We have 9 weeks of summer day camps for kids – all of them on boats. Kids can experience maritime life in many ways, from dinghy sailboats to marine life to boatbuilding. Summer camps are divided into two programs: Messing About in Boats, for 5-10 year-olds, and Learn to Sail for 8 to 16 year-olds.
A current schedule of our youth programs is available here.
For an overview of what to bring, what to expect, etc, click here.
Messing About it Boats
Experience the sea! Messing About in Boats offers a multitude of ways for kids to experience maritime life in a fun, hands-on way. From our home in Point Hudson, young sailors enter the maritime world by meeting real captains, crew, and shipwrights in their element, heading out to sea in rowboats, powerboats and sailboats, and learning what it takes to live on and by the sea.
Fun while learning. Each camp has a theme: Jr. Mariners, Jr. Shipwrights, Jr. Discoverers, and Jr. Pirates are full day programs for 7-10 year-olds. Li’l Scuppers is a half day program (morning or afternoon) for 5-7 year olds. All themes focus on fundamental skills: knot-tying, basic weather, sea life, environmental stewardship, boat types and parts, and field trips to meet local shipwrights, sail makers, riggers, fisherman, and other salty dogs.
No matter the program, each child is in a boat every day. Our staff keeps them safe and engaged while learning about our maritime world. Li’l Scuppers and Jr. Mariners get exposed to everything, Jr. Shipwrights spend time boat building in our shop, Jr. Discoverers focus on marine life and spend a day at the Marine Science Center, and Jr. Pirates hunt treasure and generally wreak havoc![Register online] [Download current schedule] [FAQs]
Learn to Sail
New boats, US Sailing certified instructors, a year-round windy bay, and a beautiful waterfront location at the Northwest Maritime Center dock combine to make our learn-to-sail program one of the best in the region. Diverse, challenging waters and excellent instructors teach competent sailing for all conditions. The perfect place to introduce your child to sailing or take their skills to the next level. We also offer a girls-only sailing week.
Have fun. Since the early 1990s, our sailing instructors have taught hundreds of people to sail on Port Townsend Bay. In 2006, NWMC and Jefferson County YMCA expanded the fleet to offer new Optimist Dinghies, the most popular learning dinghy in the world, and Vanguard 15s, two-person planing hull dinghies. These boats are safe, fast, and fun!
Beginners start in an Opti dinghy—sailing on the very first day, with instructors alongside them in our inflatable chase boats. Each day brings new skills and confidence as each student gets to learn by doing in a safe and positive learning environment. Intermediates review their Opti skills and then graduate to the Vanguard 15s, sailing in twos and threes to learn crew teamwork while tacking and jibing 2 sails. Advanced sailors learn racing techniques and sail to different destinations around Port Townsend Bay. We also feature a Girls’ Only Beginner Sailing class each summer. It all adds up to great fun on the water.[Register online] [Download current schedule] [FAQs]
New! Marine Biology Afoot & Afloat
Calling all budding Marine Biologists (ages 10-13)! This new camp takes marine biology skills to the next level through hands-on activities. Students sail aboard Northwest Maritime Center vessels while doing scientific investigations. Ashore, students participate in inter-tidal surveys and labs in touch tanks and exhibits. Campers work together as a team while learning to be stewards of the marine environment. This program is in collaboration with the Port Townsend Marine Science Center.[Click here for more information and online registration]
Sea Scout Ship Falcon: Year round co-educational maritime scouting activities for ages 12–21, based at the Northwest Maritime Center/Wooden Boat Foundation in Port Townsend, Washington. Our Sea Scouts meet year-round, and is the only Boating Group in Jefferson County that does so. Membership is open to all youth 13 1/2 – 21 under Sea Scouts and 12 – 13 1/2 under Jefferson County 4H.
The boats used include Bear, a traditional ship’s boat, or longboat, owned by the NWMC; Gibnut, a dory owned by the NWMC; two Soling Sailboats, Celeste and Diablo, which we are currently restoring; Caveat, a T-bird owned by the NWMC; and Salish Star, a 32-foot fixed-seat 4-man gig, owned by the NWMC. Meetings are Thursday evenings and some weekends. Contact Skipper Norm Stevens at 360.379.6960, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
High School Sailing Team
The Port Townsend High School Sailing team is an extremely successful and positive program which has sent some of our local sailors to district and national competitions. They sail in the spring, on Vanguard15s, FJs and Lasers. Their motto is, “Sail Fast and Have Fun!” Many team members become sailing instructors in our summer youth camps. For more information contact Coach Sugar Flanagan at email@example.com.