Summer Programs

Due to COVID-19 Limitations – We are pausing registration until we know what our season will look like. More information soon. Sign up for our email list.

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 to 10 year-olds, and Learn to Sail for 8 to 17 year-olds. Scroll down to learn more! Register online at the button below or in person at the Wooden Boat Chandlery, 431 Water Street, Port Townsend. To register for programs offered by our community partners, follow the contact information given in each program description below.

Scholarships are available thanks to the generous support of Wilder Auto. You can submit a scholarship application during the registration process.

For questions about registering for camps, please call 360.385.3628 x100 or email

Messing About in Boats

Experience the sea in this one-of-a-kind summer camp! Messing About in Boats offers a multitude of ways for kids ages 5-10 to experience maritime life this summer in a fun, hands-on way. From our home in Point Hudson, kids 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. It’s not your typical summer camp! Our staff are skilled mariners who love to have fun and share their passion for messing about in boats. All instructors are trained in CPR & FA.

Full Day Camps (8-10 year-olds)

Jr. Discoverers:
Jul 13-17 | 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM | $350
Explore the rich marine and tidal life in Port Townsend Bay! Campers will discover our world through beach walks, boat trips, and a visit to the Port Townsend Marine Science Center.

Jr. Mariners:
Jun 29-Jul 3, Aug 10-14 | 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM | $350
Take to the sea learning the crafts and songs of a savvy sailor bound for imaginary destinations around the globe! Campers explore local boat shops, search for messages in a bottle, sail large sailboats, and row and drive wooden power boats.

Jr. Adventurers:
Jul 27-31 | 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM | $350
This maritime summer camp is all about day-long adventures. Kids will travel to different points of interest on Port Townsend Bay and explore places like Chimacum Creek, Mystery Bay, and Old Fort Townsend. This is a camp for the young person who loves to explore and wants to use a boat as a basecamp for the day. We have a variety of boats to use: sail, row, and power. Depending on the whim of the group, the weather, and the expertise of the instructor, the students will get a chance to mess about in different types of vessels.

Lil Scuppers Half Day Camps (5-7 year-olds)

9:00 AM – 12:00 PM or 1:00 – 4:00 PM | $155
Jun 22-26, Jul 6-10, Jul 20-24, Aug 3-7, Aug 17-21, Aug 24-28

Lil Scuppers is our maritime summer camp for the youngest campers, ages 5-7. Kids start with a morning circle, reading or singing. Afterward, they get out on the boats (weather dependent, of course)! They might row, sail, or drive a power boat. It is so much fun to see a six-year-old’s face light up when they realize they are the one steering the boat! Campers also explore the beaches and enjoy scavenger hunts. There is so much fun packed into this 3-hour camp! Curious where the name, “Lil Scuppers,” comes from? Well, when water comes on board a deck, it runs out the scuppers. Much like the water, the experiences flow through the kids and out the scuppers, leaving them doused with fun experiences exposing them to life in the maritime world.

Learn to Sail

A year-round windy bay, skilled sailing instructors, and a beautiful waterfront location on the Northwest Maritime Center dock combine to make our sailing lessons for youth some of the best in the region.

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! In diverse and challenging waters, our excellent instructors teach competent sailing for all conditions. This is the perfect place to introduce your child to sailing or take their skills to the next level. And for the advanced sailors, we have the International Flying Junior (FJ). The FJ is a sailing dinghy originally designed in 1955 in the Netherlands by renowned boat designer Van Essen and Olympic sailor Conrad Gülcher. Our sailing classes are ideal for teaching young sailors the skills of boat handling and racing.

Beginner Sailing

9:00 AM – 12:00 PM | Ages 8-17 | $225
Jun 22-26, Jun 29-Jul 3, Jul 6-10 (Girls Only), Jul 13-17, Jul 27-31 (Girls Only), Aug 10-14, Aug 17-21

Beginner Sailing is our fun introduction to basic sailing skills. On “capsize day” kids learn in a controlled setting that they are capable of capsizing their boat and getting it upright again. By the end of the class, students should also be able to identify boat parts, rig and de-rig their boat, feel comfortable steering, and demonstrate wind awareness and points of sail. Depending upon the comfort level and size of the student, they will be sailing in either Optis or Vanguards.

