Sarah Hirsch is the Director of the Maritime Center at Orange Coast College overseeing the organization and integration of academic and recreational boating, seamanship education, fleet development, and fundraising to educate commercial mariners and boaters alike. She joined Orange Coast College in August 2019 as the Manager of Community Boating Programs and in July 2020 became the Director of Orange Coast College’s Maritime Center, which encompass the School of Sailing and Seamanship, the David A. Grant Collegiate Rowing Center, and the Maritime Training Center (opening June 2021).
Sarah grew up in a sailing family, spending her youth on Lake Huron and Lake Michigan. She began sailing professionally while in college at the University of Michigan, as crew on a charter sailboat hailing from Chicago.
After graduating in 2005 with a degree in Sociology, Sarah worked her way from Deckhand to Mate to Captain while sailing on Tall Ships and working for non-profit, educational organizations with sail-training missions. She holds a US Coast Guard 1600 Ton All-Oceans Master’s License. She has crossed the Atlantic 3 times under sail with crews of student sailors and has also sailed with students on oceanographic cruises between California, Hawaii, and the South Pacific.
Sarah has managed major shipyard projects while working as the Chief Mate and Captain for Sea Education Association on their 134′ Brigantines, SSV Corwith Cramer. and SSV Robert C. Seamans. As a staff captain, Sarah coordinated repair and upgrade projects for boats donated to the United States Merchant Academy Sailing Foundation.
In 2015, Sarah received a Master of Arts in Education from Central Michigan University, concentrating in Adult Education. She has designed mariner training curriculum and risk management protocols using her shipboard leadership experience and formal education to inform her work.
Sarah and her husband, and young son have recently bought a Dana 24 – a small ocean cruising sailboat – and look forward to cruising the local waters of Southern California as a family.