Panthers at Sea

Hey sailor, looking for a good time?

We need a few good skippers and first mates, dock help and sponsors to help re-launch Panthers at Sea, an outreach program for land-locked students at Long Beach Jordan High School, with a day sail this summer (date to be announced).  

All that’s required is a well-found boat, a love of sailing and sea savvy enough to teach basic boating, sailing and navigation to eager high school students.

The event will begin early in the morning as skippers tie up in Alamitos Bay Marina. Each boat will take aboard three to five Jordan students, depending on the size of the craft. Skippers will be asked to give the young people a hands-on sailing experience, returning to the docks about 4 p.m.

Each captain will decide what type of sail to conduct, in consultation with his novice crew. Some students may prefer a training sail, some a harbor cruise; others may want to head outside the breakwater for an open water experience.

If you’d like to participate, we need:

  1. Thirty (30) skippers with sailboats.
  2. Gangway helpers and support people.
  3. If you represent a yacht club, the name and contact info of a point person.
  4. Sponsors for:
    • Box lunches
    • T-shirts with the Panthers at Sea logo
    • Caps with the logo
    • Burgees with the logo
  5. Instructors to teach basic sailing skills in a training class to be held at Jordan High in the days leading up to the event.

The Panthers at Sea program started in the mid-1990s by Jordan High teacher David Braunstein. A member of the Long Beach Single Sailors Assn. (LBSSA), Braunstein recruited club members for the first Panthers at Sea event in the hopes that it would provide a meaningful and rewarding experience for both students and skippers.

For five years, Panthers at Sea exceeded their expectations, providing fun and educational experiences on the water for hundreds of students, and an opportunity for skippers to pass along their love of the water and sailing.

The Long Beach Unified School District was very supportive, providing bus transportation, faculty monitors, box lunches, medical personnel and liability insurance for the sailing excursion. The Long Beach Marine Bureau provided the staging area of guest slips at Shoreline Marina, as well as support personnel.  Only sailboats were used to provide the maximum feeling of interaction with the sea and elements.

Initially, Single Sailor members provided all the sailboats, but as the Panthers event grew in popularity local yacht clubs also got involved. The program is now open to all boat owners of the Long Beach marinas.

Each skipper must carry his normal liability insurance and must notify BOA as to how many students he can take out. It is suggested that male skippers have an adult female as a first mate. This was found to be handy, especially if a girl should feel sick.

The Long Beach school district considers the Panthers outing to be a field trip, and will again provide insurance for the students, bus transportation, training classes and support staff. The Long Beach Marine Bureau will provide use of Gangway GG, support staff, fobs to open the heads and parking passes. 

If you’d like to be part of a rewarding day on the water and to help instill the joy of sailing in a young person, Panthers at Sea needs you.

To volunteer, email Bob Vatz, BOA’s Secretary, at bobnflip@aol.com