The History of The OCC School of Sailing and Seamanship

1.47 acres with 300 linear feet on Newport Bay. Leased rent free from the County of Orange to the District for the purpose of “promoting the development of facilities and services needed by the public” and “operating a sailing and rowing facility for the advancement of marine oriented educational-athletic and recreational programs” The site was leased without any improvements to the land. Today the facility and its programs are models for other community boating programs across the country. The facility is managed by OCC Marine Programs.

Following is a brief chronology of the facility and program development:

1950 – OCC Sailing Club defeats Berkeley (Ray Rosso coach)

1954 – Superintendent Basil Peterson negotiates rent free land lease with Orange County First sailing courses launch off a sandy beach. Tent erected.
OCC Crew formed

1955 – WWII Quonset hut brought to Base from OCC (air station building)

1967 – Strand steel building erected for rowing program

1970 – Seawall, new docks, and crew facility built. Donation of 12 Shields sloops

1975 – Second rowing bay added on east side of building.

1975 – Gift of 60′ sloop Sally is first big boat donation

1976 – Gift of 47′ sloop Saudade

1980 – Prop 13 result: First non-credit/fee based sailing courses offered to public

1984 – Alaska Eagle sail training programs begin

1988 – Addition of two classrooms, office and kitchen – private funding.

1992 – Youth at Risk summer sailing program begins – grant funds

1993 – Women’s Crew forms

1996 – Planning and fundraising begins for nautical library

1997 – Gift of Wide Waters launches large powerboat instruction program

1998 – “Outstanding Program of the Year” by the National Community Sailing Council

1999 – Approved by the U.S. Coast Guard for licensing instruction, testing

2000 – Completion of nautical library, bookstore, offices and conference room Name change from “Sailing Center” to “School of Sailing and Seamanship at OCC”

2000 – Completion of nautical library and office building – private funding

2001  Students sail aboard Alaska Eagle to Antarctica

2002 – Summer community youth sailing program launched

2005 – John Kilroy donates 80’ sloop Kialoa III

2005 – Roy Disney donates 86’ sloop Pyewacket

2007 – CCCD enters into option agreement to purchase land across PCH

2007-  Marina upgrade, dock rebuild, fire system and ADA gangway (measure C)

2007 – New 30-year site lease signed by County and CCCD

2008 – 15-unit Professional Mariner vocational program launched

2008 – $800,000 in private giving to seed OCC Maritime Training Center

2008 – Elevations & layout produced for proposed OCC Maritime Training Center facility

2009 – EIR and preliminary engineering complete for proposed MTC

2010 – Completion of $4 million crew facility expansion/upgrade (measure C)

2012 – Donation of Nordic Star / Complete refit begins for training/charter vessel

2015 – Nordic Star certified by USCG as instructional and charter vessel


2019 – Ground breaks for the construction of the PMTC with funding provided by OCC Foundation and Measure M.

2020 – The “Mariner’s Mile” pedestrian skyway over PCH is erected

2020 – Sarah Hirsch named Director Maritime Center

2021 – Coast Community College District recognizes the Sailing/Rowing Base and soon-to-open PMTC as the Orange Coast College Waterfront Campus

2021Orange Coast College is designated as a Center of Excellence for Domestic Maritime Workforce Training and Education (CoE) for 2021

2021 – The Professional Mariner Training Center (PMTC) opens

2024Teaching a new batch of youth and adults lifelong boating