About Clay Mills

Clay Mills is a marine photographer, liveaboard boater, and shipwright based in Key West, Florida. For the past few years, he’s also been a sailing instructor for SeaBase (the Boy Scouts of America), but has spent his entire life and career around boats and has navigated many different waterways through the United States and the Caribbean.

Background Story

I first moved on a 40-foot wooden sailing sloop in 1972 with my father in the Channel Islands in Oxnard, California, before I landed a job at a busy boatyard in Anacortes, Washington. This led to me buying my own sloop in Long Island, New York, and I spent some time sailing the Hudson River. 

After serving in the U.S Army, I went to a boatbuilding school and then later built Gold Coast sailing catamarans in St. Croix, USVI. I headed back to California to manage a sailing fleet, and then began taking boat deliveries along the Pacific Coast. Around this time I also received my associates degree in liberal arts. 

During the winter between 2012 and 2013, I rebuilt an Albin Ballad 30-foot sloop in Marblehead, Massachusetts, and sailed south to warmer climates in Hilton Head, South Carolina and eventually made it to Key West, where I currently live out on the anchorage (the hook).

Adventures & Experience

Boating Certifications

U.S. Coast Guard-licensed sailing captain, and both an American Sailing Association (ASA) and US Sailing instructor. Teaches the Boy Scouts of America Sailing lessons.

Sailing Experience

Has sailed the Hudson River, the Pacific coastline, the British Virgin Islands, the East Coast from Hilton Head to the Florida Keys. Went on the Gli Gli Expedition to build and sail an indigenous dugout canoe in the Caribbean. Certified sailing instructor in Key West.

Photography

Boating photographer who documents many building projects and sailing expeditions, along with portraits, landscapes of the Florida Keys (and beyond), and other lifestyle photography on his website.

Boat Builder

Worked at a boatyard in Anacortes, Washington and attended boatbuilding school in Tacoma, Washington. Built Gold Coast Sailing Catamarans in St. Croix. Built an indigenous sailing canoe, and rebuilt an Albin Ballad 30-foot sloop.

Other Boating Experience

Managed a marina’s sailing fleet in Redondo Beach, California, and spent several years in Sausalito, California living aboard, racing boats, and taking boat deliveries along the Pacific Coast.