There are 2 national organizations that certify instructors and sailing schools: US Sailing and the American Sailing Association (ASA). US Sailing has long been the governing body for the sport of sailing in the United States, representing the United States in all international sailing events, including the Olympics. The USSA certification process is acknowledged to be the most rigorous and most consistent in America. US Sailing is a non-profit organization, overseen by a volunteer governing board of America’s leading sailors. For more information regarding US Sailing’s accreditation process for schools and their certification system, please visit their website. American Sailing Association is a for-profit organization that promotes the sailing instruction industry. ASA affiliated schools are given considerable discretion over performance standards and instructional requirements.
Each class has its own set schedule; please see your class’s page for details. Most adult classes are scheduled weekdays or weekends starting at 9am, 2pm or 6pm (Intro only). Youth classes start at 9am or 1pm on weekdays.
We require a minimum of two students to host a class. If we have not met our class minimum one week prior to the start date, you will be contacted with options to reschedule.
Punctuality, especially on your first day, is important for many reasons. First, you may experience unexpected delays with traffic or parking. Second, there are important registration forms and procedures that must be completed in order for the class to begin on time. Finally, an early arrival gives you ample time to meet your instructor and fellow students. It is also a good time for a last minute restroom visit. We recommend arriving about 15 min prior to your first class and about 5 min before each subsequent class.
The first rule of sailing is Be Prepared. All Chicagoans know how quickly the weather can change. No matter what the temperature onshore is, it will feel at least 10 degrees cooler once you are out on Lake Michigan. We highly recommend that you dress in layers that are capable of protecting you from chilly conditions or sun. Your unneeded clothing can always be stowed aboard the boat. A windbreaker/raincoat is advisable in all but mid-summer conditions. Fleece clothing is more comfortable than cotton. Don’t forget the sun protection (UV block, lip balm, hats, visor, etc), water, and snacks.
For your safety and comfort, Chicago Sailing requires that you wear shoes at all times. While boat shoes are not mandatory, any footwear must provide sound footing and must have non-marking soles (to tell if your soles are non-marking scuff your foot on a wood or tile floor). Please do not wear flip flops or high heels. If you are uncertain about the appropriateness of your shoes, please call prior to arrival.
On our J/22s there is a small cabin below decks, where your gear can be stowed. While this area is usually dry, we recommend that you lock valuable items in your car. Keep at least one cell phone aboard the vessel in a secure, dry location. We have complimentary watertight cell phone bags available at our dock.
Larger vessels have ample dry storage down below for personal items, food and beverages.
You are welcome to bring your own food and drink as long as it is appropriately consumed and cared for. While alcoholic beverages are not allowed during class activities, you may enjoy them responsibly during rentals and charters, (with the exception of red wine, which is prohibited due to the high potential for staining the deck). It is wise to stay hydrated with non-alcoholic beverages. We offer bottled water for sale at our facility. Food is also encouraged and should be confined to items that require little or no on-board preparation. Trail mix bars and small packaged food works the best to keep your energy up throughout the whole class. Class participants often enjoy taking turns bringing treats for the entire group. Any food and beverages that you bring on board for your sail must be disposed of at the end of your reservation. Trash bags can be obtained from the staff in our office and there are large trash bins along our dock.
Chicago Sailing takes safety seriously, including weather-related hazards. To that end, we reserve the exclusive right to determine safe sailing conditions. We do not allow rentals when winds are blowing in excess of 25knots or waves exceed 6 feet.
Weather in Chicago can change suddenly. For this reason, we will usually not make a final cancellation or postponement determination until just prior to a scheduled event. Please note that if you have a morning reservation, our staff arrives daily at 8:30am to look at conditions and will determine whether or not classes/rentals/charters will go out at that time.
Expect that your class, rental or charter will take place as scheduled unless you hear otherwise from Chicago Sailing. If you have any weather concerns, please call us at 773.871.7245.
In the event of inclimate weather, we do our best to reschedule a class with the original group of students based on availability. If that is not an option, students can join another class for their makeup date provided there is space available. It is the responsibility of the student to reschedule their cancelled class before the end of the season if they cannot make the original makeup date.
Swimming from our vessels is entirely at one’s own risk.
Swimming during charters is up to the discretion of your captain. While we do our best to provide the most enjoyable experience during your time on the water, conditions may not be favorable or safe for swimming from time to time.
Swimmers are encouraged to wear life jackets at all times in the water.
The minimum age to rent or be the primary operator of a vessel is 21 years old.
Tipping is purely optional and always appreciated by our staff. While we are reticent to suggest an appropriate gratuity, instructors commonly receive tips in the range of $20- $50 range for exemplary service. Charter captains typically receive 16%-20% of the total charter cost as a gratuity. Tips can be added to any credit card transaction. If you experienced service below your expectations, please inform our management team.