Learn to Sail in the Bay Area

If you’ve ever driven across any of the bridges in the Bay Area, you’ve likely spotted at least a sailboat or two cruising around the bay. On a beautiful sunny day, sailing San Francisco Bay looks like one of best ways to spend some time outdoors in the Bay Area. For those without a boat, there are plenty of places to rent sailboats. And if you don’t know how to sail yet, learn to sail there are plenty of options to take sailing lessons in the Bay Area.

Below, we’ve listed details on 8 places that offer sailing lessons. Most are affiliated with either the American Sailing Association (ASA)or US Sailing. Both organizations have similar certifications that can be attained for basic keelboat sailing and coastal cruising, as well as more advanced sailing lessons.

Soon you’ll be sailing the bay with beautiful views of the Golden Gate Bridge.

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Learn to Sail in the Bay Area

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Afterguard Sailing Academy (ASA)
Club Nautique (ASA)
J World Performance Sailing
OCSC Sailing School
Sailing San Francisco
San Francisco Sailing School
Treasure Island Sailing Center
Spinnaker Sailing School

Spinnaker Sailing School



Spinnaker Sailing in Redwood City began in 1980 with 1 boat, a small floating office, and a mission to share our love of sailing with as many people as possible.

Over the years we have taught thousands of students to sail and in doing so established ourselves as leaders in sailing education.

As an American Sailing Association affiliate, our courses are designed to give students internationally recognized certification through the American Sailing Association.

The staff at Spinnaker Sailing consists of a group of dedicated professionals who have many years of sailing experience and many areas of expertise.

location:  451 Seaport Court, Redwood City, CA 94063


  • Basic Keelboat Sailing (ASA 101): $795
    consists of two weekends Saturday & Sunday 9:30 – 4:30 each day for a total of 32 hours of instruction
  • Basic Coastal Cruising (ASA 103): $895
    A four day class that prepares students to skipper boats up to 30 feet on San Francisco Bay and around the world.
    Consists of two weekends Saturday & Sunday 9:30 – 4:30 each day for a total of 32 hours of instruction
  • Motoring & Docking (ASA 118):  $325
    This course is designed to enhance your confidence and your ability to maneuver and dock a sailboat in a variety of situations.
    One day course (Saturdays) from 9:30 – 4:30
  • Bareboat Cruising (ASA 104): $1195
    This is a 4 day class that is held Saturday and Sunday for two weekends and is designed to qualify students to skipper boats 30 to 50 ft.
    Runs 9:30 – 4:30 each day for a total of 32 hours

They also offer two learn to sail membership packages.

  • Basic: Learn to sail boats up to 30 feet: $2100
    With this year-long membership you will gain the skills you need to confidently skipper on a day sail or race.
    Includes ASA 101 & 103 from above ($1690) + Mates 12 Month Membership ($695) + Initiation ($425) for a total value of $2720
    Mates membership benefits: Access free sailing activities and receive discounts on sailboat charters and sailing lessons. Other membership levels include use of boats.
  • Advanced: Learn to sail boats up to 50 feet: $3995
    Includes all four courses above + Mates 12 Month Membership ($695) + Initiation ($425) + 3 Catalina 27 Charters ($720) for a total value of $496

Advanced courses available, as well as private instruction.

The San Francisco Sailing School



The San Francisco Sailing Company has been providing premium sailing experiences for nearly a decade. In that time we have taken tens of thousands of passengers sailing through the magical waters of the San Francisco Bay. Through the years happy customers have asked us if we provide lessons and now we can say:“Yes, we can teach you to do what we do!”

Location: 2800 Leavenworth., Suite 210, San Francisco, CA 94133


  • Basic Keelboat I (ASA 101 Part 1): $490
    Sat/Sun, Tues/Wed or Thurs/Fri – 2 days per class, 6 hours per day (9:30 – 3:30),
  • Basic Keelboat II (ASA 101 Part 2): $490
    Sat/Sun, Tues/Wed or Thurs/Fri – 2 days per class, 6 hours per day (9:30 – 3:30)
  • Basic Keelboat Package I + II (ASA 101 Basic Keelboat Sailing Certification): $790
    Combined package containing both Basic Keelboat I and Basic Keelboat II
    Additional $86 course material and ASA membership fee required for certification
  • Basic Coastal Cruising (ASA 103 Certification): $790
    Friday 6:30-9:30 PM, Sat and Sun 9:30-5:00
    Additional $11 Exam & Certification Fee
  • Big Boat Cruising (ASA 104 Bareboat Chartering Certification): $1150
    Friday 6:30-9:30 PM, Sat Overnight (optional) and Sun 9:30-5:00
    Additional $35 Text Book & Certificate Fee.
  • Coastal Navigation (ASA 105 Certification): $480
    Tues-Thurs 6:00-9:00 PM, 2nd Tues & Thurs 6:00-9:00 or Saturday, Sunday + 2nd Saturday, Sunday 4:30-7:30 (test) Thursday 6-9

Discounts are available for members, with recurring fees starting at $49 per month.


