The Leeuwin Ocean Adventure Foundation has been given a significant boost after receiving a Lotterywest grant worth almost $2 million.
Leeuwin Foundation Chair Carol Shannon, said the grant will give the Leeuwin a fighting chance for the future.
“It will give us the opportunity to keep her sailing for hopefully another 25 years,” Ms Shannon said.
“We’ve been around for 25 years and we want to be here for at least the same amount again.”
Chief Operating Officer Chris Blake said the refit was well underway and more work would be done next year.
“We are relaying the deck at the moment and next year we’ll be renewing all the electrics and most of the plumbing,” Mr Blake said.
“We’ve also renewed 90 per cent of the rigging and the last bit will be renewed next year.
“At the end of the day it will give us a brand new ship.”
The Fremantle-based ship provides a unique sail experience for young people, helping them build leadership skills, self esteem and self confidence.
Mr Blake said that without ongoing financial support the foundation would not survive.
WA Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier, Donna Faragher, presented the Lotterywest grant.
“There are so many success stories that the Leeuwin can point to, particularly related to young people who might need a little more direction and help in life.
“I think the skills they learn on this ship through the help of the volunteers is outstanding and the opportunities they have are second to none.”
Once on board, the young sailors are responsible for all aspects of the ship including sailing, steering, navigating, cleaning and climbing the mast.
Since the program’s launch in 1986, almost 32,000 people have participated.
Since 1991, Lotterywest has supported the foundation to the tune of $4.5 million.
The Leeuwin will continue its summer youth program from the end of September, departing from Fremantle.