Set Sail with Nova Scotia Sea School

The Nova Scotia Sea School has provided youth with sea and wilderness adventures that spark joy and develop practical life skills for almost thirty years. Their programs range from sea kayaking, wilderness, and winter camping to day hikes and sailing programs.  

Over 5000 youth, ages 13 to 19 years old, have kept the Sea School’s programs afloat. During the summer, the sea school works with 100 youth in their multi-day adventures, with another 200 youth in day programs and workshops throughout the year. Participants learn communication and technical skills and have noted how the programs have inspired self-confidence, leadership and a sense of belonging.  

“On a Sea School experience, young people make new friends while connecting with the beauty of Nova Scotia and recognizing their role in preserving it,” said Heather Kelday, Executive Director of Nova Scotia Sea School. “Participants gain firsthand experience of maritime traditions, learn healthy living and build strong environmental ethics.” 

The organization has a strong understanding of the need to be socially and culturally responsible due to systemic barriers and historic stigmas that can surround sailing. The Sea School has been working with a cultural facilitator throughout the last five years to ensure their programs include cultural safety, accessible ocean experiences, and collaborative planning with community partners.  

“This is an ongoing practice and commitment that extends from our staff to our board members and volunteers,” said Kelday. “Each year, we provide mandatory training that engages our team in current best practices for cultural inclusion specific to the populations we want to welcome to our programs.”  

Community support over the last thirty years has been crucial to the growth and sustainability of the organization, and has come in many forms, including over 100 community partners, volunteers and funding agencies. Every aspect plays an essential role. Community partners play a pivotal role in youth referrals, training and program design, while volunteers are beacons for strategic direction and innovation.  

“Our organization has been recognized provincially in community, recreation and marine sectors for our high-quality outdoor recreation programs,” said Kelday. “Witnessing the transformation of a youth participant from the day they start with Sea School until their graduation is incredible.” 

The Sea School offers a variety of programming all year round; if you want to learn more, visit their website at For any questions or inquiries, email at or phone 902-423-7284.  

The Nova Scotia Sea School programming and commitment to cultural inclusion was made possible with the assistance of Sport Nova Scotia’s Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Accessibility grant. For more information about how Sport Nova Scotia can help support your community sport initiative, check out our Sport Fund eligibility.

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