Join us for community learning!

Our Speaker Series consists of informational gatherings designed to spark discussions on topics relevant to our Cape Cod community and PBCB’s mission: boating, marine science, and environmental stewardship. The guest speakers and topics are varied and presentations are followed by a Q&A as we encourage guest participation. 

Each year we plan for 8-10 events that are a  mix of virtual via zoom, hybrid (both on campus and via zoom), and in-person on our campus.  All are welcome to attend.  These events are offered free to the public, but contributions are accepted. We thank the Chatham and Orleans local councils, as well as the Mass Cultural Council for their support of this program.



Click here to access previously recorded talks. 

Join us in person or via zoom. All attendees must register. 

FRIDAY, April 19 2024 at 5 p.m. (free)

Speaker Series: Navigation and Sea Stories Part 1

Please join us in Hillside meeting room to hear guest speaker Dale Harper talk all things Navigation. For those interested in taking it one step further, Part 2 will be a hands-on workshop on Saturday morning.

This event is free, includes refreshments, and is open to 40 participants. This can be a stand-alone event, you are not required to attend Part 2.

About the guest speaker: Dale grew up spending summers on Cape Cod learning to sail at the Orleans Yacht Club on Town Cove, as well as racing & cruising on Nantucket Sound with his aunt & uncle.  After graduating from High School in Wells, Maine, he went on to pursue a degree in Navigation from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. Dale raced with the MMA sailing team, and other big boat sailing programs around Cape Cod, Buzzards Bay and Narragansett Bay. Upon graduation, he began working in the Commercial Shipping Industry Marine Transportation. Starting out on Tug Boats in New York Harbor as a deck hand, then a Mate. Dale was eager to get onboard larger ships and upgrade his USCG license. He then went on to the oil industry working as a Mate onboard 600’ Tankers.  After getting his Unlimited Tonnage Masters License, he began a 5-year training apprenticeship program with Northeast Marine Pilots and became a full Pilot in 2020. Dale still races sailboats and cruise for recreation and loves every moment spent on the water.

This event is free and open to the public. All guests must register. We will also offer a zoom link for those who want to livestream the event. Reach out to Jennifer with any questions at

SATURDAY, April 20 2024 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. ($30)

Workshop: Small Boat Navigation of Pleasant Bay and Beyond Part 2

Join us for a hands-on navigation workshop with the pros and learn to read charts, chart your own course using wind, tide and time.  Workshop includes light refreshments, charts, and instruction. Participants can bring your own lunch. Class is limited to 25 people so register now to reserve your space. Workshop participants are encouraged to attend both Part 1 and Part 2.


THURSDAY, March 28, 2024 at 5 p.m.

Speaker Series: Community-Based Collaborative Fisheries Research; Cape Cod Fishermen and Scientists Studying the Ocean Together

Come hear from Owen Nichols how local fishermen and shellfish farmers in the area are working with scientists to understand the effects of environmental change and human activity on marine habitat, collecting vital data for sustainable fisheries management while building community.

About the guest speaker: Owen Nichols is Director of Marine Fisheries Research at the Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown, Massachusetts, where he conducts research in collaboration with Cape Cod fishermen and shellfish farmers. His primary interests include distributional ecology, fisheries oceanography, marine mammal/fishery interactions, and ecosystem-based fishery management. Owen is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Massachusetts – Dartmouth School for Marine Science and Technology, a guest investigator at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and an adjunct professor at the University of Massachusetts – Boston, the Massachusetts Maritime Academy and the Shoals Marine Laboratory.

This event is free and open to the public. All guests must register. We will also offer a zoom link for those who want to livestream the event. Reach out to Jennifer with any questions at


FRIDAY, November 17, 2023 at 3 p.m.

Speaker Series: Identifying Fungi of Cape Cod

Guest speaker and local fungi expert, Wesley Price, led us through an informative 30-minute slide show presentation on mushroom identification in the PBCB Hillside classroom. We walked around the campus to collect fungi, and then gathered back in the Hillside classroom to observe magnified structures under microscopes.

