CPM Student Information

General Goals

  • Develop competence at an advanced level of coastal cruising, including open water sailing and night sailing harbors
  • Increase self-reliance through knowledge of systems, common problems and repair techniques
  • Increase level of student’s decision making and responsibility
  • Qualify students for a Cruising 40 membership or to charter similar boats worldwide 


The Instructor will email the group one week in advance 

  • Go over clothing and personal equipment list
  • Discuss menu planning and provisioning
  • Discuss itinerary
  • Check current predictions for the Cape Cod Canal
  • Determine departure time and destination 


Day 1: 9:00 AM Start

Boat Systems

  • Engine, fresh water plumbing, stove, refrigeration, head, bilge pumps, and electronics
  • Location of through-hull fittings
  • Equipment checklist
  • Store provisions and personal gear
  • Top off water and fuel 

Manuevering under power

  • Mooring 
  • Docking 
  • Use of spring lines in maneuvering on and off a dock 
  • In close quarters 
  • Maneuvering with a dingy in tow 

Shakedown Sail

  • Demonstrate sail handling systems – reefing, roller furling, winches, vang and backstay 
  • Practice reefing and changing headsails 

Navigation and Passage Planning

  • Review: dead reckoning, running fix, danger bearing 
  • Keeping a navigation log 
  • Correcting for leeway 
  • Current problems – use of current diagrams for set and drift, current tables, “velocity of current at any time” current charts 
  • Night time land falls – geographic and luminous range tables 
  • Watch systems 
  • Discuss the weather forecast 

Day 1 (Evening) through Day 5

The itinerary for the cruise depends on weather and current predictions, but usually includes an evening departure Day One for Scituate or a destination in Buzzards Bay, with overnight stops on the Vineyard or Nantucket returning to Boston. When possible, the route for the return trip will be around the outside of Cape Cod. 

Sailing and Rigging

  • Selecting and trimming sails for optimum comfort and speed 
  • Reefing including night drills 
  • Use of a preventer 
  • Going aloft in a bosun’s chair 
  • Heavy weather procedures 
  • Use of harnesses and jacklines 


  • Students maintain a continuous DR plot throughout the course 
  • Practice techniques from classroom session 
  • Electronic Navigation
  • Techniques for navigating in low visibility 
  • Interpreting running lights 

Anchoring and Docking

  • Setting two anchors 
  • Use of a trip line 
  • Anchoring under sail 
  • Effects of tide and current 
  • Mediterranean docking procedure 
  • Use of fender boards and spring lines 
  • Operation of a dingy with outboard 

Equipment Maintenance, Troubleshooting, and Repair

  • Engine: how to trace and bleed the fuel line, trace the cooling system, inspect and clean the water strainer, replace impeller, adjust belt tension 
  • Electrical System: battery charging, troubleshooting common problems such as a running light failure 
  • Bilge pumps: inspect and clean intake screens, check for air leaks 

Safety and Emergency Procedures

  • Man overboard recovery 
  • Grounding 
  • Engine failure in close quarters 
  • Steering failure 
  • Clearing a fouled prop 

Line Handling

  • Review: bowline, clove hitch, round turn and two half hitches.  
  • Snubbing a line under load and heaving   
  • Clove hitch 
  • Sheet bend 
  • Rolling hitch 

Required Clothing and Gear

General Sailing List

  • Lifejackets are required on board the boat during all water sessions. They will be provided but you are more than welcome to bring your own. 
  • We do not have storage in the riverboat, so only bring items you are comfortable bringing on the boat.  
  • Water bottle. There may be no drinking water available at BSC, so you should bring sufficient water from home, or there is a small grocery store called The Golden Goose on Commercial Street – just a few minutes’ walk from BSC.  
  • We do have limited foul weather gear for our students to borrow, but it is recommended that you bring your own. Our office team can recommend some good options for you.  
  • Pack gear in plastic bags inside duffel bag 

Packing List

  • Face mask and spares 
  • Foul Weather Gear: Bibs and Jacket   
  • Boots or waterproof shoes  
  • Lifejacket 
  • 1 or 2 pairs of wool socks  
  • Wind Shell   
  • Warm hat and warm gloves   
  • Long Underwear   
  • Several appropriate warm layers (fleece or wool)  
  • Long sleeve shirt/long pants (for sun)   
  • Sunglasses  
  • Sunscreen  
  • Sun hat   
  • Deck shoes  
  • Sailing Gloves
  • Reading Glasses (for chart work)   
  • Flashlight or headlamp 

Personal Items:

  • Towel
  • Pillow case
  • Sleeping Bag or sheets and blanket
  • Seasickness prevention
  • Flashlight or headlamp
  • Toiletries/Medications

Optional Items:

  • Knife or Leatherman
  • Travel Mug (good idea in cold weather)
  • Binoculars
  • Bearing Compass
  • Bathing suit
  • Fishing gear


Upon completion of the course, each student will receive an informal verbal assessment of his or her strengths. The instructor will fill out a detailed written evaluation of each student, which the Sailing Center keeps as a charter reference. 

After you complete your course

ASA Certification

American Sailing Association is a system of certification standards recognized worldwide. Upon successful completion of our Cruising Course, you are qualified to take the ASA 106 Coastal Cruising written exam to obtain your certification. The water portion is covered during the course.   

You have one year from graduation to complete your ASA testing to obtain your certification (no exceptions).  

Please note that you will have to take the ASA 101, 103, 104, and 105 exams as well, if you have not done so already. If you need to get your ASA 101-105, contact the office to arrange. An additional $35 fee will apply per test, and a $39 ASA registration fee.  

Full Membership

After successful course completion, you will be qualified for a Cruising 40 membership at 10% off the full price. This calendar year long membership will give you access to the boats within your category and all of the categories below, and a 7-day extended cruise. The 10% discount also applies to any other membership level. This discount is valid for the 7-days after graduation.  

There is no student membership associated with the Coastal Passage Making course. 

CPM Student Information