Challenging and inspiring young people since 1986

About us

The shipThe Leeuwin Ocean Adventure Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation based in Fremantle, Western Australia. We are an award-winning provider of experiential learning and leadership development programmes, mainly aimed at young people aged 14-25.

Our mission is to challenge and inspire young people to realise their personal potential and make a positive contribution to the wider community, through the unique medium of a tall sailing ship.

Our ship, the STS Leeuwin II is Western Australia's own Tall Ship, a 3-masted barquentine with over 810 square metres of sail and an overall length of 55 metres. Leeuwin II is a working ship and all voyage participants are expected to be involved in most aspects of ship operations, from sailing, steering and navigating to cleaning the ship and climbing the mast. You find more information about the ship here.

Challenge by choice
Leeuwin operates under the principle of ‘challenge by choice’ - the level of the challenge is up to each individual. Our 28 years of operation clearly demonstrate that the more each participant is willing to challenge themselves, the more they take away from the experience.

Youth leadership development programmes
Since 1986 the Leeuwin Ocean Adventure Foundation has provided exciting and life-changing sailing programmes to more than 35,000 participants from all over Australia and from a wide section of society. In the last three years, 55% of voyage participants came from outside the Perth metro area, and we welcomed about as many young woman as men onboard.

Our main voyage programme is our experiential learning and leadership development programme for 14-25 year olds. The Youth Explorer Voyage Program provides youth with both psychological skills – self-confidence, self-esteem, team work – as well as sociological skills – acceptance and co-operation of other- to enable them to be better citizens. Each year, our sailing schedule includes 18 seven-day life-changing voyages.

Once a year, we also invite anyone aged 16 and over to join us for our Open Adventurer Voyage.

The Ultimate Challenge
We are proud to be the only tall ship in Australia to offer a voyage specifically designed for young people with a physical, sensory or intellectual limitation that prevents them from participating in a Youth Explorer Voyage. The Ultimate Challenge Voyage gives them the chance to experience a life changing sailing adventure in a safe and supportive environment.

For more information on our voyage programmes, please visit our Voyages section.

In addition to our voyage programmes, we run 3-hour day sails from October to April that are open to the general public.

Volunteers
Our Foundation cannot exist without the enthusiastic and dedicated support of our volunteers. Each time the Leeuwin leaves the wharf, the permanent Leeuwin crew of just five, needs to be supplemented with at least 6 qualified volunteers for each voyage and/or day sail.
Our unique group of more than 350 volunteers, the Red Shirt Crew, consists of former trainees that have signed on to continue their skills development and guide the next group of trainees through the programmes. They give up their spare time (and often annual leave) to take the opportunity to continue to sail on the Leeuwin and keep in touch with their mates.

We are also proud to have an energetic group of volunteers that help with the ongoing maintenance of the ship.

For more information about volunteering with the Leeuwin, visit our Volunteering section.