Not every sailing opportunity happens in a small boat, at a yacht club, or between the hours of 9am and 5pm. What's great about sailing is that there are so many avenues available to enjoy the activity. Sleep away camps, sail training, traditional boat building, and environmental education are a handful of the other ways that youth might connect to sailing.
Sail Training and Sea Scouts
The Tacoma Youth Marine Center supports local Sea Scouts and also offers educational and maritime trade programs at its facility on Foss Waterway near down town Tacoma. The Sea Scout Ship Odyssey is based at TYMC. The Odyssey cruises the San Juans during the summer and provides leadership and sail training opportunities for dozens of local scouts each year. The Sea Scouts are part of the larger Boy Scouts of America Organization and are co-ed.
Aside from a small fleet of dinghies the Everett Sea Scouts also own two larger keelboats. They engage in a combination of overnights, day sails, extended cruises, and local races. The Sea Scouts are an entirely volunteer run organization. An emphasis is put on leadership and character development. Becoming a Bosun in Sea Scouts is equivalent to Eagle Scout. Several of the Everett Sea Scout members also participate in high school sailing, where they practice at Silver Lake.
The Sea Scout Ship City of Roses is based in Portland. They have a similar mission as the other Sea Scout programs. Learn to sail, to row, and to keep a boat in shape; you can cruise local waters or go sailing on long cruises far from home. Learn to Scuba dive and take care of boats. Enjoy camping, social events, tours, regattas, excursions, and seamanship contests. Learn the maritime skills that can lead to a career later on.
The 168' Schooner Zodiac is based out of Bellingham and regularly cruises the San Juan and Canadian Gulf Islands with groups of all ages and backgrounds. During the school year Zodiac partners with school and youth groups to provide kids with educational adventures under sail. Zodiac is part of the American Sail Training Association.
Camps that offer Sailing
YMCA Camp Orkila is located on Orcas Island and is part of the Seattle YMCA. This overnight camp offers team exploration programs for youth grades 8-12. One and two week expeditions around the San Juan Islands are done aboard camp owned J24s and Solings. Sailors may spend some nights aboard the boat, but most often sail to a destination to make camp for the night.
Camp Seymour is located on the Key Peninsula about 20 minutes from Gig Harbor. They have an excellent waterfront facility on Glen Cove, where they have a variety of small sailing dinghies along with lots of paddle equipment. Sailors may sign up for a sailing focused course where instruction time is built into their camp experience.
Camp Four Winds is situated in Deer Harbor on Orcas Island. Waterfront programming is an essential part of this overnight camp. There is a large dock with a variety of smaller sailboats, along with the 61 foot yawl "Carlyn." Carlyn is used for over night expeditions and day sails during the summer. For one three week period she sets off with a group of campers and goes exploring into the Straits of Georgia.
The Center for Wooden Boats has two locations. Their main base is on the south end of Lake Union. They offer instruction on small boats to both adults and kids. The CWB also teaches courses in woodworking, navigation, and keel boat sailing. The CWB also has a variety of sailing and paddle powered craft, many of which are available to rent. They have a smaller second location at Cama Beach on Camano Island.
Port Townsend is one of the saltiest places on the West Coast. The town has a very strong maritime culture with historical ties to the sea dating back hundreds of years. At the heart of this culture is the Northwest Maritime Center. Similar to the Center for Wooden Boats, the Northwest Maritime Center focuses on traditional aspects of sailing and seamanship. This includes boat building, sail training, and over-night marine science expeditions. The NWMC is open to all ages, with class offerings that bridge generations. Attending their annual Wooden Boat Festival is a must for anyone who likes pirates, cannons, tall ships, and tall tales.
Since 1996 Salish Sea Expeditions has been guided by it's mission... "Inspiring students to develop critical thinking and creativity through student-led scientific research on Puget Sound." Over the years thousands of students from Tacoma to the San Juans have learned about sailing and the watery world around them. Salish Sea Expeditions works in partnership with Camp Four Winds Westward Ho, using their 61' Yawl Carlyn in the "off" season.
Sound Experience is a non-profit organization based out of Port Townsend. Sound Experience puts an emphasis on marine science and ecology. The 112' schooner Adventuress does regular day sail trips with youth and school groups from around Puget Sound. For teens and families there are also overnight and multi-day expeditions. Sailing on the 100 year old schooner is an exhilarating and educational experience.
For Individuals with Disabilities
Footloose Sailing Association is a non-profit located on Lake Washington. Their programs are specifically targeted at individuals with disabilities, their families, and their care takers. Many of the boats are retrofitted with specialized seats and servo-control mechanisms for those that aren't able bodied. No matter what the disability there is likely adaptive programming that can accommodate the individual. Footloose is a chapter of Disabled Sports USA.
SSP owns two 2.4 meter sailboats designed for disabled sailors. Each boat has a 500lbs keel, making it impossible to capsize. They are as technically challenging as any other boat on the water. SSP has other options available to get everyone, regardless of ability, out on the water.
Career Oriented Programs
The Maritime Academy is a school within Ballard High School. Students are admitted by application. Academics are focused on preparing students for careers in the maritime industries. Many alumni have gone on to Cal Maritime Academy or into one of the many local maritime trade industries.
SMA is an extension of Seattle Central College. It trains students for careers in the maritime sector and marine trades, which both have a growing need for qualified employees. SMA is Coast Guard accredited program.
CMA is located in Vallejo, CA. It is one of the premier maritime academies in the world. After earning a degree, graduates quickly find work as engineers, captains, or with government organizations involved in maritime policy. Aside from a dinghy team, they also boast the only college sailing offshore team on the west coast