Sailing San Francisco


Come sail with me, Captain John. Let me share my passion for sailing with you. I’m a U.S. certified sailing instructor and licensed by the U.S Coast Guard and fully insured. The boat, Temptation, was purchased in 2007 brand new. She is a modern, luxury 37 foot sailing yacht.

Location: 586 Marina Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94123

This sailing course is an introduction to sailing. The course is designed to give you hands-on experience and give you the opportunity to learn how to sail on San Francisco Bay with a minimal amount of time and money.

The course can be given on a weekday or weekend, either Saturday or Sunday from 9am to 4pm. There will be a classroom session inside the boat, safety lecture and hands-on sailing on the water. All instructional materials are included. The cost is $150 per hour.


Treasure Island Sailing Center


The Treasure Island Sailing Center offers sailing and water sports lessons to youth, adult, and adaptive sailors. Since 1999, TISC has served over 30,000 youth and adults. TISC is a US Sailing certified community sailing center and offers beginner through advanced sailing courses to youth and adults. Groups and community organizations are welcome! Scholarships are provided to all who meet the financial requirements. Visit our scholarship  page to see if you or your youth group qualifies for free sailing lessons.

Location: 698 California Ave # 112, San Francisco, CA 94130


  • Basic Keelboat ($599)
    Saturday and Sunday 10AM–4PM
    Consists of two weekend courses with 8 hours of instruction each day
  • Advanced Keelboat: ($599)
    Saturday and Sunday 10AM-4PM
    Consists of two weekend courses with 8 hours of instruction each day
  • Adult Dinghy – Level I ($350)
    Class length: 3 days (Saturday, Sunday, Saturday, 10AM – 4PM each day)
    This Dinghy Level 1 course is designed to teach small boat handling to beginners or those looking to brush up on skills. The course will be taught on our RS Ventures. In this progression course students will learn basic knots, rigging, sail adjustment, docking, steering a course, person in the water drills, and capsize/recovery drills.
  • Courses on specific skills also available at $60/session


Afterguard Sailing Academy



Afterguard Sailing Academy’s Mission is to help people who want to sail to reach their sailing goals safely, at reasonable cost and without yelling. We help make sailing dreams real and the journey to accomplish the goals fun.

Afterguard has a non-profit arm with a Mission to help kids by sharing the valuable experiences and lessons in sailing. Afterguard is owned by Captain Mary SwiftSwan. Mary is the head Instr. ASA I.E., a contributing-author of ASA’ s 1st and 2nd level text books with more in the works.


  • Main Base: 1853 Embarcadero, Suite #2B, Oakland, CA 94606
  • Satellite Base: 1 Clipper Cove Way, Harbormaster Gate, San Francisco, CA 94130


1st Tier – Like to learn from the ground up? If new to sailing suggest starting with BK1. Afterguard’s capable crew course prior to ASA-101.  Not required. If sailed actively with friends and family may go straight to ASA-101

  • Asa-101 Basic Keelboat Sailing Skipper – 2.5 day – Members: $495; Non-Members: $595
  • Asa-103 Basic Coastal Cruising – 4.5 days – Members: $645; Non-Members: $775

2nd Tier – Get Charter Ready for World-wide dream vacations in regions brisk or warm. This series Yacht rental firms are looking for the certificates to be able to rent to you without having to add their skippers to your boat. Docking, Bare Boat Chartering, Coastal Navigation and perhaps Cruising Multi-Hull are your passport to dream adventures.

  • Asa-104 Bare-boat Chartering: 3 days – Members: $695; Non-Members: $835
  • Asa-105 Coastal Navigation: 4+ days – Members: $495; Non-Members: $595
  • ASA 110 Basic Small Boat: 4 half days – Members: $375; Non-members: $450
  • Asa-114 Cruising Multi-hull: 2/3 days – Members: $625-820; Non-Members: $750-985

3rd Tier – Coasts to cruise or Oceans to cross? Start with 1 or 2 days of ‘Sea Legs’. After ACC go for Heavy Weather Strategies and Live Crew Overboard clinics.  You will be glad you did.

