Courageous Sailing @ UMass Boston

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I go out sailing at Courageous Sailing @ UMass?

There are two ways:

  1. You already know how to sail! To confirm this, schedule on-the-water checkout with us. It’s a 45 minute test of your sailing skills, the completion of which gives us the confidence to let you go out sailing on your own!
  2. You want to learn to sail with us! For UMass Boston students, these lessons are entirely free, and we offer private lessons for the general public. Please contact us for more information, and look at our general schedule here.

If you are looking for a more accessible way to get out on the water, you can be out kayaking within fifteen minutes of arriving at the dock, with or without experience!

What should I do before I arrive? Do I need to sign anything or sign up?

If you are a student, please send a photo of your student ID to and sign our waiver.

If you are a member of the public and coming to rent or become a member, please just sign our waiver.

Lessons and sailing checkouts must be signed up for in advance, so please call, email, or stop by the boathouse in order to schedule.

Is there parking? What’s the easiest way to get there?

Parking is available in Lot D. This parking lot is a 10 minute walk from the dock, so plan accordingly if you have a lesson or reservation.

The easiest way to get to the UMass Dock is probably by bicycle. Please see a map of the area in order to see how to get here.

When should I plan to arrive for lessons or reservations?

Please arrive at Courageous about 10 minutes early, and check in at the Front Desk. Make sure to allow extra time for parking and the walk over. If you’re running late, please give us a call at 617.905.1093 and let us know. We try to be as flexible as possible, but if you arrive late for a lesson or reservation, we may not be able to accommodate you.

What should I bring? What should I wear? What about food?

Bring a water bottle, sunscreen, and a few extra layers, including a waterproof jacket. Sunglasses and a hat are good ideas, too. Cameras/phones are welcome, but we can tell you from experience that watersports and personal electronic devices don’t mix well!

We recommend wearing closed-toed shoes with good traction and non-marking soles, such as sneakers or boat shoes. Flip flops and high heels are strictly prohibited from our dock.

Life jackets are provided and required at all times when on a boat.

Feel free to bring snacks or lunch. Coffee, snacks, and sandwiches are available at several locations on campus, but there is not much else close by.

What if there’s bad weather or strong wind?

Well, that depends on what you mean by bad weather. Sailing is fun even when the weather isn’t perfect, and we can’t guarantee sunny days for everyone. So if it’s overcast or raining a bit, sailing will still happen! We monitor the radar and wind speed closely, so that we can predict when heavy rain or unsafe conditions are likely to pass through.

Sailing on the 15’ Mercurys is suspended once the wind is above a sustained 15mph, so please call ahead if the wind is predicted to be strong.

Both sailing and kayaking are suspended during thunderstorms and other extreme or dangerous weather events.

How will I know if my course is canceled or there are restrictions on member sailing?

Call us at 617.905.1093! Sailing and sailing lessons will definitely be cancelled if the wind is too strong, and boating in general is suspended if thunderstorms are imminent or above us.

What kind of boat will I be sailing? Could we capsize? Will I get wet?

The short answer for all the boats we have is “yes”. The sailboats we have at the UMass Dock are all small sailboats which end up being on the wetter side, even without the fact that they can to capsize. The kayaks we offer are all sit-on-top, so getting dripped on by paddles and splashed in general is normal, and most kayakers end up at least a little damp by the time they come back in.

What should I do with my belongings and valuables?

Your cellphone will fall out of your back pocket! Make sure it is zipped into a safe place or, even better, safely ashore. Students and members only need an ID with them when they arrive at the dock, so keeping valuables and electronics away from the water is a good idea.

Can I bring children?

Of course! Courageous is a great place to sail with kids. We have a variety of life jackets for children and babies. There must be one responsible adult per child under the age of 12 (in addition to the instructor, if it is a lesson), unless you’ve discussed it with us in advance.

Minors must have a waiver signed by a parent or guardian!

Can pets sail at Courageous?

Chill pets are welcome, but you must bring a (pet-specific) life jacket for them. Please keep your dog on a leash, and be aware that there are often other dogs here. If you and/or your pet are fairly new to boating, a long sail or kayak ride probably isn’t the best time to bring your pet on the boat.