First Year Experience
First Year Experience
You do not have to be a freshmen or a MAST major to enter into the program. This program is an exciting time for students to experience what it truely is like to take care of a 19th century shipe.
ELISSA is a three-masted, iron-hulled sailing ship built in 1877 in Aberdeen, Scotland by Alexander Hall & Company. She carries nineteen sails covering over one-quarter of an acre in surface area.
Join the first year experince class for once in a lifetime opportunity to train as a crewmember and sail aboard the 19th century tall ship ELISSA during your first semester as a Sea Aggie. Addmitance in the program does not require you to be a freshmen nor a MAST major. In partnership with the Texas Seaport Museum and the Galveston Historical Foundation you will be pulling lines, tying knots, climbing 90 feet into the rig, straining with your crewmates at the capstan and windlass, singing sea chanties as 10 people raise a yard in unison, walking around the ship over and over while memorizing the placement and use of 180 lines. You will help care for ELISSA from stem to stern by chipping rust, sanding teakwood, seizing manila lines, painting, tarring, sweeping, scrubbing, carpentering, and oiling. You will also be getting to know a lot of new people from all walks of life, learning and experiencing maritime history, culture, and earning college credit.
To complement your field experience, you will take Nautical Archaeology, Introduction to Maritime Cultures, and a special section of Composition and Rhetoric. This special package of popular classes is designed just for incoming freshmen. So come aboard the Maritime Studies Program at Texas A&M University at Galveston to reserve a spot in the First Year Experience.
Incoming students should submit a "letter of intent" with the MAST Program Director, Dr. Frederic Pearl, so that a space may be reserved. Participation in the First Year Experience is encouraged but not required. Other Maritime Studies students and non-MAST majors may apply for the Sailing ELISSA experience but will be placed on a priority wait list until after freshman enrollment. Contact the Maritime Studies Office for more information, or download and complete the First Year Application Form.
Sailing a 19th Century square-rigger involves a lot of physical labor. All incoming freshmen are eligible to participate in the program. Students will be matched with tasks appropriate to their fitness level. Students may be required to complete a medical evaluation prior to participation. This program fully complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act.