Frequently Asked Questions


WHY NOT BUY OR LEASE AN EXISTING SHIP INSTEAD OF BUILDING A NEW ONE?

Due to the inherent risk in ocean voyaging, a safe ship is paramount for the FUEL Program. Our ship must also:

  1. Carry 30 students

  2. Be U.S. Coast Guard certified

  3. Preserve the Cape and Islands’ maritime heritage

We have searched extensively for a ship that meets these criteria. We now know that building a new ship will make our program safer and be less expensive.


ARE THERE PROGRAMS ALREADY DOING THIS?

The FUEL Program will be the first to combine study abroad and experiential learning on a historical sailing ship. In addition, the FUEL Program aims to be the first sailing school program accredited by the Association of Experiential Education (AEE). This accreditation demands the highest standards in risk management, program quality, and professional behavior.


WHO WILL TEACH THE CURRICULUM?

Working with world renowned author, educator, and researcher Michael Gass, Ph.D., LMFT, our program director is designing our curriculum to be taught onboard by the ship's officers and crew. The courses will be approved and monitored by an academic advisory committee that includes leading experts Michael Gass, Dan Garvey, Anita Tucker, and more.


HOW WILL LEARNERS GET CREDIT?

Credits will be awarded through a school of record. As an example, the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) uses the University of Utah as their school of record.


HOW WILL THE PROGRAM MEET ITS COSTS?

FUEL is running a capital campaign for the construction of our ship as well as building an endowment for future capital expenses. Learners will pay a tuition for their semester to the FUEL Program. The program can meet its annual operating budget with less than 50% capacity.


HOW DO THE CAPE AND ISLANDS BENEFIT FROM THE FUEL PROGRAM?

Historically, young people from the Cape and Islands went to sea to learn, develop, and grow. Today, few maritime opportunities exist for island youth, and many are struggling with their transition to adulthood. Drug abuse, apathy and depression are plaguing this demographic. In fact, alcohol consumption and depression rates on Martha’s Vineyard are higher than national averages, and rates for young adults are highest.

With your support, we are building a historical sailing ship that will offer developmental adventure. This ship will help young people transition to adulthood the same way great ships form the Cape and Islands once did. Learners will earn college credit while developing socially, mentally, and physically aboard. They will expand their horizons beyond home, develop leadership skills to bring back to our community, and discover their own potential in a dynamic and challenging environment. They will be shown how to engage with life in meaningful ways, and by doing so make a positive impact on our community.


HOW MUCH EXPERIENCE IS THERE BEHIND THE ORGANIZATION?

The FUEL Program's cofounders Captain Casey Blum and Captain Ian Ridgeway have worked in sailing education for over 35 years collectively. Our advisory board is made up of world renowned experts in the fields that contribute to our program including experiential learning, outdoor education, study abroad, deep sea voyaging, traditional sailing, ship design, and fundraising. To see, specifically, who is involved click here or click the "team" tab above.


WHAT IS A DEVELOPMENTAL ADVENTURE PROGRAM

The primary purpose of a developmental adventure program is to change behaviors (plus thinking and feeling) through intermediate facilitation techniques that guide the integration of learning into daily life. Developmental adventure programming demonstrates and practices successful ways to interact with others and is aimed at improving functional behaviors and training people to behave in new or different ways through adventure.


Have more questions?
We would love to hear from you.
Phone (774) 563-0731 | Email ian@buildtheship.org