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The Downtown Sailing Center is an accredited US Sailing School that provides courses for all sailing levels. Our comprehensive curriculum helps every student reach their full potential through a balance of structure and individualized attention.

A frequently asked question is whether you have to have taken a course or know how to sail before joining the DSC as a member. The answer is NO, you can join and start coming to member events (such as Wednesday/Sunday Member Sails) before taking a course. We always recommend our brand new sailors take the Intro class, if able to, as this provides a good structured way to learn the basics, but it is not required. 


  • Advanced Sailing (Level 3) - This course will cap off the skills learned in Levels 1 and 2 with advanced instruction and will wrap up with the US Sailing Basic Keelboat Certification. Previous experience required.
  • US Sailing Basic Keelboat (BK) Certification - Comprehensive and intensive course culminating with the US Sailing Basic Keelboat Certification on-the-water and written tests. See course page for full details on structure and the examinations.
  • Performance Sailing - Learn to sail FASTER, and to sail with a spinnaker! Solid keelboat skills are required.
  • US Sailing Basic Cruising and Bareboat Cruising Certification - BACK IN 2024! We will add dates and details on these classes early in 2024, check this space for updates! 

Questions, or not sure which option is best for you? Our Adult Education Manager will be happy to work with you to plan your sailing education! Email to set up a call.

Our Instructors and Fleet

        Our highly-trained instructors have years of experience teaching sailing. Many have been teaching for well over a decade, while we also have fresh faces coming up through the ranks. Most are DSC skipper members and established members of the local sailing community. Our program focuses on true competency and foundational sailing skills.

        Our curriculum is based on US Sailing principles, and you'll learn to sail via a combination of land-based chalk talks, dockside demonstrations, and practice. We believe in "learning by doing" and you will spend the majority of any class out on the water!

        Keelboat Lessons are typically taught in our J/22s, which offer the perfect balance of comfortable size and nimble feedback. Larger groups will use our Sonar sailboats which are also nimble and fun boats with a bigger cockpit space.

        Members of the Downtown Sailing Center receive special discounts on education courses. If you live in the Baltimore area, we strongly recommend joining at the crew level so you can get straight to the water for practice before and after your lessons! Click Here for details on Member Sails.

        Special Offers!

        Non-members who take a class and join the DSC at the completion of the class may receive the class membership discount as a discount off of membership rates.  (This does not apply to Taste of Sailing.)

        Any crew member that becomes a skipper within three months of taking a DSC class will receive a discount off of the upgrade, as follows:

        • After taking a 2-day class, receive $100 off the Skipper upgrade cost.
        • After taking the full Basic Keelboat class, receive $200 off the Skipper upgrade cost.

        Any member who becomes a Cruising Skipper Upgrade within 6 months of taking the US Sailing Basic Cruising class at the DSC will receive $100 off the Cruising Skipper upgrade cost.

        Email to take advantage of these offers. 

        Private Lessons

        Private lessons are available for up to three adults per boat. Lessons can be tailored to all levels, from beginner to US SAILING Basic Keelboat Certification. There is a 2 hr. minimum requirement for private lessons, and we recommend three hours for maximum educational benefit. 

        If you are interested in private lessons, please email 

        COVID-Conscious Sailing Lessons

        Upon request, we can offer private lessons with additional COVID precautions in place. These lessons will be 100% outdoors. All students and the instructor will wear masks for the duration of the session. Additional accommodations can be discussed in advance.

        Availability is subject to instructor schedules.

        Please contact for additional details and to inquire about booking a lesson!

        Special Events 

        Are you interested in a group outing such as a corporate team build or an outing with friends? We can work with you to tailor a fun and educational sailing event for your group! A favorite event for groups is a 4 hour event that includes a sailing lesson followed by a fun race or on-the-water scavenger hunt.

        If you are interested in planning a special event or team-build, please email


        Waitlist / Cancellation policy

        If the class you want to attend is fully booked, feel free to join the waitlist. We will send an email to the waitlist when a spot becomes available. It is then first come first serve.

        Participant cancellations made 14 days or more in advance of the event date will receive a 100% refund. Cancellations made 7-13 days in advance of the event date will receive a 50% refund, unless we are able to fill the opening in which case a 100% refund will be issued. Cancellations made within 48 hours to the event will not be refunded unless the opening is filled, in which case a 100% refund will be issued.

        If the Downtown Sailing Center cancels your course, you will be rescheduled for another offering at no cost or a refund will be issued.

        Please email to cancel a registration.


        The Downtown Sailing Center

        Est 1994
        1425 Key Highway, Suite 110, Baltimore, MD 21230
        (410) 727-0722 •