About Our Youth Learn to Sail Program

Bellingham has been voted one of the five best places in the U.S. to sail by Sailing World magazine!! Does your child or grandchild know how to sail?


The Bellingham Yacht Club (BYC) offers youth sailing classes as a not for profit and self-supported community boating program. The BYC’s youth sailing program provides kids of ages 8 -18 the opportunity to learn to sail or to improve their skills on Bellingham Bay from U.S. Sailing certified instructors. We offer beginning through advanced Learn to Sail, Keelboat and beginning and advanced Cruising classes. We also have a Youth Race Team for those students interested furthering their sailing skills.

Click here to view our course descriptions or go directly to our Online Registration Form to sign up.

Membership in the BYC is not required to participate in the BYC’s youth sailing classes. However, parents and young adults are encouraged through incentives to join in order to support the program, as membership fees are very reasonable. Our classes fill up quickly, so plan your summer schedule early.

BYC youth sailing class sessions are held Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. for all classes.  The cost of a single-session enrollment is $385 for all courses except for the Teen Cruising Camp which is $400. Discounts are available for BYC family members, students signing up for multiple sessions, or two or more students from a single family. The enrollment fee covers instruction, boat usage, and instructional materials. Students enrolled in any BYC Youth Sailing Classes must demonstrate basic swimming ability to class instructors.

Additional Information

Classes are open to anyone with an interest in having fun and learning to sail. Class enrollment includes access to RS Terra, Optimist, Laser or FJ (Flying Junior) Olympic class sailing dinghies matched to each participants skill level. These classes, not only allow students to learn from each other, but also foster team building. Class sizes are limited 6-12 students with the full-day Beginner Sailing Classes grouped by age. There are three (3) certified instructors plus at least one (1) assistant to ensure proper supervision and safety for all classes. Each student receives a US Sailing “Learn Sailing Right” booklet wherein the instructor tracks the student’s progress as their sailing skills and abilities develop. Students completing the entire US Sailing training program receive a certification recognized worldwide for access to US Sailing sponsored training programs, boat rentals and regattas.

Why learn to sail?

Sailing is fun! Depending upon your inclination, a day sailing can be anything from a relaxing time out on the water, to a snarling roller-coaster ride that would challenge an Olympic athlete. It’s a matter of how far you want to push yourself. Sailing is easy and enjoyable for beginners, but takes a lifetime to master. It’s a brain-game: using only the wind, your knowledge and some high-tech equipment, you make your boat go – and go fast! Every day is different. The weather is constantly changing, so the combination of wind, waves and current will always present a new challenge. The more you learn about the factors involved, the more enjoyable the sport becomes. Best of all, when you’re sailing, you get to visit some of the most beautiful places on Earth – places that other people only get to see in pictures!


Contact the BYC Youth Sailing Director, Shea Walker via email at youthsailing@byc.org.