Hundreds Of Area Students Tour Tall Ship In OC

Hundreds Of Area Students Tour Tall Ship In OC

OCEAN CITY — Just two days into the new school year, area students were treated to a rare learning opportunity  when they were given tours of the replica 16th century tall ship El Galeon Andalucia, which arrived in Ocean City last Wednesday and will remain in the resort until Sept. 2.
Through a partnership with the National Air, Sea and Space Foundation, which worked with the town of Ocean City to bring the tall ship El Galeon Andalucia to the resort, the Worcester County Board of Education arranged for local students to tour the ship this week in what turned out to be part early school year field trip and part educational experience.
Starting Wednesday morning, hundreds of students from Snow Hill Middle and Berlin Intermediate began touring the majestic vessel. National Air, Sea and Space Foundation President Bryan Lilley, who also produces the annual Ocean City Air Show, worked with school officials to make the tours possible.
“We love to be able to offer students the opportunity to step back in time and see what it must have been like to sail the open ocean in this ship,” Lilley said this week. “Our foundation was set up to help students learn more about air, sea and space, so this just made sense.”
El Galeon Andalucia, a replica of a 16th Century Spanish galleon, calls St. Augustine, Fla. its home base on the Atlantic and was on a return trip from New York City to a stop in Puerto Rico. The foundation, which promotes tours of the ship, was looking for a pit stop along the Atlantic to break up the trip from New York to Puerto Rico and Lilley approached Ocean City officials about a late summer, 12-day stop in the resort.
El Galeon came through the Inlet last Wednesday morning amid much fanfare and celebration and then narrowly passed through the Route 50 drawbridge to its berth along the bulkhead between 3rd and 4th streets. Through the last week or so, thousands have toured the vessel, which is open to public tours each dHundreds1ay from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Beginning Wednesday, an estimated 457 local students got a first-hand look at the vessel inside and out and gained valuable lessons about the history of the ship and life at sea from crew members, teachers and staff.
“We are grateful for the generosity of this foundation to allow our students to experience this amazing ship,” said Worcester County Schools Coordinator of Instruction Joshua Fradel. “Just seeing it from the outside is one thing, but being able to explore it inside and learn about how crews survived the high seas for months at a time is a special treat.”
Fradel said the logistics of getting 457 students from Berlin, Snow Hill and Pocomoke schools in and out of Ocean City to tour the ship on the third and fourth day of the school year presented challenges, but it was worth the effort.
“We are so happy we were able to pull it off this quickly in the school year, but we recognized the educational component of such a visit,” he said.