Welcome to the Learn to Sail course at the Boston Sailing Center! We would like your experience here to be as enjoyable and educationally valuable as possible. This student information sheet is intended to provide specific information on course formats, scheduling, policies, and membership options available to you.
Refer to your confirmation email for your start date, format, and, if applicable, sailing session assignment. Format descriptions are below.
Held over two consecutive Friday/Saturday/Sundays.
Online Classroom Sessions are on Friday and Saturday evenings from 6:00-8:00PM. Sailing Sessions are on two consecutive Saturday and Sundays. Morning 9:00AM-12:30PM or afternoon 1:30-5:00PM Sailing Sessions are chosen at checkout. A new course starts every other Friday, with the exception of some holiday weekends.
Learn to sail in one week! Monday morning through Thursday afternoon.
Offered Monday through Thursday. In person classroom sessions are Monday through Thursday from 9:30-11:30am, followed by afternoon sailing sessions from 12:30-4pm.
This format meets twice a week for four weeks, alternating evening Online Classroom Sessions and late afternoon Sailing Sessions.
Online Classroom Sessions meet on Tuesday evenings from 6:00-8:00 PM. Sailing Sessions are either Thursdays from 4:30-8:00pm or Fridays from 3:00-6:30pm. Choose Thursday or Friday sailing sessions upon checkout.
Note: Due to earlier sunset, sessions will take place on Fridays ONLY later in the season.
You will receive a copy of your course textbook, ASA’s Basic Keelboat Sailing, at the completion of your first water session.
What to Bring
Online Classroom Sessions:
- Paper and pen for taking notes
- You will receive your ASA 101 Basic Keelboat book at your first sailing session. You do not need it for your first classroom session.
- Comfortable non-skid shoes or sneakers (sandals are not recommended)
- Dress in layers to adjust for changing weather conditions
- 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.
- A small drybag for anything valuable you do not want to get wet like phones, etc. The sonars have lazarette storage lockers for stashing a small bag. Gill and Helly Hansen sell inexpensive, quality drybags.
- We do not have storage in the riverboat office, so only bring essentials you are comfortable bringing on the boat.
- Water bottles are encouraged. There is 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.
- Sunblock (even for overcast days) and sunglasses
- A change of clothing is always recommended
- 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.
We believe students should experience a wide range of weather conditions. For this reason, classes are rarely cancelled. If a cancellation is necessary due to extreme weather, we will make every effort to contact you. However, it is always wise to call ahead if you have a question regarding a potential cancellation.
Cancellations of Individual Sessions
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 notice as possible – at least 24 hours. Water session cancellations with less than 24 hours’ notice can be made up at the private lesson rate.
If you need to cancel your entire course, please refer to your course cancellation document.
How to make up a class
Giving us sufficient notice allows us to open a space to others who may also need to make up a class. It is the student’s responsibility to contact the office to arrange a make-up. All sailing make ups are on a space available basis, meaning if there is an extra spot for the session you missed in another course, you are welcome to take it. For online classroom sessions, we can send you a pre-recorded session from a previous course.
If you need to make up a single water session, please contact the office directly and with at least 24 hours’ notice. Availability is very limited, and you may need to wait several weeks before a session becomes available. If you would like to make up a session on the sooner side, we may be able to reschedule you individually for an additional fee. Reach out to the office for specifics.
All Learn to Sail formats are guaranteed to develop your sailing ability to the point where you can sail our boats safely in moderate conditions or we will offer up to three additional 2-hour water sessions at no cost. If you feel that you need additional lessons upon completing your course, an office manager will be pleased to arrange this for you. Sometimes an extra lesson to practice mooring landings or take-offs with an instructor on board is all it takes to perfect your skill. If you require more than three lessons, the private lesson rate will apply.
Please note, this guarantee applies only if all classroom and on-the-water sessions have been attended as scheduled within your normal course format. Requests for additional lessons must be reported to the office within one week of completing the course, or during an active 30-day student membership.
If you have any concerns about the course, please feel free to discuss them with us. We want you to be completely satisfied with your experience.
30-Day Student Membership
In order to enhance the effectiveness of the Learn to Sail course, we offer a student membership that runs for 30 consecutive days. We have learned that students who take advantage of this opportunity to practice learn more effectively. The 30-day time period can start as early as the day after your last on-the-water session, but no later than 14 days after the last day of your course. The student membership is free but requires a credit card to be kept on file with the office and a signed student membership agreement in order to activate it. The student is responsible for up to $300 in damage fees.
As a student member you may skipper Sonars and Solings as follows:
- Make a reservation by calling the office and reference your student membership. Student members should always call ahead for reservations in case we have weather restrictions.
- Sailing is restricted to the Inner Harbor only. Student members may not take boats beyond Castle Island and the south corner of Logan Airport.
- Student Members may not single-hand (sail without crew). There needs to be at least one other adult onboard to act as crew, although it does not have to be a BSC member or student.
How to make reservations
Reservations are made by calling the office at 617-227-4198 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org during normal business hours.
In advance, you may hold one weekday reservation and one weekend day reservation at any one time. When you finish with one reservation, you may make another one. Please book by 6:00pm the day before you intend to sail.
- Sonars are booked in a three-hour time block: 9am-12pm, 12:30-3:30pm, and 4:00-sunset.
- Solings have no time restrictions.
Please keep in mind, Sonars are very popular between our students and full season members using them, and often book up. We will maintain waitlists for the sonars, and let you know if we have any last-minute cancellations.
Cancelling your reservation
If you are running late or can no longer make it, please call the office. If you have not checked in for your boat 30 minutes after your start time and have not contacted the office, we will cancel your reservation and make the boat available to members on the wait list. Not showing up and not calling to let us know you can no longer make it will result in a $50 rescheduling fee to be charged to your card on file.
Opportunities to Meet Sailing Partners
As a student member or as a full-time member of the Sailing Center there are many opportunities to meet and sail with other members. Here’s how to get involved!
The BSC website is a great resource! Here you can sign up for events (if available) and access the student section of the “Clubhouse.” As a student, you already have an account. Do not create a new one. If you signed up online, you can login by using the same credentials you used to purchase your course. If you signed up through the office, go to the Clubhouse login and click forgot password. Enter the email you provided the office with. You will be able to change this automated password in your member screen.
Upon activating your student membership or joining as a full-time member you have access to the online crew finder in the Clubhouse.
American Sailing Association
American Sailing Association is a system of certification standards recognized worldwide. Upon successful completion of our Learn to Sail Course, you are qualified to take the ASA 101 Basic Keelboat written exam. You will have already completed the water portion in class. There is a $39 ASA student registration fee which you pay through the office.
The written test must be completed within one year of graduation (no exceptions), so start studying and contact us as soon as you’re ready to take the test!
The next steps after graduation
Once your sailing course is completed, we encourage you to join as a member. With a Daysailing Membership, you are entitled to sail Solings and Sonars as often as you like with unlimited guest privileges. If you decide to purchase a membership within 14-days of graduating or anytime during an active student membership, you are entitled to $200 off a 7-day Daysailing membership or 10% off other Daysailing membership plans. You may also upgrade to a Macro Program, or receive 10% off the Advanced Course. Please contact an office manager for details or refer to our website.
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.