School on the Hudson
The New School to be Exact
Eugene Lang College, of the New School offers a course each year entitled Lang on the Hudson in which students learn about the Hudson River estuary, harbor geography and the policies that are shaping the use of this water way after many years of neglect. Then they build a boat and set sail on the very river they have been learning about.
Students construct a 26-foot Whitehall gig, a traditional four-oared rowing vessel specifically designed for the waters of New York Harbor. Once the water warms up, they launch the boat and learn the basics of fixed-seat rowing and harbor seamanship.
From its description, this class seems to have struck the perfect balance of theory, science, politics, and hands on experience. I would argue that there are not that many people in the city who know how to build a Whitehall gig so these folks are clearly at an advantage if we ever need a bunch of those. But really, an opportunity to combine so many disciplines in one course is unique and I am eager to see that boat on the water. For more info, you can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.