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Our Season begins early in May and continues through October. Go to the calendar for exact dates.

During the sailing season, the Boston Sailing Center is open every day from 9am to Sunset. During the off-season, the center is open regular business hours, Monday to Friday from 10am to 5pm.

The Boston Sailing Center is located on a Riverboat permanently docked at Lewis Wharf in Boston, MA. Go here for directions.

There is parking available at the Lewis Wharf and Sargents Wharf lots. If the lot is full at Lewis Wharf, you can ask the attendant if they can valet your car. There is also a garage under the Pilot House (the building with the Starbucks).

The Boston Sailing Center continues into the winter with Frostbite Racing, Coastal Navigation courses, and Caribbean Courses and Vacations.

The Boston Sailing Center was founded in 1977. 

No, our courses are open to members and non-members alike! However, members do receive a 10% discount off all BSC Courses.

Students may cancel or reschedule courses any time before the commitment date. You will receive notice of your commitment date with your course registration confirmation. In general, the commitment date is 14 days prior to start or 30 days for the Cruising Course and Coastal Passage Making. After the commitment date no cancellations are allowed and the course may not be rescheduled.

Students enrolled in the Learn to Sail course or in one of the Macro Programs are entitled to use of the boats outside of class. Students enrolled in the Learn to Sail Course receive a Free 35-Day Student Membership. Students enrolled in a Macro Program receive a Free 45-Day student membership.

When you complete your course you will receive a certificate of graduation from the Boston Sailing Center. You may use the sailing center as a reference in future courses, memberships, or boat charters.

In addition, the Boston Sailing Center offers certification from the American Sailing Association at 6 levels:

  • ASA 101 Basic Keelboat
  • ASA 103 Coastal Cruising
  • ASA 104 Bareboat Cruising
  • ASA 105 Coastal Navigation
  • ASA 106 Advanced Coastal Cruising

Yes, we offer both. Groups of two or more who sign up together for the same course qualify for discounts of 20% off the course fee after one student has purchased the course at full price (in other words, it's full price for the first person and 20% off for each additional person).

For information on discounted Course Packages, see our Macro Programs.

At the Boston Sailing Center we consider our teaching staff to be one of our greatest assets. Each member of the teaching staff has been carefully selected for those qualities which make top-notch instructors. They are friendly, patient, and extremely knowledgeable in sailing.

We sail in all weather as long as the conditions are safe and conducive to learning. We may rescheduled your water session due to high winds or if thunderstorms are in the area.

Students may cancel or reschedule courses any time before the commitment date. The commitment date is 14 days prior to start date of the course. After the commitment date no cancellations are allowed and the course may not be rescheduled.

If you need to miss a classroom session, please let us know as far in advance as possible and we will inform you of make up times. If you need to cancel a water session, please give us as much advance notice as possible - at least 24 hours. We realize that things come up unexpectedly at times and we allow one last minute cancellation per course without penalty. However, subsequent cancellations with less than 24 hours notice will result in a  $50.00 cancellation fee. Learn to Sail Weekend students who need to miss a water session will likely need to make it up in the 5-Week or Vacation Week format.

Bring materials for taking notes in class. For your on-the-water sessions, come prepared to sail in the current conditions - layering is always a good idea! It tends to be a bit colder out on the water. Items to remember are sun block, non-skid (white soled) sneakers or sailing shoes, sunglasses (even if it's cloudy), and adequate clothing for the day's conditions. Student foul weather gear is available (rain jackets and pants).

Probably not very wet, but it is boating after all. However, you should only wear clothing that you don't mind getting wet. For windy days when there is spray and rainy days we provide foul weather gear.

Students enrolled in the Learn to Sail Course receive a Free 35-Day Student Membership which starts the day after the course ends. A refundable $250 security deposit is required.

When you complete your course you will receive a certificate of graduation from the Boston Sailing Center. We also offer certification from the American Sailing Association. Once you successfully complete the course you can take the written test for Basic Keelboat Certification. The only additional fee for the certification is a one time $39 ASA membership fee. 

At the Boston Sailing Center we consider our teaching staff to be one of our greatest assets. Each member of the teaching staff has been carefully selected for those qualities which make top-notch instructors. They are friendly, patient, and extremely knowledgeable in sailing.

Students may cancel or reschedule courses any time before the commitment date. The commitment date is 14 days prior to start date of the course. After the commitment date no cancellations are allowed and the course may not be rescheduled.

