I want to learn how to sail, which course should I take first?
We have three on-the-water courses for the beginner sailor. If you want to learn to sail in a dinghy you should take our CANSail 1/2 course. If you want to learn to sail on a keelboat you should take our Basic Cruising or Start Keelboat Sailing course.
What types of practical (on-the-water) boating programs do you offer?
Advantage Boating is a proud member of Sail Canada and provides the following on-the-water boating education programs:
- Sail Canada Learn-to-Cruise – keelboat instruction (sailboats greater than 22 feet in length)
- Sail Canada Learn-to-Sail – dinghy instruction (smaller 1-2 person sailboats ranging between 13-16 feet in length)
- Sail Canada Learn-to-Power – powerboat instruction (owner provided vessels)
- Private instruction on your vessel or one of Advantage Boating’s boats
- Custom courses for couples, families or groups of friends.
- International Yacht Training – training leading to ICC (International Certificate of Competence) certification.
What prerequisites do I require for one of your beginner sailing courses?
None – only a desire to learn how to sail and have fun.
What is the difference between a dinghy and a keelboat?
A dinghy is generally sailed by one or two people and the boat usually ranges from 10 feet to 16 feet long. A dinghy requires the weight of the skipper/crew to keep the boat upright and prevent it from capsizing. See our dinghy Learn-to-Sail courses in the Learning Centre.
A keelboat is larger in size and more stable than a dinghy. It has a large (usually lead) fin attached to the bottom of the boat that does the work of keeping the boat upright. See our keelboat Learn-to-Cruise courses in the Learning Centre.
What is the difference between Start Keelboat Sailing and Basic Cruising?
Both these courses emphasize practical “hands-on” and “on-the-water” learning. We aim for about 85% of the course to be taught either dockside or out on the water.
Start Keelboat Sailing is a 14 hour course. After successful completion of the Start Keelboat Sailing course you will be competent to act as crew onboard a smaller keelboat in up to moderate winds.
Basic Cruising is a 28 hour course. After successful completion of the Basic Cruising course you will be competent to act as skipper onboard a smaller keelboat sailing in light to medium winds in familiar waters during the day. Our Basic Cruising course includes a membership at both the Nepean Sailing Club and Britannia Yacht Club.
What types of boats do you use?
For our local Learn-to-Cruise courses we use boats that range in size from 22 to 24 feet in length. The boat you will learn on will most likely be a Sonar, a Tanzer 22, or a Shark. All boats are safe, comfortable and a pleasure to sail. Our Live-aboard courses in Kingston and the Caribbean are taught on boats ranging in length from 30 to 45 feet. Our CANSail 1, 2 and 3 courses are taught on 420 dinghies.
What formats are offered for the Basic Cruising (Learn-to-Cruise) course?
We offer several options of formats for taking your Basic Cruising course:
- Weekends: 28 hours over two consecutive weekends, Saturday & Sunday from 9 AM – 5 PM.
- Weekdays Daytimes: 28 hours over four weekdays (usually Monday-Thursday) from 9 AM – 5 PM.
- Weekday Evenings: 28 hours over 8 evenings running twice a week (Monday/Wednesday course or Tuesday/Thursday course).
- 6 day / 5 night Live-aboard course taking place Sunday to Friday (in Kingston)
- 1 week Live-aboard courses (Saturday-Saturday) in the British Virgin Islands (during the winter).
What is the typical size of one of your on-the-water classes?
We keep our class sizes small to ensure personalized learning. There is a maximum of 4 students per boat for our keelboat Learn-to-Cruise courses. Our dinghy Learn-to-Sail courses are taught on dinghies which each have a maximum of 2 students per boat with a maximum number of 6 dinghies per class.
What can I expect after I register for an Advantage Boating course?
Immediately after registering online for an Advantage Boating course you will receive a payment receipt from Chase Paymentech. Within 1-2 days of your course registration you will receive a “Welcome email” with confirmation of your course, the date, location and time for your course, as well as additional details and/or instructions about your course (eg. information on whether there are pre-course online learning materials and how to access them).
If you are registered for a Basic Cruising or CANSail 1/2 course, you can also expect to receive a second “Reminder email” one week prior to your course starting to introduce you to your instructor along with any specific course reminders.
What is included in my Basic Cruising course registration?
- Pre-course online learning materials and links to help you prepare for your course
- All boat safety equipment including PFD’s
- Onboard Certified Sail Canada instructor
- Sail Canada Basic Cruising (crew or skipper) certification upon successful completion of the standard
- Cost of examination & registration with Sail Canada & Ontario Sailing
- Sail Canada logbook and seal upon successful completion of the standard
- The Pleasure Craft Operator Certification (often referred to as Transport Canada’s Boating card) if you do not already have it
- Extra classroom review class to help you prepare for the exam.
- Opportunity for 2 evening “Grad Sails” on a private NSC or BYC member’s sailboat
- Membership at the Nepean Sailing Club & Britannia Yacht club (some restrictions apply).
- Popular Advantage Boating “Live.Love.Sail” t-shirt after writing the exam
- Live-aboard courses include a “hard” copy of the textbook
What is included in my CANSail 1/2 course registration?
