SAN PEDRO, Calif. — January 30, 2008 — During 2007, 11,471 5th-grade students from 125 schools participated in the Port of Los Angeles’ School Boat Tour Program – 24 percent increase in school participation and an 11 percent increase in student participation over 2006, a new record for the 11-year-old program, which was created in cooperation with the Los Angeles Unified School District. The tours are provided free of charge by the Port as well as a subsidy for bus transportation. 

In addition to the school program, the Port hosted boat tours for more than 16,700 visitors from business and community groups during 2007, including an estimated 9,800 visitors during the World Trade Week free boat tours last May. This year, the Port of Los Angeles World Trade Week free boat tours will be offered May 17 -18, 2008. 

In 2007, a total of 139 classes took boat tours over a 41-week period. Schools from the San Fernando Valley - including Woodland Hills, Reseda, Northridge and Sylmar - accounted for nearly 10% of the total number of tours. The Port’s Speakers Bureau conducted more than 40 elementary school classroom visits to prepare students for their boat tour experience, a 62 percent increase over 2006. Students participated in the program as a complement to their LAUSD local history curriculum. ”Our students were thoroughly interested in the entire tour! The tour really tied into our study of California and geography. Great links to economics as well. The tour combined many facts as well as a boating experience my students had not had before. This was a terrific experience!” stated J. Keppel, a teacher at Cold Water Canyon Elementary School.

With a narrated 55-minute boat tour departing from Ports O’ Call Village in San Pedro, the Port’s School Boat Tour Program provides a unique, up-close opportunity for youths to see the daily operations of the nation’s leading container port. For younger students, the Port arranged rides on its Waterfront Red Car Line to provide a transportation adventure of days gone by when the red cars ruled the Southern California transportation system. 

Trixy A., a fifth grade student at Toluca Lake Elementary School, wrote in a thank you card, “I learned that ports are very important because without them we would not be able to get any clothes or food imported from another country. I know the water in the port is kept very clean because the boats don’t put oil in the ocean…I like that someone came to our class to teach us about the port.”

The School Boat Tour Program has grown in popularity as teachers have discovered that the tours add real value to their classroom curriculum. 

Teachers have also found that the tours bring to life the concept and scale of global trade as students see shipping containers being loaded and unloaded from massive cargo ships by giant cranes. Students also experience the diversity of operations within the Port, as well as a myriad of places of interest. 

Greater Los Angeles metropolitan area schools, learning institutions, groups or organizations that are interested in Port of Los Angeles boat tours can receive more details by calling the Community Relations team at (310) 732-3508. For more information on the Port, please visit the website at www.portoflosangles.org.

The Port of Los Angeles, also known as “America’s Port,” has a strong commitment to developing innovative strategic and sustainable operations that benefit the economy and the quality of life for the region and the nation it serves. A recipient of numerous environmental awards, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's 2007 Clean Air Excellence Award, the Port of Los Angeles is committed to innovating cleaner, greener ways of doing business. As the leading seaport in North America in terms of shipping container volume and cargo value, the Port generates 919,000 regional jobs and $39.1 billion in annual wages and tax revenues. A proprietary department of the City of Los Angeles, the Port is self-supporting and does not receive taxpayer dollars. The Port of Los Angeles - A cleaner port. A brighter future.