Eight Bells: Betty Nissen

The Seven Seas Cruising Association mourns the passing of one of the its founders, Betty Nissen.

Betty Nissen

“When we began the SSCA with the first Bulletin in 1952 we never dreamed of it becoming the large organization it is today. It’s been exciting to watch it grow. We are glad we were there in the beginning. We still have one of the original flags, tattered and torn, a reminder of all that SSCA has meant to us.” Founders John and Betty NissenCourtesy of the SSCA

“We had one dream. To go cruising! Boats, boats, boats, and the day we would set to sea—we lived and breathed it,” says SSCA Founder Betty Nissen.

Seven Seas Cruising Association founder, Betty Nissen, 89, of St. Augustine, FL, passed away at her home on Aug. 26, 2012. She is survived by her husband of 63 years, John Nissen, 91. John and Betty met at a Vallejo, Calif., dance in 1942. The couple, along with four other couples, founded SSCA 60 years ago in California. SSCA is now the largest organization in the world for voyaging cruisers.

The Nissens lived aboard Norwind, a 45-foot ketch for 15 years sailing from southern California through the Panama Canal and onto the Virgin Islands. Betty, an award winning artist, created the original artwork for the cover of the monthly SSCA Commodores' Bulletin. SSCA members will long remember her enthusiasm for living the cruising life and admire her determination in making her cruising dreams come true.