Youth Marine brings Training Vessel to Tacoma

The Tacoma Youth Marine Foundation will soon be home to a state-of-the-art training vessel designed to provide maritime skill training and marine science education for youth.

The Youth Marine Foundation (YMF) today launched its capital campaign to purchase MV Baysmart Express and bring it to their campus on the Foss Waterway. The Ben B. Cheney Foundation made a substantial donation to lead the effort as the Platinum Funding Sponsor. The capital campaign is the largest in YMF history.

“We have had 98 years of successful youth development in Tacoma, but our current wooden vessels are at capacity and aging out,” says YMF Executive Director/CEO Monique Valenzuela. “As we look to bridge the gap and provide on-water experiences to local youth, especially those traditionally underrepresented, bringing this world-class training vessel to Tacoma will take us into the next 90 years and expand our reach exponentially.”

Undergoing an extensive multi-million-dollar remodel in 2015, MV Baysmart Express was designed for maritime training that meets current industry standards and to provide marine science education using up-to-date technology and maritime systems. The intentional remodel took many years and was a dream realized by Captain Charles Doolin, a Dallas based philanthropist. Captain Doolin not only found the vessel and oversaw all aspects of its remodel, but he also personally skippered the vessel from Delaware to its current home in Galveston, Texas.

Being able to fulfill Mr. Doolin’s dream of seeing hundreds of youth on the vessel is an honor that Youth Marine Foundation board president Tom Rogers can understand. As a 60-year volunteer on the wooden vessel Charles N Curtis and co-founder of the non-profit, he has witnessed the life-changing programs firsthand. “I look forward to continuing the work and legacy of Captain Doolin in the Puget Sound Region,” said Tom Rogers. “This vessel offers the
continued opportunity to bring more of our youth to nearby waters to learn about our environment and maritime jobs, while learning to be future leaders in our community.”

The Youth Marine Foundation programs are conducted on the organization’s Thea Foss Waterway campus and docks. With its fleet of vessels and access to large commercially licensed training vessels, hundreds of young people have successfully entered the maritime industry and become leaders in the community.

The MV Baysmart Express is a 100-ton aluminum vessel that was completely remodeled in 2015 and is commercially licensed. The vessel can accommodate 100 passengers with a licensed captain and two deckhands. Visit to learn more and view the vessel.