If you need to cancel a session, please give us as much advance notice as possible - at least 24 hours. We realize that things come up unexpectedly at times and we allow one last minute cancellation per course without penalty. However, subsequent cancellations with less than 24 hours notice will result in a  $50.00 cancellation fee. Advanced course make ups are scheduled on a space available bases.

Bring materials for taking notes in class. You do not need to bring your ASA textbook with you. 

For your on-the-water sessions, come prepared to sail in the current conditions - layering is always a good idea! It tends to be a bit colder out on the water. Items to remember are sun block, non-skid (white soled) sneakers or sailing shoes, sunglasses (even if it's cloudy), and adequate clothing for the day's conditions. Student foul weather gear is available (rain jackets and pants).

Only students in one of the Macro Programs get a student membership which allows use of the J-24s. A refundable security deposit is required.

When you complete your course you will receive a certificate of graduation from the Boston Sailing Center. We also offer certification from the American Sailing Association. Once you successfully complete the course you can take the written test for ASA 103 Coastal Cruising Certification. If you have not written the ASA 101 test, you will have to do so before writing the 103.

At the Boston Sailing Center we consider our teaching staff  to be one of our greatest assets. Each member of the teaching staff has been carefully selected for those qualities which make top-notch instructors. They are friendly, patient, and extremely knowledgeable in sailing.

Both nights we'll be in the classroom and on the boat. On board, we'll practice docking and sailhandling, so clothing appropriate to the evening's weather is important. At a minimum, sneakers and a fleece or shell over office clothes will work. You can change at the BSC or onboard.

We have a complete list of recommended gear posted here. It's a generic three-season list, meant to be interpreted in light of the specific weekend forecast. Remember that it's usually 10 degrees colder on the water. It's easy to bring too many clothes, though. Most people change clothes once, maybe twice, during the trip.
Don't forget personal toiletries, medications etc.

  1. No. There are four other options:
    Assume you'll enjoy warm, dry, sunny weather all weekend. . . In New England.
    Use gear you already have. Most weather-proof gear intended for running, hiking, climbing, cycling, paddling, birding etc. will be adequate for the weekend.
    Borrow BSC student foul weather gear. It's simple and waterproof, not fashionable.
    Buy moderately priced foul weather gear. If you plan to continue sailing, the Cruising Course is a great excuse to buy gear designed for sailing that will last you for years. Bib overalls and a hooded jacket with a breathable/waterproof fabric intended for coastal/inshore cruising are available for less than $300 total. The BSC offers Henri-Lloyd, Gill, and Helly Hansen at a 15% discount to members and students.

Space on board is obviously limited. Aim for a bag the size of an airline carry-on, plus bedding and foulies. Hard-side, wheeled luggage is very difficult to accommodate. A packable duffel bag is best.

Absolutely. We emphasize the fundamentals of paper charts, plotting tools, compasses and sharp eyes. But the course offers a great opportunity to practice using your own GPS. The boat has a built-in GPS that we will use as well.

All boat expenses (mooring, fuel etc.) are included. Depending on where we tie up Friday and Saturday nights, there is usually a chance to go ashore for coffee, ice cream, souvenirs for the family back home. Depending on weather, location and crew preference, we sometimes go out for dinner Saturday night and it's helpful if everyone has enough cash for that.

The course fee includes basic, healthful food that works with our storage and cooking facilities, from a midnight snack on Friday through lunch on Sunday. Friday night departure is busy. You should eat dinner ahead of time or bring a sandwich to eat under way.
Menu planning and food preparation both at anchor and underway is an important part of the curriculum.

Limitations of space and refrigeration make it difficult to accommodate every individual preference (Diet Coke/Diet Pepsi? Whole wheat bread/bulkie roll?). We'll get a sense of what the crew likes on the first night of class, and take that into account when provisioning for the weekend. Shipboard food involves some compromise.

Our provisioning includes snacks like fruit, hummus, crackers, cheese, pretzels, soup, PB&J. If there is a particular granola bar or protein shake that you can't imagine being without for the weekend, please bring it and don't feel you need to share. There generally is not room in the icebox for private snacks.

That said, if you feel like bringing a snack to share, great. It's certainly not required, but things like homemade cookies or a special cheese are always appreciated, and really contribute to crew cohesion.

When we plan the menu, we can tweak the provisioning to include most dietary regimes, from Indian potatoes & dal to tuna-from-the-can Atkins.

More restrictive diets, like those requiring special processing of meats, certifying the origins of vegetable, or specifically designated pots & utensils, should be discussed ahead of time with the instructor.

