Located in the fishing village of Sumartin on the island of Brac, Croatia, the organization Maritima Educare (aka Maritime Education Association or MEA) exists to help support and enhance both the traditional maritime heritage and the contemporary maritime culture of the local community.

Island Brac, Sumartin, Croatia

To accomplish this, Maritima Educare is currently engaged in the restoration of Croatian wooden BOAT PROJECTS, youth and young adult maritime education PROGRAMS, and development of maritime festival EXHIBITS.

We invite you to step into the story and follow along with us as our public benefit activities continue to expand.


Maritima Educare is a non-profit, nonpartisan, and nongovernmental association officially established in February 2017 in Croatia by a group of maritime enthusiasts. The association was founded with the aim of preserving Croatian maritime heritage by actively engaging in the traditional shipbuilding craft and related maritime skills of the Dalmatian Coast.


Maritime heritage is appreciated and recognized as both important and valuable in Croatian society. Wooden boats are used and well maintained on the waterfront throughout the Croatian coast and islands, and there are real opportunities for quality education for trades in support of wooden boats.

2020 Officers

Ivo Mardešić

Vice President
A. Michael Vlahovich

Secretary Treasurer
Lovorka Šimunec


Wooden boats are a significant piece of Croatia’s tangible cultural heritage. They are physical objects that were designed, built, maintained and operated by community members over the years. Maritima Educare believes that each Croatian wooden boat is worth protecting, and their story worth telling for generations to come.

Mala Barka

Maritima Educare’s skill training vessel, Mala Barka, is currently undergoing restoration. A former seine skiff for a Sumartin based sardine fishing boat, Mala Barka fell into disrepair and was gifted to MEA. The restoration offers traditional wooden boat building training for MEA members and other interested participants. When complete, Mala Barka will be used for at-sea education programming.


“It’s not about the boats, it’s about the people.” – A. Michael Vlahovich, Program Manager

Although passionate about wooden boats, Maritima Educare programs are designed to benefit the people involved. Passing on skills, knowledge and values for the benefit of others is at the heart of all MEA educational programming.

Experiential Learning

Maritima Educare’s programs attracts young adults, like the EU volunteers pictured below, because of the hands-on boat building activities and emphasis on experiential learning. In the future, the organization plans to offer at-sea adventures, team building activities, sail training programs and heritage tourism initiatives. The opportunity to work one-on-one with skilled maritime masters will continue to be a hallmark of all MEA programs.

Some potential program partners are like-minded non-profits, national and regional government agencies, local municipalities, international foundations, schools, universities and for-profit corporations that are supportive of MEA’s public benefit programming.


Traveling exhibitions are an effective means used by Maritima Educare to broaden its outreach and better engage with audiences such as schools, festivals and museums. Taking interesting aspects of Croatian maritime heritage on the road is an innovative way to make traditional skills and stories come alive.

Kalafat & Tool Exhibit

Maritima Educare created a unique traveling interactive exhibition designed to educate and engage the public about the skills and stories of Croatia’s maritime heritage. The Kalafat & Tool Exhibit, which helps demonstrate how wooden boats are caulked and made watertight, was installed in August of 2019 at the Fisherman’s Festival in Komiža, island Vis. This unique exhibit was used as an important teaching tool during the European Solidarity Corps programs at the Sumartin Shipyard; as well as providing Selca elementary school students the opportunity to practice the kalafat skill using traditional tools.


Maritima Educare
Ante Kuzmanića 8
Sumartin, Brač
[email protected]

Ivo +385 91 648 0582
Mike +385 99 642 7986
Lovorka +385 91 562 6744



Wooden boat festival

Maritima Educare is going to the prestigious Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival in the USA in 2022!

Maritima Educare is going to the prestigious Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival in the USA in 2022! MEA, in collaboration with several Croatian American communities, will be assisting in the development of a Croatian Fishing Village exhibition at this 3-day event (September 9-11). In a spirit of celebration, the festival will highlight the accomplishments that Croatians have made, and continue to make, in the maritime fields of commercial fishing and wooden boat building.
One special MEA activity will be the building of an authentic Croatian “batana” fishing boat. It will be constructed before the festival as a community boat building project in the City of Gig Harbor, where several Croatian Americans reside.

The “Batana” project

In a spirit of friendship and shared Croatian maritime roots, MEA will partner with the maritime non-profit Gig Harbor Boatshop in the construction of a historic replica of a Croatian fishing skiff known as a “batana”. This community-based international boat building project between Sumartin,
island Brač, Croatia and the Croatian-American fishing community, Gig Harbor, USA, will demonstrate the merits of future cultural heritage exchanges.
With a focus on youth maritime education and community involvement, the
“batana project” will become central to the “Croatian Fishing Village” venue at the Wooden Boat Festival. In addition, it will add momentum to the ongoing Sumartin-Gig Harbor Sister City initiative.