Welcome to Maritime Summer Camp where campers spend every day exploring the best the San Francisco waterfront has to offer–both by land, and by sea! Each day is split: half the time is spent on the water learning to row and sail our fleet of small craft, and the other half is spent on a field trip to one of the many adventurous and educational locations nearby. Campers explore the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park and its majestic fleet of historic ships, some of which are over 130 years old. They go aboard the tall-ship Balclutha, visit the World War II submarine USS Pampanito at historic Pier 45, see the Sea Lions and other marine life at the Aquarium of the Bay at Pier 39, and more!
This will be our 5th year running Maritime Summer Camp, and each summer has been better than the last. Campers and families love the diverse, adventurous, educational experience, and come back year after year. We’ve been reaching capacity earlier and earlier each year, so if you want to secure a spot in your 1st choice of sessions, don’t delay!
Fisherman’s Wharf has much to offer! At Historic Pier 45 campers visit the historic WW2 submarine, USS Pampanito, where they learn some of the science that submariners used to keep the submarine afloat or submerged (buoyancy), to escape detection (sonar), to reach their destination safely (navigation), to see what was at the water’s surface (periscopes), and keep the lights on (batteries). They’ll learn what life was like aboard a submarine for the brave individuals who chose that service.
At Pier 39, they’ll see the Sea Lions and visit the Sea Lion Center to learn about the world famous marine mammals. They’ll also visit the Aquarium of the Bay to learn more about what lives in our oceans and how to be good stewards of our precious natural resources. Campers always love the touch pools where they can carefully handle real live creatures!
Campers will also get a chance to experience and learn from all that San Francisco’s Aquatic Park Cove natural waterfront has to offer, including the creatures of the real tide pools that are formed at low tide!
Our rowing & sailing training program is conducted aboard our diverse fleet of small craft. Campers start out in our 24′ longboat where they all work together to row in unison and pilot the boat safely around the Park’s lagoon. They then graduate to the small row boats that fit 1 – 5 campers at a time. There, campers learn to handle a set of oars by themselves and steer a boat on their own.
When the conditions are good–i.e., when the wind and tides are in our favor–campers will get to sail our fleet of Pelican sailboats. These are hardy craft that were designed specifically for the San Francisco Bay, and they make excellent sail training vessels. Campers will handle the tiller and learn to steer the boat to keep it sailing, they’ll trim the sheets and learn to adjust sail, and once proficient they’ll even race each other in the lagoon! Bear in mind that learning to row & sail with skill are both lifelong pursuits, so if your camper’s goal is to become proficient you should consider attending camp for multiple weeks.
Also, here in the Maritime National Historical Park campers will experience the life of a turn of the century sailor aboard the historic square rigger Balclutha (1886) where they’ll raise sails, take soundings, cast heaving lines, set hawsers, and learn to rig up block and tackle systems and raise and lower boats, cargo, and people.
They’ll also spend a day on the SF Bay aboard the scow schooner “Alma” (1891) for an exciting sail–families are encouraged to attend this day so this is where you can come to camp, too!
And what maritime camp would be complete without a beach party on the aquatic park beach!