Learn the fundamentals of sailing or polish your sailing skills at the Downtown Sailing Center (DSC) without breaking the bank. Knowing how to sail — and how to sail safely — make sailing more enjoyable. The DSC offers beginning, intermediate and US SAILING certification courses for adults. Each course is a series of four Monday or Tuesday evening lessons or two Saturday classes. Private lessons are also available. All of our instructors are experienced sailors who undergo rigorous instructor training and many are US SAILING-certified keelboat instructors. All levels are taught on J/22 and Sonar keelboats, both of which are safe, comfortable, maneuverable and fast.

All students should print, complete and bring the following two forms with them to their first lesson. Course-specific materials to read/print are listed after the level descriptions below.:
General Liability Waiver
Medical Form

Introduction to Sailing
Adults who have never been on a sailboat or who have little sailing experience should register for this course. Experienced instructors teach the fundamentals of water safety, rigging a boat, wind direction, sail theory, points of sail, tacking and jibing. Upon successful completion of this course, students will feel comfortable on a boat and have the skills to competently crew on a 22- or 23-foot boat with an experienced skipper.

Introduction to Sailing, a learn-to-sail booklet
Introduction to Sailing Student Curriculum

Intermediate Sailing
This course is for adults who have some sailing experience and want to learn more or want to become skippers. Intermediate sailing students learn how to leave and return to the dock (without a motor), how to perform crew overboard recovery, the rules of the road, basic navigation and how to handle a boat in strong winds. Upon successful completion of this course, students will be familiar with all of the skills needed to pass a DSC skipper check-out.*

Intermediate Sailing Student Curriculum

*Students who successfully complete an Intermediate Sailing course should spend at least 20 hours on the water actively practicing before scheduling a skipper check-out.

Keelboat Certification
For those adults who have significant sailing experience and want to learn more advanced skills such as reefing, anchoring and mooring, we offer the US SAILING Basic Keelboat Certification course. Students who successfully complete the written and practical on-the-water skills test will have "¬Ādemonstrated the ability to responsibly skipper and crew a simple daysailing keelboat in familiar waters in light to moderate wind and sea conditions…[and] will be able to skipper a tiller-steered keelboat up to 27 feet in length."1 Students who receive this certification will be eligible to be DSC skippers.

US SAILING Basic Keelboat Certification Student Curriculum

For more information (i.e. standards) about US SAILING Basic Keelboat Certification, go to US SAILING Keelboat Certification System.

US SAILING Safe Powerboat Handling Course
Learn basic powerboat systems, maneuvering, docking and safety in a two-day, hands-on, on-the-water powerboat course.

Course Fees
Any of the courses above cost $350 for the first course, with additional courses taken the same season costing only $200. Crew membership is included in the $350.

Race crew and skipper members may take any course for $200.

Private Lessons
Private lessons are available for up to three adults and can be tailored to all levels, from basic sailing skills to US SAILING Basic Keelboat Certification. Private sailing lessons cost $50/hour for one adult and $30/hour per person for groups as large as three.


1 United States Sailing Association (1999). Student Certification Standards: The National Standard for Quality Sailing Instruction. Portsmouth, RI: US SAILING.

The Downtown Sailing Center is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit community sailing center.
Located at The Baltimore Museum of Industry
Photography donated by Andy Herbick Photography, and others.