Santa Barbara Maritime Museum (SBMM) has been designated Nonprofit of the Year by the Chamber of the Santa Barbara Region.

Santa Barbara is a coastal community, with a strong, varied maritime history and the Santa Barbara Channel is an important part of local culture. SBMM opened its doors to the public in July 2000 in the Waterfront Center Building, formerly the Naval Reserve Building, with the unique mission of interpreting the rich maritime history of the Santa Barbara Channel.

Founded by a group of fishermen, divers and sailors, SBMM was envisioned as a place where the public could experience and learn about the area’s maritime culture and resources without leaving the harbor.

From its inception, SBMM has been a resource for and active partner with schools throughout the county serving students, teachers, and parents through activities at the museum, in the harbor and in the classroom, many serving Title I schools at a reduced rate or at no charge.

The nomination video was recorded by Lure Digital and played by the chamber prior to awarding SBMM its Nonprofit of the Year Award at its 12th annual Awards Luncheon Feb. 12. The video highlights some of the museum’s activities that led to this award: Visit

Some of the museum’s most popular programs include the Spirit of Dana Point Tall Ship program (4th graders who live the lives of 19th century sailors aboard a tall ship); Marine Science and Ocean Connections (3rd-6th graders who experience a boat ride and scientific investigation); and Museum on the Move, Love Letters to the Sea, field trips and group tours, which can be adapted for all ages.

Halfway through the 2019-20 school year, 60 classes and more than 2,000 students already have benefited from the SBMM’s programs. And, no child is left ashore because of cost.

SBMM also partners with other organizations to further serve the community. During the 2019-20 fiscal year, SBMM has partnered with the Santa Barbara Sea Glass and Ocean Arts Festival, Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center, and Southern California Artists Painting for the Environment (SCAPE) to bring maritime-related arts to the community.

In addition to offering its topical lecture series and related exhibits, this past fall, SBMM hosted Alternative Uses of the Oil Platforms, an expo of tabling and presentations to provide people the opportunity to learn and talk about their various ideas for decommissioned oil platforms off the California Coast.

For more information, visit or call 805-962-8404.