How do I get to LAMI?

In San Pedro take Harbor Blvd to the signal just past 6th Street. You’ll come to a Y. Take the option to go left onto Sampson Way. Follow Sampson into Ports o’ Call Village.

How do I get to the vessels?

Turn left at the eighth aisle in the Ports o’ Call Village parking lot and go to Berth 78. The sign for it is yellow and black, but it’s a bit difficult to find. Look instead for the San Pedro Fish Market. Our dock is to the right of the Fish Market, and is visible across an open area with a chain link fence around it. Park anywhere near the fenced area (it’s free) and take the footpath at the middle of the fencing.

To get to the office (Berth 73, Suite 2):

Stay on Sampson Way past Skytower Way. The next second stop sign is Timms Way. You’ll see an off-white, two-story building with a green stripe and signs for Utro’s restaurant. Turn left at Timms Way and follow the road around till you can turn right into the small parking lot by the restaurant.  Our office is the top story of the building.  The door is past the front of the restaurant.

Our shop facility, Building G, is on the left as you turn into the office/restaurant parking lot. It’s the large beige warehouse with the round Quonset hut-style roof.

For more detail and a printable version, click here: Directions to Los Angeles Maritime Institute

If I want to become a volunteer, how do I get started?

First, attend an orientation meeting.  They are held at our office the third Saturday of each month (except December) at 10 AM.  See above for directions and visit the Getting Started page under our Volunteer tab.

How do I get involved/get my child involved in the Youth Crew Program?

Youth Crew is for ages 13-19. Email youthcrew@lamitopsail.org for details.

Where do I get fingerprinting done and how much does it cost?

Go to safesecureusa. We ask a $25.00 donation. Please remit to LAMI. Note that walk-ins are available weekdays. Saturdays require appointments.

What should I bring when I come to sail?

 For a day sail:

  • lunch
  • refillable water bottle
  • wear comfortable clothing
  • dress in layers
  • jacket (windbreaker)
  • tennis or outdoor shoes
  • sunglasses
  • sunblock
  • hat that won’t blow off

 For a voyage:

  • pack light, as there is very little storage space
  • sleeping bag or blankets
  • pillow
  • sheet for mattress in bunk
  • toiletries
  • bathing suit
  • towel

What is appropriate attire when working with kids or the public?

  • Crew shirts are worn for all day sails, the first day of a voyage, and any time the vessel enters or leaves a port.
  • Khaki, tan, or navy blue pants or shorts are preferred.  Jeans are ok, too.  Dirty, soiled, torn clothing is fine for maintenance days, but not for working with students.  Same goes for short shorts and tank tops or camisoles.
  • Bathing suits are encouraged for voyages, but please be conscious of how revealing they are.

How long do sails last?

Day sails generally run 3-5 hours.  Voyages vary from 3-5 days.

What jobs on the boat will be my responsibility?

Everything!  Setting and taking in sail, furling (folding and putting away sail), tending docklines, doing deck washes, cooking, cleaning (we all contribute), navigating, helming, working in the rig, sanding painting, putting protective pine tar on stays…  Any job on the boat is available to you, but above all, your task is to be a good shipmate and make anyone who comes aboard feel welcome and included.

I’m scared of heights. Do I have to climb aloft?

No.  Everything we do aloft in the rig is “challenge by choice.”  That option applies equally to volunteers and students.  (If you want to try, though, we’re always ready to encourage you and help you do so safely.)

What if I get seasick?

There are many methods to prevent seasickness.  Dramamine, Bonine, Meclazine, and other over the counter anti-seasickness medications are available at local drug stores.  There also are patches to wear behind your ears and pressure point wristbands that help.  And natural ginger works for many people.

There’s no shame in seasickness.  It happens to all of us.  Don’t let it stop you from joining us.

Is there a place for me with LAMI if I decide sailing isn’t for me or if kids aren’t my favorite thing in the world?

Yes!  We have plenty of shore-based, student-free projects with which we always need help:

  • Maintenance
  • Office help
  • Grant writing
  • Publicity
  • Fundraising
  • Boat tours
  • Canvas/sail repair
  • Carpentry
  • Diesel / outboard engine repair and maintenance
  • Electrical
  • Plumbing
  • Web design
  • Food preparation
  • Retail

…and more!

I’ve never sailed. How much experience do I need?


How do I sign up to sail?

  • Check the Sailing Calendar to find dates that work with your schedule
  • Call the office at (310) 833-6055
  • Ask for Anita and let her know which school or event you’d like to participate
  • Anita’s email:  anita@lamitopsail.org
  • Please give at least 24 hours notice if you must cancel

What kinds of questions might I have to answer if I work at a festival?

Click here for a frequently asked questions sheet.

How do I get one of those cool crew shirts I see everyone wearing?

You earn your crew shirt when you’ve contributed 40 hours of volunteer time to the organization.

How often am I required to sail?

There is no required amount of time.  You join us when you can, but you must complete two crew training sessions and be finger printed before you begin sailing with students.

What are these “tall ship festivals” you talk about?

Once a year, a group of tall ships get together in a few local ports – LA, San Diego, and Dana Point are frequent stops.  We open to the public for tours and “battle sails” (re-enactments of tactics from the Age of Sail).  These gatherings are a chance to interact with other sailors and show the public a part of our world.  They’re a lot of work and a lot of fun.