NEWPORT, RI (August 2, 2018) – In July, Rhode Island Governor Gina M. Raimondo signed legislation making Sailing School Vessel (SSV) Oliver Hazard Perry the Official Flagship and Tall Ship Ambassador of Rhode Island. The 200 foot, three masted Class A Tall Ship is the first ocean-going full-rigged ship to be built in the U.S. in 110 years and the largest civilian Sailing School Vessel in the U.S.A., second in size only to the United States Coast Guard’s Barque Eagle. The non-profit organization Oliver Hazard Perry Rhode Island (OHPRI) completed the ship’s construction in 2015, largely in partnership with the Ocean State’s renowned marine trades and boat building industries.
“Rhode Island is proud to be the home port of SSV Oliver Hazard Perry,” said Governor Raimondo. “This Tall Ship has educated thousands and serves as a reminder of our state’s maritime heritage. Naming Oliver Hazard Perry Rhode Island’s “Official Flagship and Tall Ship Ambassador” is a fitting honor for such an important vessel.”
OHPRI Chairman Bart Dunbar added: “This is yet another milestone in SSV Oliver Hazard Perry’s life. Oliver Hazard Perry was a dream of a few individuals who then became hundreds of supporters of the cause to build and operate a Tall Ship for educational purposes and represent Rhode Island’s maritime industry and heritage. The ship has brought millions of dollars to the state’s economy and has been serving unofficially in the role of ambassador for Rhode Island for almost a decade now.”
SSV Oliver Hazard Perry’s main mast towers 13 ½ stories high, and collectively, its 19 wooden spars weigh almost 36 tons and total 25,182 board feet – enough to build a house of over 3700 square feet. The ship’s 20 sails require seven miles of standing rigging, and it uses biodiesel to maintain an ecologically-sound profile when not harnessing the wind with its massive 14,000 square feet of sail area.
“SSV Oliver Hazard Perry is a symbol of Rhode Island’s maritime history,” said Wendy Mackie, CEO of Rhode Island Marine Trades Association (RIMTA). “RIMTA is committed to working alongside OHPRI to promote on-the-water experiential education and to build out training opportunities as means for supporting the workforce pipeline in the marine industry.”
In March and April 2018, SSV Oliver Hazard Perry was visited by 40,000 people during deck tours in Jacksonville, Palm Beach, and the ports of call of the Tall Ships Gulf Challenge in Galveston, Pensacola and New Orleans. This Spring and Summer the shiphas been busy delivering high quality educational experiences at sea to young people throughout the New England and mid-Atlantic states.
SSV Oliver Hazard Perry is not a replica but a modern, steel-hulled vessel purpose-built for training and education to the highest modern safety standards. She sails in New England and the Canadian Maritimes during the summer and in Florida, the Bahamas and the Caribbean in the winter with 17-19 professional crew and up to 30 students and faculty.
More About OHPRI
Oliver Hazard Perry Rhode Island’s mission is to provide innovative, empowering education-at-sea programs that promote personal and professional growth. The mission is achieved by partnering with schools, organizations, and universities for unique experiential learning opportunities that incorporate STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) educational concepts. The non-profit organization offers a variety of onboard learning experiences to program partners as well as the broader public and also participates at festivals and other events to reinforce the importance of and interest in Rhode Island’s and America’s maritime history.
U.S. Navy Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry led the first U.S. naval victory over the British in the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812.