  • Acc-106 Advanced Coastal Cruising: 5 days – Members: $1395; Non-Members: $1575

4th Tier – When ready to cross oceans – consider these next steps:

  • Asa-107 Celestial Navigation: 4 days – Members: $495; Non-Members: $595

They also offer:

  • Basics to Bay Skipper (101 & 103 – 3 wknd)
    • Members: $1080; Non-members: $1295
  • Basics to Bay Skipper (101-103)   M-F
    • Members: $894; Non-members: $1080
  • World Charter Ready (104 & 114) M-F +1
    • Members: $1255; Non-members: $1495
  • Experienced Sailor Cruise Prep (challenges + fill in 101-104, + 105,106)
    • Member: $3350; Non-Members: 4695
  • Basics to Ocean (ASA series plus Cruising Spin, Sea Legs & Heavy Weather)
    • Members: $4995; Non-Members: $5995


Club Nautique



Since 1980, we have provided a unique pathway into the world of sailing and powerboating with instruction, a sailboat and trawler charter fleet, club facilities and activities, and yacht sales. our mission is to help you get on the water and realize your yachting goals!

The fact that we’re not just a sailing school or rent-a-boat operation means we are committed to your long term yachting success. When you take a class at Club Nautique, rest assured our goal is to make you into the best sailor possible. After all, when you graduate, you’re going to be skippering our boats. Our courses are guaranteed exactly for that reason.

Once you’re a member of Club Nautique, we continue to meet your yachting needs, from ongoing instruction to worldwide charters and maybe even boat ownership. We’re very proud of the fact that many of our members have been with us since we opened our doors back in 1980. We’re also quite proud of our members who came to us never having sailed before and with the skills learned at Club Nautique, are out cruising the world.


  • Alameda location: 1150 Ballena Blvd. Suite 161, Alameda, CA 94501
  • Sausalito Location: 400 Harbor Dr. Suite D, Sausalito, CA 94965


  • Basic Keelboat: The 4-day, 32-hour course combines short classroom sessions with hands-on experience sailing on beautiful San Francisco Bay.
    • Four Days (32 Hours) 0830 to 1630
    • Short Classroom Sessions
    • Extended Time On The Water
    • Colgate 26′ Sloops (The only keelboat designed and built specifically for sailing instruction)
    • Offered Most Weekends and Selected Weekdays at Each Location
    • Classes may be split between any of our locations.
    • Tuition: Regularly $1,000 Coastal Passage Making: We teach Coastal Passage Making as a series of 2½ day weekends along the beautiful and challenging Central California coast
    • A series of 2½ day weekends
    • Minimum of four passages on instructor boats and one tag-along voyage
    • Offered one to two times each month from March through November
    • Taught aboard a series of ocean certified yachts 36′ to 50′
    • Price: $800/weekend + Share of charter cost per voyage.
  • Basic Cruising: This 4-day, 32-hour course takes you beyond the basics through all the skills and knowledge necessary to skipper mid-sized sailboats independently on San Francisco Bay, the Great Lakes, or most near-coastal waters around the country.
    • Four Days/ 32 Hours (0900 to 1700)
    • Alternating Classroom and Onboard Sessions
    • Offered Most Weekends and Selected Weekdays at Each Location
    • Offered Most Weekends and Selected Weekdays at Each Location
    • Taught on Substantial 30′ to 32′ Cruising Auxiliary Sailboats
    • Classes may be split between any of our locations.
    • Regular Price: $1250


J World Performance Sailing



For over 18 years, J/World Performance Sailing School has been selected as the top sailing school in America.  Regardless of your present skill level or the type of boat you prefer, your training at J World and our exceptional sailing courses will improve your performance as a sailor. By attending J World Sailing School, you will learn more about sailing than any from other sailing school in the country.  


  • San Diego: 2240 Shelter Island Drive, #202, San Diego, CA 92106
  • San Francisco: 1070 Marina Village Parkway, Slip S1, Alameda, CA
  • Puerto Vallarta: Paradise Village Marina, Nuevo Vallarta, Paseo De Los Cocoteros #001 10B


