The Piscataqua Maritime Commission changes name to Sail Portsmouth
The Board of Directors announced the name change after the vote at their June 9 board meeting. They determined “Sail Portsmouth” better reflects the programs and events that underscore its mission of preserving and promoting awareness of the Seacoast region’s rich maritime history.
Extensive research over the last several months assessed how the public views the organization and gauged what name best reflects that view.
“Our organization has always been about tall ships, sail training, and local maritime history. We are committed to the greater Seacoast region. Sail Portsmouth is not only easier to say and remember, but conveys who we are, where we work and what we do”, explained Phil von Hemert, Board Chair of Sail Portsmouth.
The Portsmouth-based organization worked with a group of seniors and their professor, Peter Masucci, at the University of New Hampshire. The marketing students designed and conducted the research then formulated their recommendations as their capstone project before graduation from the Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics. This group of talented and insightful students took a variety of steps to reveal the public perception of the Piscataqua Maritime Commission, its programs, events and branding strategy.
Through surveys and focus groups, the team found that the public was very familiar with the annual Sail Portsmouth tall ship event which includes the parade of sail, but was not familiar with who actually put on the event – the Piscataqua Maritime Commission. They found very little public awareness of the organization’s two other program pillars, Sea Challenge and Maritime Talks.
Participants in the survey noted that the Piscataqua Maritime Commission name sounded too official, too governmental for a non-profit.
Conversely, the students found that “Sail Portsmouth” generated high name recognition, because that is the name attached to the annual tall ship event and because it is already embedded in the name of the organization’s website — https://sailportsmouth.org/.
The student group recommended an official change of name to “Sail Portsmouth” and it recommended a stepped-up effort on social media to make the public aware of the rebranding.
To that end, the board of directors at voted to change the name. The organization is now advertising for a social media intern to help it raise its profile and engage the public on the social media platforms of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and others as well as their website.
“We are looking for a college student who writes well and knows their way around social media platforms to help us expand our community impact, especially with young families”, reported von Hemert. Interested students may contact von Hemert at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced cancellation of Sail Portsmouth 2020 tall ship festival. A variety of circumstances including pandemic considerations and a lack of appropriately safe docking space forced a cancellation of events again in 2021.
The good news is other programs are being held this year, and the organization is gearing up for a return to normal scheduling in 2022.
Three Sea Challenge tall ship voyages are scheduled for this Summer. The Sea Challenge offers teenagers in the region an opportunity to participate in a fun, adventure-filled, experiential education program aboard tall ships.
Two of the trips are full, one for the Sea Cadets and one for Big Brothers Big Sisters of New Hampshire. Both programs are on the schooner Harvey Gamage.
The third program, open to all high school students from Seacoast New Hampshire and southeastern Maine, still has space available.
This year’s expedition is aboard the historic schooner Roseway. The program dates are Friday, July 23 to Friday, July 30, departing from Boston and arriving in Gloucester. Transportation to and from ports will be provided.
Tuition for this program is $1,500 and financial aid is available through partial and full scholarships from Sail Portsmouth.
For more information or to register, please contact one of the following:
John Considine at jconsidine@SailPortsmouth.org
Susan Johnson at email@example.com
Phil von Hemert at pvonhemert@SailPortsmouth.org
This year also will see the renewal of Tall Sips BrewFest. For the first time, the fundraiser for Sail Portsmouth’s Sea Challenge Scholarship Fund will be held at the Hampton Airfield. The date is Saturday, September 18 from 4 PM until 8 PM. Watch this space for more details.