We offer many courses to students and community members 17 years or older to promote confidence on the water. Whether you want to learn to row, kayak or sail, we have the class for you. If you are looking to sign your child up for a two-week sailing camp, please visit Junior Sailing. 

Sailing | Rowing | Kayaking


Dinghy Sailing

Beginning Dinghy

    • No prior experience is necessary! Beginning sailing uses RS Quest vessels, which can hold 2-3 students per boat.

      Students Learn:

      • Rigging
      • Nomenclature
      • Sailing theory
      • Proper boat handling
      • Basic sailing knots
      • Rigging for strong vs. light-wind conditions
      • Departing and returning to the dock
      • Balancing the boat
      • Sail trim
      • Tacking and Jibing
      • Stopping and starting on the water
      • Safe-boating practices
      • Self-rescue techniques
      • Rules of the road
      • Wind and ocean conditions

Intermediate Dinghy

This course begins with a review of the skills that were covered in the Beginning Dinghy Sailing class.

After review, the intermediate class shifts towards further development and refinement of small-boat sailing techniques.

Satisfactory completion meets the prerequisite for Beginning Keelboat and Advanced Dinghy Sailing classes.

Students Learn:

  • Right of Way 
  • A detailed discussion of rules of the road
  • Points of sail
  • Sailing in stronger winds
  • Improvement of boat handling skills
  • Hiking out
  • Sail theory
  • Sail trim
  • Powering up vs. depowering
  • How and when to reef
  • Heaving to
  • Backwards sailing
  • Blind-folded sailing
  • Introduction to racing

Advanced Dinghy

  • The advanced dinghy is an introduction to high-performance racing dinghies, with an emphasis on boat control and speed. 

    Wetsuits are required!

    Students Learn:

    • Rigging the Lasers and Visions
    • Self-rescue techniques
    • Dry capsizes
    • Boat handling
    • Sail trim
    • Sail shape and adjusting controls
    • Upwind vs. downwind sailing techniques
    • How to effectively hike


Keelboat Sailing

Beginning | Intermediate | Advanced

Beginning Keelboat

    • This is a great class for those students who wish to expand their knowledge of sailing.

      Students Learn:

      • "Hands-on" rigging and docking practice;
      • Sailing practice on the Monterey Bay;
      • Sail trim, powering up vs. de-powering, sail theory;
      • Person-overboard recovery techniques and drills;
      • Boating safety, VHF usage, and rules of the road;
      • Weather and ocean conditions.

Intermediate Keelboat

    • This is a great class for students who wish to be introduced to the exhilaration and intricacies of sailing with a spinnaker!

      Students Learn:

      • Review of skills learned in Beginning Keelboat class;
      • Introduction to spinnaker — packing, rigging, setting, crew management/positions, jibing, dousing and safety;
      • Practice new skills at the dock first;
      • Eventually set and fly the spinnaker on the bay.

Advanced Keelboat

  • This is a class for those who want an introduction into cruising.

    Students Learn:

    • Boat systems
    • Docking
    • Anchoring
    • Back and fill
    • Introduction to charts and navigation



Rowing is one of the most effective aerobic exercises known with almost zero impact. If you want a total body work out and don't want to be in a sweaty gym, then rowing could be for you!

We offer a variety of rowing opportunities to all experience levels. Once individuals have completed the courses, they can join the Boating Club and complete the rowing check out which will allow them to use the rowing shells during club hours.

Beginning Rowing

Beginners will use an Edon training shell with a detachable pontoon.

The course is designed to cover basic skills of the rowing stroke, launching, docking and safety while on the water.  Students will be rowing in singles and double rowing shells. The class starts in the harbor near the docks. As the course progresses, students will have a chance to row in Monterey Bay. 

Prerequisite(s): Basic swimming ability.

Intermediate Rowing

This class is taught in single and double sculls, with a majority of the classes being taught out on the Monterey Bay. More intermediate rowing techniques are covered and the skills needed for safe open-water rowing. This class is for students wishing to improve their basic skills with an emphasis on conditioning - interval and endurance. 
Intermediate rowers may choose from the following vessels which may include:

  • MAAS Aeros 20' (3)
  • MAAS 24's (2)
  • Bay 21 (1, New)
  • Pegassus (1)
  • WinTech 30' Double (1, New)
  • Custom wooden double (1) built by Jeremy Fisher-Smith

Prerequisite(s): Basic rowing or equivalent skill.


Sit on top sea kayaking courses are available to UCSC students only. 

Kayaking is a great core workout when executed properly! This water activity is distinguished from canoeing by the sitting position of the paddler and the number of blades on the paddle. A kayak is a low-to-the-water, canoe-like boat in which the paddler sits facing forward, legs in front, using a double-bladed paddle to pull front-to-back on one side and then the other in rotation. Most kayaks have closed decks, although open deck and inflatable kayaks are growing in popularity as well. Kayaking is offered for students through PE courses, Adventure Rec Outings, and Kayak Club.

Three-time surf-kayak world champion Dave Johnston leads students on an amazing journey through the natural wonders of Monterey Bay while you learn beach launching and landing through surf, self and assisted deep water rescue, marine hazards, navigation, all the while developing sound technique and building paddling strength and endurance. 

Sign up for student kayaking courses through MyUCSC. To sign up for a single-time, kayak tour please visit adventure rec.