Youth Programs


Have fun getting your feet wet and learn to feel safe in the water! This is an experiential program designed to build confidence in the water and on boats. Between learning how to safely use kayaks, SUPs, and playing games on the beach, this program prepares for sailing classes and boating adventures. Leadership and life skills are learned while on the water.

Sailors will spend afternoons on the beach in Clipper Cove, trying out kayaks and stand up paddle boarding (SUP)s with their instructor. By the week’s end, be introduced to our smaller boat – BUGS.


Designed as a fun and exciting introduction to sailing for our young sailors, seven years of age! Seals will focus on water safety aboard our J/24 Keelboats. Sailing with an instructor in small groups, Seals will become comfortable with the water while learning seamanship skills such as; knot tying, how to move around the vessel safely, sailing terminology, and trying different roles on the boat. 

Sailors will spend afternoons on the beach in Clipper Cove, trying out kayaks and stand up paddle boarding (SUP)s with their instructor. By the week’s end, be introduced to our smaller boat – BUGS.


Science and Sailing Class is for students in 4th through 6th grades who want to combine sailing lessons with learning about the Bay. The STEM curriculum emphasizes identifying distinct types of pollution and their impact on different aspects of the marine environment. Students then learn what they can do to address the pollution they encounter in their lives.

Using what they learn in the classroom, students perform science experiments about the ecology of the Bay and pollution. They sail to destinations in Clipper Cove and help Bay Area scientists by collecting water samples and reporting their findings. Students use scientific processes, such as observation, compare and contrast, and experimentation, to understand different aspects of the watershed.

At the end of the course, students gain a strong sense of environmental stewardship and a deeper understanding of how they can help protect the Bay. The sailing portion teaches boat safety and basic sailing skills similar to those taught in our beginning sailing courses: basic water safety principles, points of sail, rigging, tacking, parts of the boat, knots, proper sail trim, and steering.


Students in the Beginner Youth Sailing Program will develop confidence on and off the water, gain familiarity with fundamental sailing skills, wind and sea awareness, and enhance their respect for a clean ocean. Students will also learn safety skills such as rules of the road, capsize recovery, overboard recovery, and safety position. They will learn the standard skills of jibing, tacking, steering, getting out of iron, and points of sail. Students begin sailing in our BUGS, and, when ready, progress to sailing single-handed. This self-paced class may take up to two years to build a foundation and progress into mastery of general sailing skills.


Continuing to develop confidence on and off the water, students in the Intermediate Youth Sailing Program will build upon previously achieved sailing skills. By enhancing their experience via teamwork and heightened self-awareness, sailors will learn theoretical knowledge and general skills.

Theoretical knowledge of seamanship (i.e., knot tying, sails and lines, hull and rigging), navigation, emergency procedure (i.e., the international signal of distress), current, wind and land effects, and fundamental knowledge of equipment and use are some examples. Other general skills include roll tacking, jibing, sailing a windward leg, sailing a reach, sailing downwind, and proper sail/boat trim.


Students will continue to develop their sailing skills and prepare for racing. They become comfortable with on-the-water problem-solving, moving into a leadership role for the younger students by setting a good example, having a positive attitude, and being helpful in a constructive manner. General skills for this course are:

  • Backward sailing
  • Spinnaker
  • Rudderless sailing
  • Tuning sail controls
  • Understanding sail adjustments on each leg
  • Racing skills include starting tactics, using the wind to identify puffs, and reading a race course
  • Completing one day of racing

Once sailors have satisfactorily demonstrated specific nationally recognized sailing skills in the advanced course, they are ready to progress to sailboat racing.

Together with its generous partners, TISC is proud to run two Set Sail Learn STEM programs, Set Sail Learn (SSL) and Sailing to Save the Sea (SSS).   Learn More