Skipper’s Corner: Introducing Cortney Kingsley - Sailors for the Sea

Skipper’s Corner: Introducing Cortney Kingsley

 October 17, 2023  | By: Jennifer Brett

Our Skipper program is a network of dedicated sailors and boaters who are actively engaged in conservation and sustainability in their yacht clubs, schools, sailing organizations, and communities. We are excited to introduce one of our newest members, Cortney Kingsley! Cortney is based in Newport, Rhode Island, and is the education programs manager at Sail Newport, a community sailing center.

Sailors for the Sea: Can you share your sailing background and describe your role at Sail Newport?

Cortney Kingsley: I started sailing on inland lakes in Illinois when I was six years old on Scows. When I was program director at The Community Sailing School @ Pistakee, I took the train to Chicago for “big boat” racing. I was on the Northern Michigan University sailing team, which led me to being the clinic chair for the Midwest Collegiate Sailing Association for two years. While in college, I was the program director at the Lewes Yacht Club in Delaware. The following summer I started my first of many years at Sail Newport as a keelboat instructor. At first, Sail Newport was just a summer job while teaching middle school science, but after getting my master’s degree in education, I was asked to be the education programs manager. In this role, I have been part of organizing events that get kids and adults sailing and connected to the larger world of sailing. I am very involved with public sailing and have added an after-school program for middle school students to learn science, sailing, powerboating, and about careers in the marine industry.

SfS: How do you incorporate sustainability in the education programs?

CK: Sustainability is ingrained in many aspects of sailing and is a great platform to advocate for ocean health. Our Science and Sailing Program for elementary schoolers and the middle school Marine Exploration Program have lessons made in conjunction with Sailors for The Sea to keep trash out of our oceans by understanding the impact debris can make on beaches and waters. During our summer youth programs, we are teaching and reinforcing these same practices throughout young sailors’ days.

SfS: Why is ocean conservation education important for kids?

CK: Students who visit Sail Newport experience the ocean and all it has to offer, bringing them one step closer to protecting it. While at Sail Newport, there is a responsibility learned with being a sailor, including picking up trash, disposing of litter properly, and developing an inherent respect for the water and coastline. These young sailors will be the ones to champion strides toward keeping our waters and beaches clean.

SfS: What are you most excited about in your role as a Sailors for the Sea Skipper?

CK: I am most excited about all the collaboration opportunities with Sailors for the Sea through events and programs to educate more students and sailors about the waters they sail on and how to best keep them beautiful.