About Us

Now in its fifth generation, Crawford Nautical School has been training mariners since 1923. Our grand-uncle Jack Sullivan opened the School in New Orleans. Twenty years later our grandparents, Capt. Lorcan F. Crawford and his wife Hannah, moved the school to San Pedro, California.

Crawford Nautical School, San Pedro, California

Since then the School has had branches in San Diego, Wilmington and San Francisco, California. Since 1985, the School has been located in Seattle, where we continue to prepare mariners for US Coast Guard Deck and Engine licensing examinations and STCW competencies in particular, and for the vocation of becoming good shipmates in general.

Our father William P. Crawford died in March 2013, fittingly while teaching. He was first licensed as Unlimited Master over 60 years ago, directed Crawford Nautical School’s California locations for 20 years and authored the Mariner series of highly regarded texts on terrestrial navigation, celestial navigation, weather and Rules of the Road. He continued teaching at our Seattle branch Crawford Nautical School, San Francisco, Californiafor another 20 years.

Instructors & Staff

Of our primary deck instructors, Captains John, Andrew and Thomas are all ship’s masters. Cumulatively grandfather, father, sons, and now cousin Jamie have amassed about 150 years on oceans — enough time to have learned that there is always more to learn about going to sea.

Samuel J. (Jamie) Crawford, Master Unlimited Oceans, has become an indispensable part of our school during his layovers between ships. Exploited ruthlessly by his cousins, he has helped numerous students on their way to their licenses.

Marcia Esser (Master 1600 Oceans) has joined us as primary Deck instructor. While much in demand on yachts transiting the Atlantic, Caribbean and Mediterranean, Marcia was born to teach.

Bruce Sherman is our Engineering Instructor. Retired as Chief Engineer, Bruce has an extensive background in the practice as well as the teaching of Engineering. He is also an accomplished musician.

Captain Fred Triggs (USN (retired) and Unlimited Master) adds his considerable strengths to the teaching staff in both Deck and Engine subjects.

The school administrator and heartbeat is our niece Jane Fay, ably supported by her sister, Moira Crawford.

Finally Patsy continues to pinch hit for the other instructors and help mariners plot out career paths in the maritime industry.