- Pre-course learning materials and links to help you prepare for the course
- All boat safety equipment including PFD’s
- Certified Sail Canada instructor coaching from a nearby coach boat
- Sail Canada CANSail 1 or 2 certification upon successful completion of the standard
- Registration with Sail Canada & Ontario Sailing
- The Pleasure Craft Operator Certification (often referred to as Transport Canada’s Boating card) if you do not already have it (there is an additional test to write)
- Membership at the Nepean Sailing Club (some restrictions apply).
Which courses offer a membership for the Nepean Sailing Club and the Britannia Yacht Club?
We are proud to be partners with both the Britannia Yacht Club and the Nepean Sailing Club in Ottawa. Students registered in our Basic Cruising course are eligible for a membership to the Nepean Sailing Club and Britannia Yacht Club. Students registered in our CANSail 1/2 course are eligible for a membership to the Nepean Sailing Club. Upon registration in either our Basic Cruising or CANSail ½ courses, we will forward your contact information to the appropriate club(s) who will then reach out to you with instructions on how to activate your membership. Note: Some restrictions apply. Please contact us in the office at firstname.lastname@example.org for further details.
What do I need to bring for my sailing course?
You will receive an email outlining the details of what to bring specific to your course, but here are some suggestions to get you started:
- Non-marking, closed-toe shoes, sandals or boots
- Comfortable, layered clothing (weather appropriate) which are moisture wicking and quick-dry
- Sun protection (sunglasses, sunscreen, hat etc)
- Waterproof/windproof jacket and/or pants
- Small snack or lunch if your course is all day, water bottle.
- Change of dry clothes to leave in your car or on shore
What is the difference between Sail Canada and the Canadian Power Squadron (CPS)?
Sail Canada (www.sailing.ca) and the CPS (https://www.cps-ecp.ca) are the two largest organizations providing boating education in Canada. The majority of Sail Canada courses emphasize practical on-the-water learning leading to National certification in both larger (keelboats) and smaller (dinghy) sailboats. Sail Canada also offers Nationally recognized classroom courses such as coastal and celestial navigation and race management courses. Sail Canada also offers other Government of Canada required boating education courses such as VHF-ROC(M) and PCOC. Sail Canada courses are recognized around the world. The CPS primarily offers classroom only education during the off season (September – April).
What opportunities exist for those that don’t own a boat after taking one of our learn-to-cruise courses leading to Sail Canada certification or you have equivalent certification?
Check out our popular Sail Share program.
What are terms for payment and refunds?
Local: Ottawa & Kingston Courses – Payment:
- All prices in Canadian Funds.
- Payment accepted by VISA, Mastercard, cheque, cash or e-transfer.
- Daytime, Evening or Weekend (on-the-water) courses: 50% deposit required for all courses when booking. Balance is due 45 days before the course start date.
- Live-aboard (on-the-water) courses: 50% deposit is required at time of booking. Balance is due 45 days before the course start date.
- Classroom Navigation courses: $200 deposit is required at time of booking. Balance is due 45 days before the course start date.
- All other classroom courses: Full payment is required at the time of booking.
- Any course subject to discount, promotion or price incentive must be paid in full upon the date of registration.
Local: Ottawa & Kingston Courses – Course Change:
- One course change prior to 45 days of course start date is allowed.
- Each subsequent course change (prior to 45 days of a course start date) will be charged a $50 administration fee.
- No course changes are allowed within 45 days of a course starting.
Local: Ottawa & Kingston Courses – Course Refunds:
- For our classroom courses a full refund (less a $50.00 administration fee) will be offered prior to 45 days of a course start date.
- For our Daytime, Evening, or Weekend (Ottawa or Kingston) on the water courses: a full refund (less $100.00) will be offered 45 days prior to the course start date.
- For our Live-aboard (Ottawa or Kingston) on the water courses: a full refund (less $200) will be offered 45 days prior to a course start date.
- No refunds are offered within 45 days of a course start date.
- No refunds are offered after the course start date.
- No refunds are offered for home-study courses.
- No refunds are offered for our IYT courses once the learning materials have been shared.
- For programs cancelled by Advantage Boating you will have the option to (a) reschedule your course to an available class later in the summer (b) leave the credit on your account so that it can be applied to a future 2020/2021 Advantage Boating course or (c) have a refund issued.
- Fees, dates, boats, location and courses are subject to change without notice.
- Gift Certificates are non-refundable and have no cash value, but are transferable.
- Gift Certificate expiry dates are noted on the certificate.
- Courses are transferable.
Vacation Courses & Sailing Vacations – Payment, Cancellations & Refunds:
- Vacation Courses & Sailing Vacations – Payment
- All prices in US funds
- A deposit of 50% is required at the time of registration to secure your spot
- Balance is due 75 days prior to program start date unless otherwise stated
- Sailing Vacation Flotilla & Overnight Mileage Builders – Cancellation & Refunds:
- More than 120 days prior to departure: Full refund less a $600 USD penalty.
- Less than 120 days prior to departure: NO REFUND
- Vacation Courses: Learn-To-Cruise Basic, Intermediate & Mileage Builder courses – Cancellation & Refunds: Cancellation for any reason results in any fees paid being forfeited. This program is non-refundable.
Is Advantage Boating a Member of the Travel Industry Council of Ontario?
Yes. TICO #50024581