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Tall Ships & Maritime Associations

Michigan is home to numerous maritime museums, festivals and societies. All those below are terrific family destinations and many offer opportunities to sail aboard period Tall Ship replicas.

Festivals (Periodic and Annual)


The Michigan Schooner Festival (held in September in Traverse City) is highlighted by tours and excursions on tall ships patterned after vessels of the 18th and 19th centuries. Accompanied by period actors, music, and nautical crafts, this is a worthy destination for a fun family outing. Information on volunteering or contributing to any of these organizations can be found on their respective websites. This festival is conducted by the Maritime Heritage Alliance.




The Tall Ship Celebration is festival hosted in Bay City as part of a touring flotilla of Tall Ships (known as the Tall Ships America). This periodic event (currently slated for July 2019) will feature at least 10 Tall Ships (large, mult-masted ships from the 18th-19th century periods). In addition to the ships (which can be toured and sailed), there are numerous other activites for the family. This is a "don't miss" event!


Historical Organizations and Museums


The Maritime Heritage Alliance is recognized for its success in the construction and restoration of wooden vessels, and its efforts to promote and preserve the history of wooden boats in the Great Lakes. Founded in 1982 by a group of historic boat buffs, the Alliance has expanded every year and now counts among its friends and membership people from all 50 states and numerous foreign countries. The MHA owns and operates the tall ships Madeline (92 ft) and Welcome (55 ft) and the 39 ft. cutter Champion.

Michigan Maritime MuseumThe Michigan Maritime Museum is located in South Haven, Michigan. In addition to housing and displaying numerous maritime artifacts, the museum owns and sails a replica of the 1811 sloop "Friends Good Will". This is a terrific destination to explore Michigan maritime history and to experience Tall Ship sailing.



Tall Ship Educational/Community Outreach

BaySailBay Sail is a private non-profit organization in Bay City, Michigan dedicated to promoting environmental stewardship of the Saginaw Bay and the Great Lakes through engaging shipboard experiences aboard their two schooners, the Appledore IV and Appledore V. Their programs include science education for K-12 school groups, overnight voyaging for youth and adults, public sails, charters, group tours, and port visits.


Inland SeInland Seas Educationas Education Association in Suttons Bay, MI is committed to education and preservation of the Great Lakes through their innovative sailing education programs. Their three ships; Inland Seas, Manitou and Liberty serve as floating classrooms and laboratories as well as demonstrate the sailing tradition of Great Lakes schooners.


The Traverse Tall Ship Company in Traverse City, MI owns and operates the 114 foot schooner Manitou. The Manitou is a replica of an 1800s coasting cargo schooner and has a capacity of 59 passengers. The ship conducts a variety of specialty sails, charter sails, and public outings.



Other organizations

Great Lakes Boat Building SchoolThe Great Lakes Boat Building School in Cedarville, MI teaches and inspires students in the art and craft of traditional and contemporary wooden boat building, which prepares them for productive and rewarding careers in the marine trades.  They strive to contribute to the growth of each student as a person and as a craftsman to impart an appreciation of the maritime heritage of the Great Lakes and North America.


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