Sailing school awarded grant for river conservation lessons

Published 6:18 pm Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Little Washington Sailing School is getting some wind in its sails with a $32,512 grant from Duke Energy.

LWSS is one of 12 recipients of a Duke Energy’s Water Resources Fund grant, with a total of $940,000 going to organizations across North and South Carolina. The fund is part of the company’s $10-million commitment to “leave a legacy of improved water quality, quantity and conservation in the Carolinas and neighboring regions,” according to a press release.

“The reason we were awarded is because of the efforts made to teach the kids to keep the river clean,” said LWSS President David Norwood.

For 10 weeklong classes over summer, LWSS sailors not only learn how to sail, but participate in the Trash Wars, a competition to see who can pick up the most trash out of the river.

“Whoever collects the most trash by the end of the week gets a $5 award to go get ice cream from Scoops,” Norwood said.

In keeping with the grant’s purpose, this year, LWSS also will add a new scientifically minded class, Norwood said. The last class of the summer will incorporate STEM activities, such as water quality testing.

“We’ve sent off for other grants, but it’s nice to get one of this size that can really go to good use,” Norwood said.

LWSS will use the grant money for a variety of purposes: a new support/safety boat, including a new outboard motor and equipment, instructor education, dock maintenance, bimini tops and new lettering for the support boats. It will also provide funding for 20 scholarships, awarded to children who might otherwise not be able to afford to attend the class.

“This grant will help us better serve our community for a decade to come,” LWSS program Director Kevin Clancy said in the press release. “It will help us increase the number of children we can serve, allow us to offer the program to children that would otherwise not be able to participate and improve access to the Pamlico River. In so doing, we hope to help preserve our coastal boating heritage and way of life. We thank Duke Energy for their support, and we are excited for another season of introducing young sailors to the lifelong joy of sailing, beginning on the Pamlico River.”

LWSS is a nonprofit US Sailing-certified school dedicated to introducing children to the basic skills of seamanship and the fundamentals of sailing.

“Along with rigging, furling, and care of boats, the school seeks to build self-confidence, self-reliance, clean water norms and care for our waterway,” the press release states.

In addition to children’s classes, LWSS has added five weekend classes for adults — two scheduled before the children’s sessions start and three at the end of summer. For more information about LWSS, visit For more information about the Duke Energy Foundation, visit