Oakland at Work: A sailor’s life for me
on January 30, 2012
Oakland at Work is a new series profiling Oaklanders with odd or interesting professions. Know someone who qualifies? Email us at email@example.com.
Though Mary Swift-Swan has traversed the Bay Area’s many estuaries and coastlines since she was 3 years old, she didn’t settle into the nonstop, unpredictable life of a sailor until she was well into her 30s. Now, as a licensed captain and the owner of Afterguard Sailing Academy, located near Oakland’s Brooklyn Basin, she spends almost every day on the water—giving sailing lessons, leading ocean tours and preparing for the occasional long distance race. Though her vessels usually stay in the Bay, she sometimes sets her sails for San Diego, Hawai’i or Cabo San Lucas.
But her favorite part of the job, she says, is mentoring students from Oakland International High School and Oakland Street Academy, through a youth program she began, which teaches kids the basics of sailing and boat building. “Some of these kids have never been outside of Oakland,” said Swift-Swan, who makes a point of taking her students throughout the East Bay, around the peninsula and up and down the coastlines of Marin during their time together. “I fell in love with the kids of Oakland,” she said. “They’re the reason I decided to open my business here.”
Oakland North welcomes comments from our readers, but we ask users to keep all discussion civil and on-topic. Comments post automatically without review from our staff, but we reserve the right to delete material that is libelous, a personal attack, or spam. We request that commenters consistently use the same login name. Comments from the same user posted under multiple aliases may be deleted. Oakland North assumes no liability for comments posted to the site and no endorsement is implied; commenters are solely responsible for their own content.
Oakland North is an online news service produced by students at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and covering Oakland, California. Our goals are to improve local coverage, innovate with digital media, and listen to you–about the issues that concern you and the reporting you’d like to see in your community. Please send news tips to: firstname.lastname@example.org.