The Northwest Maritime Center has received accreditation through US Sailing to teach US Sailing Certified Basic Keelboat Classes. Each student graduating from the US Sailing Basic Keelboat Certification Class will receive a US Sailing Membership, a Logbook and Certification Sticker that can be used around the country to rent or charter sailboats. US SAILING is the national governing association for sailing and accredits only the top schools in the country.

Our highly experienced US Sailing instructors, a year-round windy bay, and a beautiful waterfront location surrounded by the Olympic and Cascade Mountains combine to make the Northwest Maritime Center’s Basic Keelboat Program one of the best and most beautiful in the region. Experience sailing for the first time or take your skills to the next level!


Introduction to Sailing

Spend 3 hours with an experienced US Sailing Instructor on a 26’ Keelboat sailing on Port Townsend Bay.  This class gives you the opportunity to discover what sailing is all about without committing to an entire course.

[Register online] [Download current schedule] [Class FAQs]

Basic Keelboat “Crew”

Learn parts of the boat, points of sail, sail theory, sailing upwind and downwind, steering, basic knots, safety on the water and practice crew overboard drills.  Step 1 toward your US Sailing Certification.  No prerequisite.

[Register online] [Download current schedule] [Class FAQs]

Basic Keelboat “Skipper”

Learn advanced sail trim, tacking, gibing, rules of the road, basic navigation, knots, reefing, heavy weather sailing tactics, line handling, outboard engine basics, docking.  Receive your US Sailing Basic Keelboat Certification!

Prerequisite: Basic Keelboat Crew or Beginner class with NWMC.
Includes: Basic Keelboat books & exam, and US Sailing Membership for 1 year.

[Register online] [Download current schedule] [Class FAQs]

Basic Keelboat Full Course

These classes combine the “Crew” and “Skipper” classes into one week.  Receive your US Sailing Basic Keelboat Certification.  See “Crew” and “Skipper” descriptions for information on course content.  No prerequisite.

Includes: Basic Keelboat books & exam, and US Sailing Membership for 1 year.

[Register online] [Download current schedule] [Class FAQs]

Women’s Only Basic Keelboat Full Course

These classes combine the “Crew” and “Skipper” classes into one week, with a female Sailing Instructor and all female students.  Receive your US Sailing Basic Keelboat Certification.  See “Crew” and “Skipper” descriptions for information on course content. No prerequisite.

Includes: Basic Keelboat books & exam, and US Sailing Membership for 1 year.

[Register online] [Download current schedule] [Class FAQs]

Basic Cruising: Parts A, B, and Full

After Basic Keelboat, comes Basic Cruising—the next level of US Sailing Instruction. Basic Cruising teaches how to responsibly skipper an auxiliary powered sailboat in daylight hours and moderate conditions in coastal waters. Includes instruction in sailing, boat systems, navigation, docking, and anchoring. Taught over 2 weekends (part A and B) or in one week (full).

[Register online] [Download current schedule] [Class FAQs]

San Juan Islands Cruise ‘n’ Learn

Spend four days and nights aboard our Oyster 46 sailboat, learning to cruise in the beautiful San Juan Islands. Learn how to safely navigate, sail, and anchor—or just come along for the ride and see what all the fuss is about. If you’ve ever dreamed of a sailing trip, here’s a great way to start. $1,000 per person, all inclusive. Single and double cabins available. Cruises depart on Wednesday evenings and return Sunday; weekly departures from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

[Register online] [Download current schedule] [Class FAQs]

Anchoring & Docking

Spend three hours with an instructor on a keelboat practicing safely docking the boat under control and setting an anchor. This class is offered Friday mornings in the summer. Private docking lessons are also available on your vessel—call Program Director Ace Spragg to schedule, 360.385.3628 x103. 

[Register online] [Download current schedule] [Class FAQs]