Falmouth Harbor Sailing School 

Teaching the community the art and science of sailing since 1990

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How should your kids prepare to brave the heat?

Spending long periods of time on the water can really take the energy out of a child, even the instructors can have trouble fighting the heat!  That is why we recommend all sailors be prepared for the sun with ample sunscreen and bottle of water at all times.  Unfortunately we do not allow children to have snacks on the water because of allergy concerns, you can still pack a snack for when classes are finished. There is also a snack bar located on the Yacht Club property, but students are not allowed to go there until they are let out of class by their instructor.  A large, energy-rich breakfast is always recommended to make sure everyone has the extra energy to take on sailing. 

List of items your child will need:

  • US Coast Guard approved PFD 
  • closed toed shoes that can get wet
  • reusable water bottle
  • towel
  • sunscreen
  • bathing suit 
  • a hat

2. What should they expect that first day?

While the first day requires new students to learn all the different aspects of sailing, and requires returning students to brush up on their skills, we expect everyone to come ready to sail on the water from day one.  We ask that everyone brings their own PFD (Personal Floatation Device), close-toed shoes, and a pair of clothes they do not mind getting wet (most likely a bathing suit).  If you want to bring a bag with spare clothes or a towel please hang it on a hook, please do not place items on the floor. Some students also like to bring extra equipment such as hats, gloves, or sunglasses but all of that is up to your own discretion. Your instructors will also go over all of the proper clothing equipment on orientation day as well.

3. What are the expectations at FHSS?

We expect that all students are able to act appropriately while also coming in with the open mind to have fun!  Our instructors are the best around and will do everything in their power to make learning sailing as exciting and enjoyable as possibly, but in order for everyone to have a good time every student must be able to follow their directions  and get along with their peers. We also expect that your student arrives on time for their class so that we may get the most time on the water possible. 

4. What if my child is new to sailing and a little timid to get out on the water?

No worries!  All of our instructors have been in their shoes before.  Almost all of us grew up learning how to sail at FHSS and know all the tricks to help a new comer brave their first yachting experiences.  And trust me when we say that when they get their sea legs, you'll have trouble getting them off the water!  Sailing is our passion here and our jobs is to help your children develop that same love of sailing we got growing up here. 

5. Where exactly will you be taking my child?

The Falmouth Yacht Club is located at the base of the Heights and the entrance of Falmouth Harbor.  We sail in the Vineyard Sound, mainly right off of Surf Drive Beach.  We sail all over the Sound from Nobska Lighthouse all the way to Bristol beach depending on the current.  The more advanced classes can even go as far as Martha's Vineyard!  No matter where our sailing adventures take us there will always be a trained instructor right beside your child in the boat or in a trailing coach boat.  

6. How can I help the sailing school or volunteer?

We are always looking for parents to help out at the regattas, cookouts, and at the annual fundraiser. If you have any interest in volunteering please contact Danielle at: ddswpbrown@gmail.com

​7. How do I know when it is time for my child to move to the next level class?

Ask them: If your child expresses being bored, or relearning material, it may be time for them to move up a level. You could also ask them to try to teach you something they did in class today. Even if you don’t know if they’re right, their confidence in the material is large part of how our instructors decide if your child is ready.

Ask their instructor: The person with the best knowledge of your child’s sailing abilities, skill set, and material they’ve covered, is their instructor. Instructors may advise you to keep your child in their class for another week, or to move them up a level.

When in doubt: it can’t hurt to keep your child in the lower class for another week.
Please see our list of required skills for class progression to help determine if your child is ready for the next level class.

FHSS Class Requirements

Note: If your child wants to move up to Opti Racing or 420 Racing, it’s a good idea to ask the race coach what they think. All our instructors work together closely, and they will have a good idea of if your child is ready to race.

8. What preparation has the sailing school done for an emergency?

In the unlikely event of an emergency on land or on the water, all of our staff have been trained in First Aid/CPR and our emergency protocols. All of our powerboats and keelboats are equipped with a Fire Extinguisher, flares, and a stocked First Aid kit. We have developed an Emergency Action Plan for both on land and on the water situations. If you have any questions about these protocols or would like to review them yourself, please reach out to any of our senior staff. You can also find a copy of our Emergency Action Plans on the cork board outside the FHSS Office.