About the guest speaker: Wesley Price is an amateur mycologist (one who studies fungi), who founded the Cape Cod Mycological Society in 2013. He earned a B.S. in Biology with a concentration in Microbiology. Wesley has led various talks and walks around Cape Cod and shares his passion for fungi to inspire a deeper understanding and respect for the eco system, which supports the biodiversity of life on earth.

The event is free and open to all.

THURSDAY, October 19, 2023 at 5 p.m.

Speaker Series: CG36500 with Johnny Sinopoli and John Norton

Thank you to our guest speakers John Norton and Johnny Sinopoli and all who came out to the detailed story of the heroic rescue by the U.S.Coast Guard of 32 men from the sinking SS Pendleton. Fighting tremendous wave action, they crossed the Chatham bar and proceeded to the wreck site without a compass or stars to guide them. Numerous conditions combined to cause the breakup of the T-2 tanker in the first place, and still more  factors impeded the rescue. This rescue is considered the greatest small boat rescue in Coast Guard history. After years of neglect, the refurbished CG36500 now summers at Rock Harbor, Orleans MA.

THURSDAY, September 28 OR October 5, 2023 at 5 p.m.

Speaker Series: Bog Walk with Herb Heidt

Guests enjoyed a guided tour of the Three Towns Cranberry Bog, just across the street from the PBCB campus. Local naturalist, Herb Heidt, talked about the history of the commercial cranberry industry, and specifically the history of this bog–which does span 3 towns! Everyone was thrilled to learn more about cranberry growing and harvesting, as well as the bog’s flora and fauna. The guided tour was followed by refreshments in the PBCB boathouse. 

FRIDAY, JULY 28, 2023 in the PBCB Boathouse

Speaker Series: Over the Bar with Joe Nickerson

We were thrilled to welcome 40 guests for a talk with Joe Nickerson, author of Over the Bar, in the boathouse. Books are available for purchase at the Yellow Umbrella Bookstore on Main Street, Chatham. About the author: Once upon a time, Chatham was a bustling little fishing village with shanties along the shore and all manner of boats in the harbor. In his debut, longtime fisherman Joe Nickerson shares his experiences growing up on and along the water, the fishing practices that made the region noteworthy, and why the days of yesteryear mattered. From the unique cast of characters you meet along the way, to the unforgettable moments at sea, “Over the Bar” keeps a part of history alive.

FRIDAY, JUNE 30, 2023

Speaker Series: An Introduction to Sailboat Racing with Chris Snow

Thank you to Chris Snow for sharing his experience and knowledge with racers of all levels. He covered some fundamentals like understanding the start, “reading” the wind, deciphering your sailing area, and the rules of racing and why they should not intimidate you. About the guest speaker: Chris grew up in Orleans and learned to sail at Orleans Yacht Club. Sailing around the lower Cape he sailed Daysailers, Widgeons, Beetle Cats and whatever else he could get his hands on. After college, he started a 35 year career in sailmaking, eventually managing the One Design division for North Sails based in San Diego, CA. He worked selling, making and developing sails for a wide range of one design classes from Opti’s to the Olympic classes. Chris is an 8 time National/North American champion in the J/24 class and has many top finishes in a wide range of classes. The Snow family is a group of accomplished sailors, Chris’s wife Mary and his son’s Nevin and Patrick were all All-American sailors in college. Their son Nevin is currently pursuing an Olympic campaign in the 49er class. Chris and Mary are excited to be back on the Cape and recently settled into North Chatham. Chris is the current chair of the US Sailing One Design class committee.