The age range of this class is large, but we will divide the students into two groups: roughly an 8-12 group and a 13-17 group depending upon the ages of each class. Instructor to student ratio is approx. 3:8 if the class is full.

Intermediate Sailing

Ages 8-17 | $225
Jun 22-26 | 1:00 – 4:00 PM
Jul 6-10 | 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM (Girls Only) 
Jul 20-24 | 1:00 AM – 4:00 PM 
Aug 3-7 | 1:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Aug 17-21 | 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Intermediate Sailing is for students who have taken our Beginner Sailing class and have been recommended for Intermediate Sailing. Students in this class must feel comfortable with skills such as: sailing alone, managing tiller hand exchanges, and capsizing. This class stands out because students can perfect their skills on boats that are forgiving with instructors standing by in chase boats. If you do not know if your child is ready for Intermediate Sailing, please call and ask our registrar at 360.385.3628 x104. Instructor to student ratio is 4:8 if the class is full.

Advanced Sailing

Ages 8-17 | $225
Jun 29-Jul 3 | 1:00 – 4:00 PM
Jul 13-17 | 1:00 – 4:00 PM
Jul 27-31 | 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM (Girls Only)
Aug 10-14 | 1:00 – 4:00 PM

Advanced Sailing is for students who have taken our Beginner & Intermediate Sailing classes and were recommended for Advanced Sailing. Students in this class must be able to do all the skills of the Beginner and Intermediate Sailing classes. Students will explore advanced sailing such as bouy racing, Port Townsend Bay distance sailing, and other advanced technical sailing skills. Instructor to student ratio is 3:10 if the class is full.

Sail Intensive

9:00 AM – 4:00 PM | Ages 10-17 | $365
Jul 6-10, Jul 27-31, Aug 17-21

Ready for a bigger sailing adventure? This is an advanced level sailing class that explores Port Townsend Bay while focusing on in-depth practicing of more specific sailing skills. In this sailing class, students will sail to Fort Worden to have lunch, and will sail to the Port Townsend Paper Mill or to the tower off of Fort Flagler! Instructor to student ratio is 3:10 if the class is full.

Intro to Racing

9:00 AM – 4:00 PM | Ages 12-17 | $275
Aug 24-26

Intro to Racing is a prep class for the High School Sailing Team season. If you are interested in learning more about the techniques and rules of competitive racing, this is a great class for you! This sailing class is taught by our High School Sailing Team coach in preparation for the Fall season. Advanced Sailing is prerequisite for this class.

Partnership Camps

The camps below are offered in partnership with other organizations such as the Port Townsend Marine Science Center and Salish Sea Sciences.

Marine Biology Afoot & Afloat

with Port Townsend Marine Science Center

Jul 27-31 | Ages 10-13
Calling all budding Marine Biologists (ages 10-13)! This 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]
Longboat Explorations with Port Townsend Marine Science Center

with Port Townsend Marine Science Center

Jul 13-17 | Ages 13-15
Want to take a deeper dive into the Salish Sea this summer? Learn about marine ecology and conservation on the water, and visit areas accessible only by boat while collecting scientific data aboard the Northwest Maritime Center’s historic longboats on two day-long expeditions in this camp. This program is in collaboration with the Port Townsend Marine Science Center.

[Click here for more information and online registration]
Field & Lab Science

with Salish Sea Sciences

Jun 21-Jul 17 | High school students
Salish Sea Sciences is a month-long summer program where high school students are immersed in marine science learning on San Juan Island in partnership with the UW Friday Harbor Labs. Includes a 5 day overnight longboat voyage in partnership with the Northwest Maritime Center.

[Click here for more information and online registration]

NWMC Cancellation Policy

Cancellations must be received in writing (email to

  • Cancellations 30 days or more prior to the first day of the program will be refunded the program cost less an administrative fee of $40 per program.
  • Cancellations 7 days to 29 days prior to the first day of the program will be refunded 70% of the program cost.
  • Cancellations made less than 7 days prior to the first day of the program will not be refunded.
  • Please ask about options to reschedule.
  • If NWMC, WBF, & SSE cancels a program, 100% of fees will be refunded or a reschedule option may be arranged.