Greater New Bedford’s Community Boating Center, Inc. (CBC),  a community outreach center that connects Greater New Bedford’s at-risk youth with mentors to enhance their lives through boating, begins its 16th season this spring with a new executive director, Andrew Herlihy.

A passionate sailor and Dartmouth resident, Herlihy served as CBC’s Assistant Director from 2000-2002, when he helped chart CBC’s  instruction, outreach, fundraising, and marketing efforts. He returns to the organization after ten years in the private sector, first with Stirrings, the all-natural cocktail mix company, where he was instrumental in manufacturing process planning, budgeting, and management, and then as a Project Manager with Sentri, a Microsoft Gold Partner,  and Oomph a web strategy, development and design firm.

An expert sailor, Herlihy intends to impart the life lessons that he has learned on the water as a crew member and at the helm to the 500 children who experience CBC’s programs each year. “Boating is the perfect tool for teaching. When a child steps on a boat for the first time they are forced to rely on their instructors and fellow sailors as they are in an environment so far out of their comfort zones. This helps us to quickly break down barriers and to form special bonds with each child” says Herlihy.  “I am excited to be back at CBC working with such a dedicated group of Instructors. Our instructors are what truly makes CBC successful and it takes a special type of person to be a CBC instructor.”

Herlihy’s lifelong love of sailing was fostered as a child, when he sailed with his family around Buzzards Bay and the Cape and Islands, and he continues to sail with his wife Liz and two children on their sloop Mi Girl. He sailed at Georgetown University, where he graduated in 1998 with a degree in Economics. Since then he has crewed on three J109 North American Championships, and is extremely active on the keelboat team race circuit as a six-time winner of the British American Cup sailing for Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club and is a multiple winner of the  Morgan Trophy, Baldwin Cup and Lee Trophy. In 2000, he placed third in the 2000 Olympic Soling trials. He is a member of the New Bedford Yacht Club.

Herlihy stresses, however, that CBC  is not a competitive sailing school, “Our main goal is to use sailing and boating to foster an environment in which  our youth have a place they can learn,  be comfortable and have fun.  CBC is a place where they can develop skills that will help them during the rest of the year — in school, and at home — and for the rest of their lives.” Learning to sail provides the foundation to instill these important life lessons.

CBC’s flagship Summer Youth Sailing Program is a step by step process in character development which uses sailing and boating as a tool to help instill important life lessons in its students, such as the values of integrity, sound judgment, teamwork and environmental awareness. During the Fall and Spring, CBC partners with other Greater New Bedford organizations to offer enrichment opportunities centered around boating for at-risk youth. These include sailing programs for Nativity Preparatory School, Global Learning Charter School and Alma Del Mar.

More about the CBC

In 1998, Community Boating Center incorporated as a 501(c)(3) public charity dedicated to enriching the lives of area youth by exposing them to a new and challenging environment built upon a foundation of trust and respect. The Community Boating Center staff, acting as role models, provide friendship and mentorship, teach responsibility and team work and demonstrate commitment and compassion with all Community Boating Center students. Safety, Fun and Education are the cornerstones of Community Boating Center programs. For many of these children, Community Boating Center’s on-the-water program is their first exposure to the marine environment right in their own backyard.