Speaker Series: PBCB Environmental Stewardship, Kelp and Eelgrass

Thank you to everyone who could join us! Pleasant Bay Community Boating is continuing its’ efforts to promote environmental stewardship. and we enjoyed sharing the various projects we are working on and ways to get involved. We are currently involved with an eelgrass restoration project, in which we will be hosting more workshops to learn more about eelgrass and recruit volunteers to assist in collecting citizen science data. About the guest speakers:  Jamie Nye started at PBCB in May of last year and is our new Science Coordinator. Previously he worked at the Catalina Island Marine Institute teaching Marine Biology, and at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and the Marine Biological Laboratory working in both aquaculture and animal husbandry. He also has worked at Walrus and Carpenter Oysters in Rhode Island where he started a kelp farm. Jamie is loves to teach, free-dive and scuba dive, hike, go clamming, and grow kelp! Lily Gooding is an AmeriCorps Cape Cod year 24 member originally from Beverly, Massachusetts. Lily recently graduated from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor where she studied Global Health and the Environment. Lily is serving with Pleasant Bay Community Boating, helping with estuary stewardship and our citizen science program. She has been working on and developing our current eelgrass project.


Speaker Series: Navigation

PBCB was thrilled to offer this unique two-day workshop focused on navigation skills – including understanding basic chart information, weather apps and plotting a course on the Bay. Guest speaker Neil Tomkinson shared his many years of cruising and sailing experience, and discussed the basics of navigation using the Navionics App and paper charts The 2nd day was a hands-on navigation workshop. Participants plot their own course using wind, tide and time-the logistics we all need to sail comfortably and arrive home on time. About the guest speaker:  Neil Tomkinson began sailing on Long Island Sound with his dad in a Cape Cod Knockabout. He made his way to Cape Cod in the early seventies sailing into Saquatucket Harbor on his Swedish Weekender, Valhalla and has continued to sail, race and cruise on many boats. He and Priscilla now cruise on Chinook, their 37′ Nordic Tug with their furry crew, Lucy. Many of you might recognize their Sandpiper, Sophie, sailing around Pleasant Bay and joining the Wednesday Catboat Series. Suzanne Leahy joined the PBCB staff in 2019 to develop a Catboat Program. Now in its 4th year, the program continues to grow and expand, encouraging folks at all levels to discover the joy of sailing on Pleasant Bay. Suzanne has worked and sailed on the Bay since moving to the Cape in 1993. She loves sharing her passion for both sailing and for Pleasant Bay. Teaching has always a core value and one that Suzanne shares with PBCB. Her position here is a dream come true, incorporating her love of sailing, catboats, teaching, and sharing the knowledge that she has gained from the many generous sailors and teachers she has met over the years.


Speaker Series: Can Art Save the Ocean?

Thank you to everyone who joined us! The ‘A Year of Plastic’ project was started after photographer/conservation artist Sarah Thornington realized the sheer quantity of plastic marine debris she was picking up on a regular basis from Cape Cod beaches. She spent a year doing a beach clean-up every single day, counting and documenting the plastic debris she found as well as posting daily on her Instagram account, @EbbtheTide. To keep awareness on the plastic problem, she creates art and displays with some of the almost 21,000 objects she found during that time and ongoing, her count is now well above 30,000 pieces rescued from the sea. She’s had many shows of this work, locally and across the country. In addition to exhibits and shows, Sarah presents programs and workshops for adults, youth and children, recently completing a mural project with 60+ teens/tweens. About the guest speaker: Sarah Jane Thornington is a portrait photographer & conservation artist who has lived on Cape Cod for the past 30 plus years. A passionate protector of the planet, she can often be found cleaning the beaches- alone or as part of the Center for Coastal Studies ‘Beach Brigade’, creating with the marine-debris found to keep awareness on our single-use plastic problem, or talking about the issues through workshops and presentations. Sarah has completed both the Expert and Leadership tracks of the UN Environment Massive Online Open Course on marine debris through the University of the Netherlands. She recently completed a course of Communicating the Value of Biodiversity. Sarah is also a recipient of the national volunteer award, A Daily Point of Light for her continued work to keep awareness on the issues facing our ocean.