Youth Boat Building and Sailing

The San Francisco Maritime National Park Association teaches boat building and sailing programs for Bay Area high school students.  For eight weeks, high school students are immersed in the fresh salt air of the Hyde Street Pier, engaged in building a wooden boat together from scratch.  Within fourteen class sessions, our students learn a traditional craft through the process of building a working sail boat from start to finish, as well as learn the basic skills needed to sail their vessel.  Classes also include formal lessons on navigation, weather, sailing and outdoor leadership. 

Students carrying their boat.

Many of our past students are from disadvantaged, low-income backgrounds and respond better to project-based learning as a more accessible and tangible means to teach basic skills, rather than a standard curriculum. Some students who have benefited from this program have come from the San Francisco Unified School District Downtown High School, a continuation high school which offers project-based learning.  More information on this program is available at:


Sailing in aquatic park with Alcatraz in the background

We also offer an abbreviated week long programs for groups of up to 15 Middle School or Youth Group Students. During the five classes the students will assemble a Bevin’s Skiff while learning to row and safely assess weather, wind and tidal conditions.


All of our Youth Boat Building and Sailing programs can be customized.


The maximum number of participants in the 8 week program is 24 students and 3 adults, (minimum number of actual participants is flexible).

  • Cost: Depends on design of boat being built and staffing required.
  • Time: Monday, (several Tuesdays) and Friday for 8 weeks.
    9:00 A.M. – 12:00 Noon
    12:30 P.M. – 3:00 P.M.

    Students must provide their own lunch.

The maximum number of middle school aged students in the week long program is 12 students and 3 adults, (minimum number of actual participants is flexible). 

  • Cost: Depends on number of students and staffing required.
  • Time: 1 week
    9:00 A.M. – 12:00 Noon
    12:30 P.M. – 3:00 P.M.

    Students must provide their own lunch.
Student sanding a mast.


“It has taught me a lot of things about myself that I didn’t even know. Like how much effort it takes to work in a team and how to be responsible. It helped me realize that I can do what I want to do in my life.”



Students fitting a rail



“I knew from the first day it was going to be challenging. You might say it is impossible to build something so beautiful in such a short time. Now I am proud of myself because the boat is a part of history.”



The Calendar fills quickly! Call now to make a reservation.

Alice Watts
Education Coordinator
email us
T: (415) 561-6662
F: (415) 561-6660
San Francisco Maritime
National Park Association
P.O. Box 470310
San Francisco, CA 94147-0310






For more information or to make reservations, please contact Education Coordinator, Alice Watts via email, or call (415) 561-6662 x 33


WoodenBoat Downtown High

This Beach Pea (LOA 13', beam 4'4"), designed by Doug Hylan, was built in 14 days by 22 students from Downtown High School in San Francisco. In partnership with the"GetOutandLearn" program, and the San Francisco Unified School District. From the October, 2010 issue of WoodenBoat magazine.


Edward Cavanaugh, beloved teacher and founder of Get Out And Learn at Downtown High School, died in July 2015.

We miss him. The Cavanaugh family requests that you honor his legacy with a gift to Get Out and Learn to ensure his spirit lives on.


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