  • Basic Keelboat Certification: The Basic Keelboat graduate will have successfully demonstrated the ability to responsibly skipper and crew a simple day-sailing keelboat in familiar waters in light to moderate wind and sea conditions.
  • J World classes to obtain Basic Keelboat certification:
    • Learn to Sail – Four day course:
      • $895, includes course materials, US Sailing Certification, and a one year membership to US Sailing.  Visit our pricing page for full details.
    • Learn to Sail – Two weekends
      • $895, includes course materials, US Sailing Certification, and a one year membership to US Sailing.  Visit our pricing page for full details.
    • Advanced Boat Handling – with previous experience
      • The Advanced Boathandling Class is perfect as a follow up to our Learn to Sail course and a precursor to our Performance Cruising class, and it is also an excellent brush up course for our for our Racing classes.  We can offer US Sailing Certification with the completion of the advanced boat handling sailing course.
      • $550 per person.  Visit our pricing page for full details.
  • Basic Cruising Certification: The Basic Cruising graduate will have successfully demonstrated the ability to responsibly skipper and crew an auxiliary powered cruising sailboat, during daylight hours, within sight of land in moderate wind and sea conditions.
  • World classes to obtain Basic Cruising certification:
    • Performance Cruising – Four Days:
      • At our San Francisco and San Diego locations, we will also introduce students to a larger boat, the J/105, for the second half of the course (in Puerto Vallarta, the full course is conducted aboard the J/80).  This sailboat cruising and day sailing course concentrates on many aspects of sailing and introduces skills that bareboat charter companies are looking for before accepting you as a potential sailboat charter client.  Successful completion of this course qualifies you to charter boats without a skipper in the J/World Sailing Club.
      • $1095, includes course materials and US Sailing Certification.
    • Performance Cruising – Two Weekends:
      • $1095, includes course materials, US Sailing Certification, and a one year membership to US Sailing.
      • Qualified sailors may also take the second weekend as a self standing course (the Cruise Boat Handling Course) specific to sailing larger boats.
    • Live-aboard Cruising – Three days:
      • The Three Day Liveaboard Cruising Course runs Friday to Sunday in San Francisco Bay, San Deigo, and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.  Due to the shorter time-frame, this course tends to be for those individuals with a bit more experience who require ‘brushing up.
      • Pricing – $1295
    • Live-aboard Cruising – Five Days:
      • The Five Day Liveaboard Cruising Course (Monday – Friday) is our most popular cruising class.  Possible destinations from our San Francisco Bay base include sailing to Monterey Bay, Santa Cruz, Half Moon Bay, Bolinas Bay, San Pablo Bay, and the Sacramento River Delta.  From San Diego, we regularly head out to the Channel Islands and Catalina. In Puerto Vallarta, we explore the further reaches of Banderas Bay, and venture along the Mexican coastline to some beautiful areas which can be found along less-traveled paths.
      • Pricing – $1995


OCSC Sailing School



Lots of things have changed with OCSC Sailing since 1979 – the Dodge van and the Capri 14’s have long since been retired, our diet has expanded beyond tuna and potatoes, we no longer sleep on classroom tables. And even better, My Sharona is no longer a top-ten hit.

But one thing hasn’t changed: we are passionate, as we’ve been from the beginning, about teaching sailing to our clients just the same way we’d teach our friends.

Location: One Spinnaker Way, Berkeley, CA 94710


  • Basic Keelboat: Our Basic Keelboat certification package is a comprehensive lifetime preparation course that is a place for participants to learn how to sail. It is designed both for students who have no sailing experience and for those who have experience, but want to be sure they learn to sail the right way, from the ground up.
    • Four-day Option: Two full weekends of your choice. 9am–4pm each day.
    • Five-Day Option: Five weekdays (Monday – Friday) 9am–4pm each day.
    • Pricing:
      • Retail: $1395
      • Members: $1095
  • Basic Cruising: Our Basic Cruising certification package is intended for those with a US Sailing Basic Keelboat certification or equivalent skills. This course is designed specifically to prepare you to skipper a sailboat in the challenging conditions peculiar to San Francisco Bay. It is as challenging and rewarding a course as we offer.
    • Four-day Option: Two full weekends of your choice. 10am–5pm each day.
    • Five-Day Option: Five weekdays (Monday – Friday) 10am–5pm each day.
    • Pricing:
      • Retail: $1395
      • Members: $1046.25
  • Bareboat cruising: Bareboat Cruising is intended for those with a US Sailing Basic Cruising certification or equivalent skills. We teach this course aboard 30′ to 40′ yachts fully-equipped for bareboat charters.
    • 4 Day: Two weekends. 10am–4pm each day. Overnight on second weekend.
    • 5 Day: Monday–Friday. 10am–4pm each day. Overnight on Wednesday.
    • Pricing:
      • Retail: $2195
      • Members: $1646.25
  • Advanced Cruising: Our Advanced Bareboat Cruising course offers you the opportunity to continue to grow and focus on areas that most skippers long to improve. This is a sailing course, but with a cruising emphasis.
    • 2 Days: Saturday and Sunday. 9am–5pm each day.
    • Pricing:
      • Retail: $895
      • Members: $656.25

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