1st Voyage - Quiet after 120 days at sea

  • September 2018 - Receiving the boat kit

    Starting in September, each fourth grade class at Richmond Elementary School received a boat kit and started planning the construction and launching of Hull #013 of the Columbia River Maritime Museum’s Fleet.

  • November 2018 - Preparations

    Once in Japan Nate Sandel, Education Director at the Columbia River Maritime Museum meet with the mayor of Hachinohe and then got to works with the students from Kanehama Elementary School, all eight of them! The students loaded the cargo, sealed the hatch, painted the sail and the boats name on the transom.

    After eights weeks of planning and construction the Blue Team at Richmond Elementary School finished their Miniboat and were ready to send it to Japan with the Education Director of the Columbia River Maritime Museum for launching.

    Cargo Figurehead Team
    Sail Team’s Sketch
    Deck Team






    Photo/Video Team
    Keel Team’s Epoxy Work
    Hull Team’s Paint Scheme






  • November 15, 2018 - Launch day

    Location– 30km off the coast of Hachinohe, Japan

    Early in the morning students from Okuki Elementary School carried the boats to the fishing port and loaded all three Miniboats onto the launch boat.

    After an amazing dance the International Relations Team from the City of Hachinohe, representatives from the Hachinohe School Board, and Nate Sandel from the Columbia River Maritime Museum all headed out to sea to launch the Miniboats.

  • March 15, 2019 - Quiet at sea

    After 120 days at sea the Kanehama II stopped sending us its location. We have a good feeling that she is still sailing and hope one day she is recovered.


The Columbia River Maritime Museum’s Miniboat Program was developed in partnership with Educational Passages and the Consular Office of Japan in Portland. Students in the Pacific Northwest build unmanned sailboats equipped with GPS transmitters, one to launch from the coast of North America and the other to send to their partner class in Japan for launching.

While the boats are at sea, students on opposite sides of the Pacific Ocean will track their movements. Using real-time data on ocean currents and weather, students will share their predictions on where the boats will go next, and hopefully create lasting friendships.

The mission: to get the boats to cross the Pacific Ocean.

The outcome: through hands-on activities and meaningful opportunities, students are enlightened and empowered


Richmond Elementary School is located in Port-land, Oregon and is a Japanese Immersion School. The entire 4th grade is participating in CRMM’s Miniboat Program during the 2018-2019 School Year.

The Japanese Immersion Program began in 1989 with two kindergarten classes at Richmond Elementary School. Now, a complete K-12 language immersion program with students starting at Richmond for kindergarten and stay-ing through 5th grade. At Richmond Elementary, students spend half their day learning in Japanese and the other half in English. Teachers provide lessons in literacy, math, science, and social studies in both languages.


The CRMM Miniboat Program is student driven with all the work and decisions being made independently by the students in their self assigned team.