Youth Sailing Frequently Asked Questions

Q: I'm not sure what course is right for my child. How should I choose?

A: We have classes for all age groups and ability levels.  Please refer to the chart below to choose the best program or contact us at if you are still unsure.

Q: What should my child bring to summer sailing lessons?

A: Your child should come fully prepared for a day on the water.  Pack a life vest, bag lunch, water bottle, sunscreen, towel, hat, sunglasses, shoes that can get wet, and a change of clothes. Please mark your belongings with your name in permanent marker. COLSS is not responsible for any lost items.


​Q: Does my child need a life vest?

A: Each student is required to have their own life vest. Personal Flotation Devices (PFD's) should be United States Coast Guard (USCG) approved and fit properly. USCG Type III PFDs are strongly recommended. Prices usually start around $25/vest. If your child forgets their life jacket one day, not to worry COLSS does have a few extras on hand, but we recommend purchasing your own.


​Q: Where can I drop off/pick up my child from Columbia Sailing School?

A: Students over the age of 13 may leave after class if they have a parent permission slip on file. Students 12 years of age and under must have a parent pick them up inside the ship. Parents may temporarily use the Columbia Yacht Club parking lot for pick-up and drop-off. Parents who leave their vehicles unattended in the traffic circle run a high risk of receiving a traffic citation.


​Q: Will there be a swim check?

A: On the first day of camp in every class, each student will participate in a swim check supervised by instructors. Swimming speed and proficiency are not being tested, instructors are primarily looking at the students’ comfort level in the water.


Q: What happens when the weather is too bad to sail?

A: We are constantly monitoring the weather and we only take the children on the water if conditions are safe for their boats and level of experience.  If the weather doesn’t allow for on-the-water activities, we combine classroom instruction and fun off-the-water activities to keep children stimulated throughout the day.


Q: Is there camp on July 4th?

A: We do not have class on July 4th when it falls on a weekday.  It is a short week and we do not allow make-ups, or price-breaks as it is one of our most popular weeks with out-of-town family members joining us. 


​Q: What if we need to cancel?

A: All refunds will be less than the credit card processing fee. Students who cancel three weeks before the program start date receive a full refund (less processing fee). Within two weeks out of the start date, the student receives a 50% refund (less processing fee). Inside of two weeks, there will be no refund.

Please feel free to reach out to with any questions or concerns, thank you! We look forward to helping sailors get on the water in the summer of 2022!