Cruising Course Student Information

General Goals

  • Develop the skills necessary to sail and motor a cruising boat with auxiliary inboard power   
  • Increase coastal cruising competency in day and nighttime sailing in familiar waters 
  • Qualify students for a Cruising 30 or 35 membership or bareboat chartering in locations like the Virgin Islands  


Onboard Wednesday evening through Sunday evening

Day 1: Wednesday 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Boat systems on the Jeanneau 389  

Day 2: Thursday 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Running rigging orientation and docking/maneuvering under power  

Day 3: Friday 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Sailing and Night Sailing including crew overboard practice  

Day 4-5: Saturday into Sunday

Departs Boston Harbor Saturday morning to arrive back in Boston Sunday evening. Students will stay overnight on the boat. Destination will be based on weather. 

Required Clothing and Gear

General Sailing List

  • Lifejackets are required to be worn when 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 bottles are encouraged. You can refill your water bottle in the Riverboat 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. A light waterproof jacket and pants are best. Our office team can recommend some good options for you.  

Packing List

  • 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
  • Shirts
  • Shorts/Pants
  • Socks


Personal Items:

  • Pillow/Pillowcase
  • Sleeping Bag or sheet and blanket
  • Towel
  • Toiletries/Medication
  • Seasickness prevention   
  • Reading Glasses (for chart work)   
  • Flashlight or headlamp

Optional Items:

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

*Pack gear in plastic bags inside duffel bag

Course Content

In no particular order, to be spaced out over the five days.

  • General briefing  
  • Clothing and personal equipment  
  • Hypothermia and seasickness 
  • Line handling: Review figure eight, bowline, round turn and two half hitches, cleating, coiling, and heaving a line. Introduce the reef knot and how to snub a line under load.    

Boat Systems

  • Required and recommended safety equipment  
  • Through hull fittings, seacocks and stuffing box  
  • Holding tank and head  
  • Fresh water system  
  • Stowage areas and techniques  
  • Galley, icebox, stove  
  • Batteries, battery switch, electrical system  
  • Diesel engine and fuel system  
  • VHF radio  
  • Nav station, equipment and charts  
  • Running lights  

Motoring and Docking

  • Leaving the dock  
  • Motoring in forward and reverse  
  • Picking up a mooring  
  • Docking, with consideration of wind, current, tide and momentum  
  • Tying up to a dock, including mast placement, fenders and dock lines  
  • Planning and provisioning  
  • Schedule, itinerary and alternatives  
  • Use of tide tables, Sail handling systems  
  • Demonstrate reefing gear, roller furling, winches  
  • Practice reefing  
  • Change head sails  

Cruising Skills

  • Preparation of the boat for a cruise  
  • Evaluating weather forecasts  
  • Selecting and trimming sails for optimum comfort and speed  
  • Use of a spinnaker for cruising* If time and conditions allow  
  • Reefing and headsail changes  
  • Crew overboard procedures  
  • Coastal navigation – buoy systems, chart symbols  
  • Night sailing   
  • Techniques for sailing in poor visibility  
  • Applying the rules of the road; interpreting running lights  
  • Use of published materials to evaluate harbors and shoreside facilities  
  • Identifying good anchorages, anchoring   
  • Docking and mooring in unfamiliar harbors  
  • Discuss common problems and potential emergencies and appropriate responses  
  • Unloading, cleaning and securing a boat after a cruise  

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 104 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 and 103 exams as well, if you have not done so already. If you need to get your ASA 101 and/or 103, 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 30 or Cruising 35 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 Daysailing or Mid-Range membership level. This discount is valid for the 7-days after graduation.  

There is no student membership associated with the Cruising Course, unless you are a Macro Student. If you are unsure of your student status, please contact the office.   

Covid-19 Student Policies

Do not come to the Boston Sailing Center if you have symptoms, someone in your household has Covid-19, or you have been asked to self-isolate or quarantine by your doctor or a health official. We will reschedule your course.  

Arrive ready to sail. If you arrive earlier than the time designated for your sailing session, please wait off premises in the parking lot or on the seawall. Bathrooms are located on the upper deck of the riverboat. See updates to the COVID-19 policies here. 

Cruising Course Student Information