We'll ask about this on our medical info form the first night. Please discuss the ramifications & requirements with the instructor.

We typically get underway from the BSC around 6 or 7 pm Friday night, and get to our overnight anchorage about midnight.

We aim to get back to the BSC by 5 or 6 pm Sunday night. Debriefing and boat clean-up takes an additional hour.

We start with a basic itinerary of sailing up to Cape Ann Friday night, around Cape Ann Saturday, and back to Boston on Sunday. Cape Ann offers a great variety of potential harbors, and we pick the most appropriate based on the conditions for each course.

Analysing weather and modifying plans accordingly is an important part of the curriculum.

The boat we teach on, Melissa, is built to comfortably handle routine coastal conditions. And with slight modifications to the itinerary, we can sail just about every weekend while avoiding conditions that are either dangerous, or so unpleasant that learning is impossible. A little hard weather makes for a better, more challenging course.

In extreme cases (eg hurricane), we'll reschedule the class for a weekend that best suits the crew's schedule, or let individuals reschedule into vacancies in existing courses.

Most harbors we tie up in for Saturday night have a shoreside shower. There is a handheld boat shower, with limited water, on board.

Yes. We recommend that you bring a pillowcase and a lightweight sleeping bag or a couple of blankets.

Not much. The head (bathroom) is fully enclosed. There are four individual single berths in the main cabin and a side-by-side V-berth in the separate forward cabin.

The most important is to be a good shipmate -- cheerful, helpful, unselfish.
We rotate duties throughout the weekend to assure that everyone gets roughly equal time steering, navigating, sailhandling, docking and anchoring. 
The best crews volunteer for cooking and housekeeping jobs equitably.

Most classroom topics are reviewed during the weekend cruise, so you're probably better off sticking with the course than trying to reschedule. You'll start off a bit behind, but should feel caught up by the end of the cruise.

There are two aspects to this answer -- policy, and the reality of supply & demand.

The policy: If you reschedule before the commitment date, thirty days before the first night of class, you can rebook into any future course vacancy. If you reschedule after the commitment date, you can go on the space available wait list for any future course. You can schedule into it if there is space available the Friday before the start date of that course.

The reality: Cruising Courses are popular throughout the season, and the entire season tends to sell out. Rescheduling can be tough, especially on a space-available basis.

The prerequisite is our Advanced Course  or equivalent experience. Maybe 2/3 of students each year have taken previous courses at the Sailing Center and 1/3 take the Cruising Course based on outside experience.

It's most important to be comfortable with basic sailing skills: tacking, jibing, sailing upwind and offwind, steering and trimming to telltales. Beyond that, you should be able to read a chart, tie a bowline, maybe set an anchor.

At the Boston Sailing Center, Cruising Course graduates are qualified for Cruising 30 or 35 memberships, with navigation initially limited to the waters north of Cape Cod and south of the Maine border.
Course graduates frequently go on to charter in a place like the Virgin Islands.

In both cases you're making the move from student to skipper in waters that are generally benign, with good support infrastructure.

Not in the US or the US Virgin Islands. Charter companies here look for experience, and they'll determine qualification through an application questionnaire or a resume and references. Formal sailing education, like the Cruising Course, in combination with some experience outside of classes is generally sufficient.

Certifications from ASA are credentials that attest to the courses taken and time spent to acquire them. On their own, these certifications don't guarantee access to a charter boat, but they do help to establish a resume.

For all Cruising Course graduates, the Sailing Center fills out a course description and individual evaluation, which we keep on file. First time charterers often use our evaluation as a reference with their applications.

If you have a chance, reading the chapters in Chapman Piloting and Seamanship on Anchoring and Seamanship Under Power is a nice head start. 

Go sailing. Whether as a BSC member, sailing your own boat or sailing with friends, the best thing you can do for your sailing skills after the course is to practice in a variety of conditions. 

Macros combine sequential courses and Student Memberships to give you the instruction and hands-on experience you'll need to achieve your sailing goals. You receive a significant discount by purchasing all of the courses at once, rather than spacing them out. 

We have four Macro Packages to help you get to the sailing level you're looking for:

Macro Mid-Range Cruising

Macro Cruising (Charter Preparatory Course) 

Macro Coastal Passage Making

Macro Racing

Students enrolled in Macro Programs receive a Free 45 Day Student Membership. When taken individually, only Learn to Sail comes with a Student Membership after graduation. However, students in the Macro Program receive 45-Days of free boat use on a variety of boats. In addition, Macro Programs offer a significant financial savings compared to taking the courses separately.

