Board of Directors actively provide leadership on the Ocean Institute’s mission of using the ocean as a classroom, we inspire children to learn.

Dana Point, Calif. (July 16, 2019) – The Ocean Institute is nationally known for its award winning, hands-on marine science, environmental education and maritime history programs. Students, families and the general public become tall ship sailors, research scientists, oceanographers, and explorers while immersed in Ocean Institute programs.

The Ocean Institute was founded in 1977 and offers in-depth Marine Science, Maritime History and Outdoor Education programs. The facility includes state-of-the-art teaching labs, the Maddie James Seaside Learning Center, two historic tall ships, and an oceanographic research vessel. All programs are designed to maximize immersion, spark curiosity, and inspire a deep commitment to learning.

Annual Students Served: 60,000

Annual Public Served: 50,000

Total Guests Served: 110,000

“Inspiring and educating young people to protect our ocean is how we will ensure that future generations receive a healthy and thriving ocean,” said Vipe Desai, CEO of HDX Mix. “For more than 40 years, volunteers and staff from the Ocean Institute have been doing incredible work to inspire young people and I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and work with the Board and leadership to support their efforts and work.” 

Vipe is a seasoned entrepreneur and philanthropist, holding positions on the board of directors for other non-profits and for-profits over the past 15 years that include: Ocean Champions, Surfrider Foundation, 5 Gyres Institute, Lonely Whale Foundation, SIMA Humanitarian Fund, Rob Dyrdek Foundation and In addition, he is the CEO and Co-Founder of HDX Mix, an environmentally friendly sports drink mix.

Dan Pingaro, Ocean Institute President and CEO commented, “We are extremely pleased to have Vipe join the Ocean Institute team. Vipe’s entrepreneurial leadership and experience in working with innovative, philanthropic businesses makes him an excellent fit for Ocean Institute during the next phase of our growth – as we continue to modernize the Institute and pursue our goal to become one of the most innovative and admired brands in ocean science, maritime history and experiential education.”

Vipe joins a group of passionate Board Members dedicated to protecting our ocean while inspiring future generations. 




Michael Torcaso, Toshiba America Business Solutions, Inc.


Jill Tracy, Southern California Gas Company


David Jochim, Union Bank


Bill Steel, Samuels Green & Steel LLP

Lee Gottlieb, New York Life Insurance Company

Steve Harris, Robert E. Harris Insurance Agency

Susan Paish, Boeing Global Service

Ken Petersen, First American Trust, FSB

Ty Rogers, The Rogers group of Raymond James

Charlie Steinmetz, JCA Associates, Inc


Supervisor Lisa Bartlett, OC Board of Supervisors 5th District

Mayor Joseph L. Muller, Mayor of Dana Point

Councilmember Paul Wyatt, City of Dana Point

About Ocean Institute

Ocean Institute is a highly respected ocean science, maritime history and experiential education nonprofit located in Dana Point Harbor, California. Its modern campus is adjacent to the Dana Point State Marine Conservation Area, and encompasses 33,000 square feet of hands-on exhibits, science labs and an aquarium collection of 1,100 live specimens of local marine life. Central to its unique identity throughout California, Ocean Institute operates two impressive tall ships, Spirit of Dana Point and Pilgrim, a replica of the ship made famous by Richard Henry Dana Jr. in his epic memoir “Two Years Before the Mast.” Ocean Institute also operates the 70-foot research vessel Sea Explorer. Over a span of forty years Ocean Institute has enriched the lives of two million California students with a mission of “using the ocean as our classroom, we inspire children to learn.” Ocean Institute serves over 100,000 students, teachers and families each year with a hands-on approach to ocean-related science, research and conservation. Ocean Institute’s diverse elementary, middle and high school program inventory is STEM-focused and aligned with California Common Core Standards. To learn more about Ocean Institute, including the annual Tall Ships Festival presented by Toshiba and the 17th Annual Jazz Festival, please visit