Society for the Education of American Sailors - We're All About Sailing

Interested in sailing on larger boats?

Take the SEAS Monmouth Cruising Course and get the experience and training you need to confidently cruise on large boats!

The Cruising Course provides you with the basic skills you need to enjoy life on cruising sailboats - boats that range in length from 32 to 55 feet, with living accommodations for from 4 to 8 people.

These boats are available for charter in many of the great sailing locations in the world - from Chesapeake Bay to the Caribbean, from New England to the South Pacific. Think about it: SEAS members sailing boats in: Turkey, Greece, Italy, the Grenadines, The British Virgin Islands, The Spanish Virgin Islands, The Exumas, The Abacos, the Florida Keys, the Gulf of Mexico (Dry Tortugas), Newport Road Island, Maine, Lake Champlain, the Elizabeth Islands, Block Island, Belize, Sea of Cortez, San Juan Islands, Tahiti, New Zealand and Thailand - you could be one of them!

How's the Course Structured?

The course consists of four classroom sessions, each lasting about 2.5 hours, at which you learn about many aspects of cruising: navigation, course plotting, anchoring, using the radio, the plumbing on a boat ("the head"), safety, crew overboard response, clothing (what to bring and what not to bring), weather, using the engine, steering the boat, docking (how to use dock lines and fenders), sailing (what are all those "extra" control lines for?), living on a boat and much, much more.

A typical Chesapeake Bay itinerary

The classes are followed by a weekend charter on the Chesapeake Bay - over the Columbus Day weekend (usually the first or second weekend in October) - where you will have the opportunity to experience for yourself "The Cruising Life"!

Courses are taught by experienced skippers, some of whom own their own boats and all of whom have years of experience chartering boats in many places around the world. All are members of SEAS Monmouth who volunteer to teach this course out of their love for sailing and enjoyment of introducing others to this great pastime.

The cruising course charter boats will each have a skipper and a first mate, both experienced sailors and SEAS members, and up to four students, who will have the opportunity over the weekend to perform all the tasks aboard the sailboat under the watchful eyes of the two instructors.

What's a Weekend Itinerary Look Like?

The itinerary will begin on Friday evening with your arrival at the boats in Rock Hall, MD's Haven Marina, perhaps after a day at the Annapolis Boat Show just across the Bay. We will depart on Saturday for our three-day cruise, returning on Monday in the late afternoon. We'll spend one evening with our five boats tied together and anchored in a quiet cove watching the sunset and sipping cocktails, and the other evening at one of the Chesapeake's bustling ports - Annapolis, St. Michaels, or Baltimore Inner Harbor.

Dinner Ashore

A relaxing group dinner ashore after a hard day's sailing

What are the Registration Details?

The course costs approximately $450, plus a refundable security deposit of approximately $210 (All costs are approximate; please contact the course organizer below or refer to the Columbus Day Weekend Cruise and Cruising Course Application for actual cost.) The course cost includes a copy of The Annapolis Book of Seamanship, some basic navigation tools, and spending Columbus Day weekend on the boat (there are some extra expenses, such as food, boat fuel, etc.). Check the Classes and Training calendar for specific dates for the Columbus Day weekend cruise, the four classroom sessions (usually held in late September and early October), and the Saturday practice session on the club's keelboat (subject to availability). Also, although the cruise begins on Saturday of Columbus Day weekend, we board the boats on Friday evening.

Because of the lead time needed to book the boats, early reservations are essential, and there are a limited number of openings available. A $150 deposit secures your berth in the course. If you're interested in getting more information, or would like to sign up for this year's course, please refer to the Columbus Day Weekend Cruise and Cruising Course Application or contact Ray Kimber at

Special note about COVID

We have all been doing our best to stay safe during this pandemic, and we at SEAS Monmouth want you to be safe and feel safe during these cruising activities. In this spirit we are requiring that all of our cruise and cruising course participants have completed their vaccination or vaccination series at least two weeks prior to the cruise date (October 9) with any one of the approved vaccines. In addition, you may wear a mask at any time during these activities.

Could this be you...?

Departing the slips at the Rock Hall, MD marina on Saturday morning

Underway, everybody steers the boat

Getting ready to sail under the Chesapeake Bay bridges

Rigging two of the boats together in preparation for spending one of the two nights anchored in a quiet cove. This allows joint socializing throughout the evening.

Using a boat as a "ferry" to go ashore for dinner at St. Michaels