Youth Frequently Asked Questions
- Life jackets must be worn at all times while on the dock and in boats. No student is allowed through the dock gate without a life jacket.
- Every instructor and staff member is at least First Aid and CPR certified.
- All of our head instructors are US Sailing Instructor Certified and all have attended Courageous pre-season training programs.
- A head instructor is always on duty to supervise operations.
- A safety launch, or safety boat, accompanies all classes with at least one launch on stand-by at the Courageous pier.
- Our student-to-instructor ratio for our beginner sailors is 3:1 —one of the best in the industry.
- All launches are equipped with VHF radios for fast communication with each other, the boathouse, and if necessary the Boston Harbor Police and US Coast Guard.
- Courageous has a conservative foul weather policy. Boats are recalled or kept at the dock in bad weather and forecasts are monitored constantly.
- Students must be able to swim at least 25 yards and tread water for 90 seconds in order to sail.
- YMCA: Certificate of completion for Fish Level and/or Level 5 or above
- Red Cross: Certificate of Completion for Level V or above
- Boy/Girl Scouts: Swimming or Lifesaving Merit Badge
Step 1: Sailing 101 (minimum age 8)If your child has no sailing experience or is new to Courageous, then Step 1: Sailing 101 is probably the right place to start. In Sailing 101, instructors are in the boats with the students at all times, which makes for a safe and highly individualized learning environment. If you are unsure of whether your child is ready for the next level, it is often best to assume they ought to stay in Sailing 101. Review is never a bad thing! Typically, students spend multiple summers in Sailing 101. If you have any more questions, please feel free to email or call.
Step 2: Beginner Sailing (minimum age 9)This program is not available to the general public. Due to extremely high demand, this program is limited to only those youth who have already participated in a Steps to Lead or Swim Sail Science Courageous Sailing summer program. This is a three-week program that delves into greater depth on topics covered in Sailing 101. Instructors are in the boats with students at all times. Most students require 2-3 summers of this course before moving to Step 3.
Step 3: Intermediate Sailing (minimum age 11)Appropriate for those sailors who are capable of comfortably sailing a small keelboat (one of our 19-foot Rhodes 19s) without an instructor with them in the boat. The Step 3 sailor knows and is comfortable with the basics (tacking, jibing, man overboard recovery, docking, rigging, knots, upwind sailing, etc.) but still needs time to review and gain mastery. The Step 3 sailor is comfortable enough with basic skills to begin applying them in on-the-water games and drills, races, and occasional trips beyond the inner harbor. Typically, students spend one or two summers in Step 3 before progressing to Step 4.
Step 4: Beginner Dinghy (minimum age 12)For advanced sailors only, or those students who have mastered the basics. Students will be in dinghies for their first time (small sailboats with centerboards instead of keels). These dinghies, unlike the Rhodes-19 keel boats, are capable of capsizing, and so students MUST have comfort in the water. If your child has sailed with Courageous in the past, entering Step 4 students would have a recommendation on file for promotion from their instructors. Typically students spend 1 to 2 summers in Step 4.
Step 5: Advanced Dinghy or Cruising Sailing (minimum age 13)For advanced dinghy or cruising sailors only. Dinghy students will be in higher performance dinghies including Lasers and 420s. Cruising students will be on larger cruising boats. Both dinghies and larger cruising boats demand mastery of the basics in order to be successfully sailed. If your child has sailed with Courageous in the past, entering Step 5 students would have a recommendation on file for promotion from their instructors. Typically students spend 2 to 3 summers in Step 5.
The Step 6 "Instructor-in-Training" or "IIT" ProgramFor advanced sailors only, specifically those students who have had significant exposure to racing and/or cruising and aspire to become instructors. IITs must apply before March 1 to be considered for selection into the paid summer IIT program. The selection process is competitive, with a written application, an interview, and a sailing skills check. The program is NOT limited to past Courageous students.
For more details, see the above answer to "Which Step should my child register for?"
Remember: Step 2 is not open to the public. The minimum age of entry for Step 3 is 11, and students will be sailing aboard boats, without instructors, on the Boston Harbor.
Step 1: All children must be at least 8 years old by the first day of class. No exceptions.
Step 2: Minimum age: 9 years old
Step 3: Minimum age: 11 years old
Step 4: Minimum age: 12 years old
Step 5: Minimum age: 13 years old
IIT: Minimum age: 15 years old (While 14-year-olds may legally work in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, City of Boston teen employment programs, of which Courageous is a beneficiary, set the minimum age at 15.)
What Being “Waitlisted” at positions 1 – 5 Means
If you have a waitlist number between 1 and 5, there is a fair chance (~50% or more) that a space might become available to you. We will contact you as soon as we know that a space has become available.
What Being “Waitlisted” at positions 6+ Means
If you were waitlisted at position 6 or higher, it is very unlikely (~20% chance or less) that a space might become available to you, and so we encourage you to make other summer plans.
Fees & Scholarships
Income information for people requesting a scholarship will be seen only by the senior program administrators at Courageous. This information will be grouped together to report overall program demographics; however, individual records are kept confidential and are not available to anyone outside the Courageous organization.
When you are admitted to the program, you will receive scholarship instructions. No family is turned away that fits the requirements. Full scholarships (free classes) are available to families on government assistance or with a household income of $110,000 or less. Half scholarships (50% off classes) are available to families with a household income between $110,000 and $150,000.
What to Bring
To all registered sailors, please come to class prepared with the following:
- Plenty of water in a reusable/refillable bottle
- Bagged lunch in a reusable lunch bag that you can bring along with you (Important: There is no guarantee that there will be time for mid-day 7-11 trips -- you could be out picnicking on a harbor island!! Only students in Step 4 or 5 may take trips to 7-11.)
- Sunscreen! (though we might have a little extra to share if you forget)
- Closed toe shoes (no sandals or flip-flops, sneakers are great)
- A hat and/or sunglasses
- A warm layer like a sweatshirt or waterproof jacket (sometimes it’s cold on the water, even in summer!)
- A complete change of clothes (just in case you get a little wet)
- Lots of energy and a great attitude -- be prepared to have the best time of your life!