 2,500 young people from 35 different schools and youth orgainzations. Our volunteers logged over 30,000 hours. Our program’s primary focus is underserved youth in middle and high schools, 6th – 12th grade, but is flexible enough that we can offer it to any school or organized youth group, regardless of income, race, ethnicity or social status. In 2014, we expanded our program to include upper elementary grades. We can adjust our program to fit the age or ability of any participant weighing 70 pounds or more (a safety requirement related to life jacket sizes). It is also important that adult leaders accompanying the group are prepared to be active participants.

Our vessels can each accommodate up to 30 participants on overnight voyages and up to 35 participants on day sails. A reduced program cost for youth groups is offered at $1,700 per day for day sails and $2,000 per day for overnight voyages. Groups are responsible for food and transportation to our dock, and other options are part of the planning discussion we have with each group. While we strive not to turn any group away for lack of funding, we can only continue to operate if each group pays what they can truly afford to offset the actual costs of our program. It costs us $4,000 per vessel per day to offer transformational experiences at sea, a small price to invest in our youth!

To book TopSail for your school or youth group, call (310) 833-6055





The Los Angeles Maritime Institute (LAMI) serves to empower youth to discover their greater potential through extraordinary at-sea experiences. We envision a thriving community where every child can look to the future with confidence.

The TopSail Youth Program takes place aboard the twin brigantines, Exy Johnson and Irving Johnson, the Official Tall Ships and Maritime Ambassadors of the City of Los Angeles.

Our thanks to the Port of Los Angeles for supporting the TopSail Youth Program for more than a decade!

OnDemand Website
Admin Login