You may cancel or reschedule until 14 days before your Learn to Sail start date. Subsequent courses in the program may be rescheduled before their commitment dates.

All memberships start following the final session of the corresponding course and require cumulative, refundable deposits.Student Memberships are tailored to the specific Macro Programs accordingly:

  • Macro Mid-Range Cruising: 30 consecutive days on the Solings after Learn to Sail, 15 consecutive weekdays on the J/24's after Advanced. 
  • Macro Cruising and Coastal Passage Making30 consecutive days on the Solings after Learn to Sail, 10 consecutive weekdays on the J/24's after Advanced, 5 consecutive weekdays on the J/30 after Cruising.
  • Macro Racing: 45 consecutive days on the Solings after Learn to Sail, or 30 consecutive days on the Solings after Learn to Sail, 15 consecutive weekdays on the J/24's after Advanced. 

Students who activate their Student Memberships enjoy a number of other member privileges as well, including participation in a number of Member Parties and Events, Student Member Clinics, use of Crew Lists, and more.

No. Boat use is by membership plan only. However, we do offered skippered charters on any boat in the fleet.

We sell 30-Day Mini memberships in the Daysailing and Mid-Range categories. All other memberships are for one calendar year. If you join mid-season you membership will expire a year later in the next season.

No guest fees! You are welcome to bring whomever you would like with you on your reservation and they do not have to be a member. Keep in mind how many people the boat is rated for. Members are responsible for all guests and belongings, but there are no fees. 

If you have successfully completed a membership's prerequisite course with the Boston Sailing Center, you are qualified for the membership, but will write a quick navigation test before your first reservation. If you have not taken the cooresponding course (check Getting Underway for a breakdown), you must take a checkout with an instructor. The checkout consists of an on-the-water test and a written navigation test. There is no fee for a checkout. 

You may upgrade your membership at any time and you will receive a credit for the unused portion of your current membership towards the purchase of the new membership. Members receive a 10% discount off membership upgrades and renewals.

Yes, we offer Shared Memberships for groups of 2 or 3 people who usually sail together but who each want the benefits of membership. This is offered in the Daysailing or the Mid-Range memberships - we do not have shared memberships for the Cruising levels.

Once you have purchased an annual Daysailing or Mid-Range Cruising membership up to 2 friends may join under the same plan for just 50% of the full membership fee for each additional person. A Shared Membership may reserve and use only one boat at a time. 

Please sign up for a sailing trip ahead of time on Eventbrite (a link to signup is provided on the Open House page). We will accommodate walk-ins on a space available basis.

If you sign up online for a sailing time your wait should be less than an hour. If you walk in without a reservation the wait could be up to 3 hours if the weather is nice.

We have life jackets available for children 2 and up, but you may bring younger children if they have their own life jacket. Taking a sailing trip does require stepping onboard from a floating, moving dock, so attendees should be physically fit enough to do so. 

Wear non-marking shoes (sneakers are good), and comfortable clothes you wouldn't mind getting wet. (You won't go swimming, but the boats do occasionally get sprayed.) Also remember that it's typically 10 degrees cooler on the water, so dress in layers and be prepared for cooler temperatures.

We do not offer food, but we do have free beverages available to guests during the event.

Yes! During our Open House, we offer discounts on courses, programs and memberships at the BSC. We will also have staff on hand to answer questions or sign you up! 

Yes! Our discounts are available online or over the phone as well.

No experience is necessary to attend this event. All of the boats will be skippered by experienced sailors, most of them members of our instructor staff.

You are welcome to just sit back and enjoy the ride, or participate by taking the helm or adjusting the sails. Ask your skipper to let you take a turn!

The Boston Sailing Center owns over 75 boats of various types. During the Open House, we sail a range of our cruising boats, from 24 to 40 feet.

The boats leave and return to slips at our docks for easy boarding.

Yes. We use boats that can accommodate groups as large as six people; so let us know when you check in and we will send you out together.

The trips typically last 20 to 30 minutes - enough time to get out to the middle of the Harbor and back.

There are several pay lots in the area, including one here at Lewis Wharf and one next door at Sargent's Wharf. Both lots (and most in the area) will charge about $20 for a full day of parking. There is also limited metered parking available in the North End.

The closest stop is Aquarium, on the Blue Line, but we are also close to Haymarket, Government Center, and Park Street.