Summer Programs

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!

Due to COVID-19 limitations, we have cancelled our summer camp offerings for 2020. More information soon. Sign up for our email list.

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:
2021 dates TBD
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:
2021 dates TBD
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:
2021 dates TBD
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)

2021 dates TBD
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

2021 dates TBD
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

2021 dates TBD
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

2021 dates TBD
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.

Learn to Sail Instructors

Alyce Flanagan
Alyce Flanagan grew up on her family’s 82-ft schooner on which she sailed all over the globe. She has been teaching sailing in some form or another since she learned to talk. She has a USCG Captain’s license, has worked on a variety of tall ships and sail trailing vessels, and is currently the coach for the Port Townsend High School Sailing Team. In addition to that, she has extensive dinghy racing experience and has competed in both high school and collegiate racing. Since graduating she has kept her feet wet racing 505’s with her father. She is excited to share her passion for sailing this summer.

Erik Brown
Erik Brown started sailing on Optis in Connecticut when he was 6 years old and has never looked back. He has a USCG Captain’s license as well as a US Sailing Instructor Certification. Erik has experience in all types of sailing craft from dinghies to schooners, and his most recent passion is sailing his hydro foiling windsurfer. He has worked as a sailing instructor on and off for the past 13 years and looks forward to spending another summer on the water.

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.