Learn to Sail


Coming from out of town? Bundle classes at Northwest Maritime Center with lodging at the Swan Hotel! Featuring 13 rooms and gorgeous views, the Swan is a quaint seaport boutique hotel located across the street from our main campus. A limited amount of rooms will be held for select classes, and a ‘Stay and Learn’ option will be available at the time of class registration. Lodging for other classes can be booked directly at theswanhotel.com.

Funds from the Swan Hotel help support our programs at NWMC. Lodging is subject to availability.

Swan Hotel

NWMC requires all staff, contractors, volunteers, tenants and program participants over the age of 18, who are working/learning indoors at NWMC to verify that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or provide an approved letter exemption. Please view our full COVID safety practices and policies here.

Sailing & On-the-Water Classes at the Northwest Maritime Center

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 sailing skills to the next level! All Basic Keelboat classes are taught with one instructor and no more than three students per boat. In order to further maximize your sailing time, 80% of each course is taught on the boat! NWMC members enjoy a 10% discount on sailing classes.

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 a 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.


Sunset Sails

Date TBD (Mid-May–September)
2.5 hours  |  $575

Take advantage of Port Townsend’s beautiful mountain views with our new Sunset Sails! Spend 2.5 hours with an experienced captain on our beautiful cruising yawl La Vie En Rose on Port Townsend Bay. Bring your friends or family, a picnic, wine and cheese, and revel in the beauty of a sunset cruise on a spectacular vessel in this truly magical place.

Register here for Sunset Sails.

Daysail Charters

$250/hr – up to 6 passengers | Call to schedule (Mid May – September)

Come aboard our beautiful cruising yawl La Vie En Rose and we’ll head out on the water! You can relax and enjoy the spectacular scenery as our captain takes you for a ride on the picturesque Port Townsend Bay. No age limits—bring your entire family! There is a 2-hour minimum. Call our registrar to schedule – 360.385-3628 x300.

Basic Keelboat Part 1

1 Weekend | May 14 & 15, May 28 & 29, Jun 18 & 19, Jul 9 & 10, Jul 23 & 24, Aug 6 & 7, Aug 20 & 21, Sep 17 & 18
9 AM-5 PM  |  $450

This is the first half of the US Sailing Basic Keelboat course. Learn boating terminology, points of sail, sailing upwind and downwind, steering, basic knots, safety on the water, and practice crew overboard drills. This is step 1 toward your US Sailing Certification. The program takes place from 9 AM to 5 PM on Saturday and Sunday.

Tuition for this course includes the US Sailing Basic Keelboat Textbook, which will be waiting for you in the classroom. Alternatively, you may collect it ahead of time at the Wooden Boat Chandlery located at 431 Water Street, Port Townsend, open daily from 10 AM to 5 PM. Simply tell the cashier at checkout your name and that you are registered for a Keelboat class.

Basic Keelboat Part 2

1 Weekend | May 21 & 22, Jun 11 & 12, Jun 25 & 26, Jul 16 & 17, Jul 30 & 31, Aug 13 & 14, Aug 27 & 28, Sep 24 & 25
9 AM-5 PM  |  $450

This is the second half of the US Sailing Basic Keelboat course. Learn advanced sail trim, tacking, jibing, rules of the road, basic navigation, knots, reefing, line handling, outboard engine basics, and docking. Fifteen hours over one weekend (9 AM to 5 PM on Saturday and Sunday). Receive your US Sailing Basic Keelboat Certification!

Basic Keelboat Level 1 is a prerequisite.

Basic Keelboat Full Course

May 16-20, May 23-27, Jun 13-17, Jul 11-15, Jul 25-29, Aug 1-5, Aug 15-19, Aug 22-26
9:00 AM – 4:00 PM  |  $900

This is the full US Sailing Basic Keelboat course taught over 5 consecutive days. See Level 1 and Level 2 descriptions for course content. The program takes place from 9 AM to 4 PM Monday through Friday. Receive your US Sailing Basic Keelboat Certification!

Tuition for this course includes the US Sailing Basic Keelboat Textbook, which will be waiting for you in the classroom. Alternatively, you may collect it ahead of time at the Wooden Boat Chandlery located at 431 Water Street, Port Townsend, open daily from 10 AM to 5 PM. Simply tell the cashier at checkout your name and that you are registered for a Keelboat class.

Women’s Basic Keelboat Full Course

Jun 6-10, Jul 18-22, Aug 8-12
9:00 AM – 4:00 PM  |  $900

Do you learn better in a class with women? This is the full US Sailing Basic Keelboat course taught over five consecutive days. See Level 1 and Level 2 descriptions for course content. The program takes place from 9 AM to 4 PM, Monday through Friday. Receive your US Sailing Basic Keelboat Certification!

Tuition for this course includes the US Sailing Basic Keelboat Textbook, which will be waiting for you in the classroom. Alternatively, you may collect it ahead of time at the Wooden Boat Chandlery located at 431 Water Street, Port Townsend, open daily from 10 AM to 5 PM. Simply tell the cashier at checkout your name and that you are registered for a Keelboat class. Women programs at Northwest Maritime Center welcome anyone who identifies as women regardless of assignment at birth. Our programs also welcome people who identify as non-binary or gender nonconforming and want to be in a female-identified environment.

US Sailing Basic Cruising

May 27-30, Jun 16-19, Jul 7-10, Aug 18-21, Sep 29- Oct 2
9 AM on Day 1, ends 4 PM on last day  |  $1,290

This is a cruise-and-learn class for folks ready to start cruising on their own. Spend four days and three nights on our 40′ cruising yacht, La Vie En Rose, while completing the US Sailing Basic Cruising course. Learn to skipper a cruising sailboat, handle crew overboard and reefing situations, anchoring, and much more. Tuition includes meals aboard and a place to lay your sleeping bag, as well as the US Sailing Basic Cruising textbook and exam. Three students and an instructor will live, learn, and sail together in the beautiful and diverse Admiralty Inlet. The course starts and ends at the NWMC in Port Townsend.

Basic Keelboat or comparable experience is a prerequisite.

Private Lessons

$75/hr | Call to schedule (Mid May – September)

Learn from our highly experienced instructors who will customize your lesson based on what you personally would like to learn! There is a 2-hour minimum. We can also provide an instructor to teach you docking or sailing on your own boat. Call our registrar on 360.385.3628 x300 to organize scheduling time with an instructor.

So You Bought a Boat!

Mar 18,19 & 20 | $550 for an individual boat owner and 2nd person is $275 | Friday 7 PM–Sunday 1:30 PM

A weekend seminar featuring classes for the new or inexperienced boat owner!

With a focus on cruising, sail, and powerboats, you’ll learn what you need to know to successfully and safely cruise in the Pacific Northwest as we discuss topics including navigation, rules of the road, charts, electronics, man overboard, and docking. We’ll also go through common boat systems such as house batteries, inverters and chargers, freshwater and blackwater, propane, and heat. There will be breakout sessions on sails and solar power, plus a discussion of communication systems and connectivity.

Each class will include a checklist of critical information, and students will take home a notebook full of great resources.