School programs

The Port of Tacoma is connected to many Pierce County educational programs, attends career fairs, will do public speaking engagements about the port and port careers, and has developed educational tools, all aimed at greater awareness of port and maritime careers.

For High School and College Bound youth

The Port of Tacoma may be able to provide a tour for students, an internship, apprenticeship, or provide a connection to a particular career in the Maritime industry. Please contact us if you are interested in any of these options.

Youth Marine Foundation

Youth Marine Foundation

The Youth Marine Foundation (YMF) is a maritime educational organization whose mission is committed to getting youth on the water, promoting environmental stewardship and providing job skills for future employment. YMF is a recognized 501(c)3 that operates the Tacoma Youth Marine Center on the Foss Waterway. The Youth Marine Center supports youth education, skill and character development with a variety of programs through partnerships with organizations including Sea Scouts, Tacoma Public Schools, Metro Parks Tacoma and local universities and colleges. The most robust partner, Tacoma Sea Scouts, offer coed year-round training and have been in continual operation since 1924.

Practical maritime skills are learned aboard two United States Coast Guard-licensed Sub Chapter-T Passenger vessels: SSS #110 Charles N. Curtis (a 78-foot retired Coast Guard Cutter) and SSS #190 Odyssey (a 90-foot sailing vessel). Both vessels provide year-round underway training platforms on which Tacoma Public Schools’ School of the Arts (SOTA) and Science and Math Institute (SAMI) marine science programs are able to conduct on-water testing in Commencement Bay. In addition, YMF owns and maintains a small fleet of 45-plus watercraft. Kayaks, small motorboats and small sailboats are used for hands on training and education of novice youth throughout the year. For more information on these opportunities, call 253-572-2666 or visit the YMF website.

Elementary school program

We have developed tools to introduce elementary school students to the concepts of trade and economics, along with how Port activities impact their community.

Designed with the Tacoma School District, the elementary school program is tailored for third grade students but has been successfully used in second and fourth grade classrooms. The mix-and-match elements make it easy to integrate the curriculum into lessons.

Teacher/Home schooling resource handbook

The in-class activities and worksheets found in the teacher resource handbook can be used individually or along with our third grade reading book, Gateway to the World.

Gateway to the World reading book

Copies of "Gateway of the World: The Story of Pierce County's Port" are available free of charge to Pierce County elementary schools and home school groups. Request copies from Leslie Barstow.

Foss Waterway Seaport Museum

Discover where history meets science with exciting, hands-on learning activities. The Seaport provides a safe and supportive learning environment with educational programs for all ages, including museum field trips, boat programs, virtual education, and more. Visit or call 253-272-2750 to inquire.

Mapping ocean currents with rubber ducks

10 Little Rubber Ducks

In January 1992, a container vessel traveling from Hong Kong to the Port of Tacoma encountered a large storm. Twelve containers washed overboard into the Pacific Ocean, including one filled with 29,000 rubber ducks, frogs, beavers and turtles.
Caught in ocean currents, the rubber ducks circled the globe and were found on shores around the world. They appeared on the U.S. West Coast 10 months after the storm, in Japan and Hawaii between 1992 and 1995, on the U.S. East Coast between 1995 and 2000, and in the United Kingdom between 2000 and 2007. The rubber ducks’ journey inspired Eric Carle’s children's book "
10 Little Rubber Duckies” and the adult book “Moby Duck”. Both books are available at book sellers everywhere.