Cal Sailing Club Offers Free Boat Rides (Sometimes) - 510 Families
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Cal Sailing Club Offers Free Boat Rides (Sometimes)

Did you know that Cal Sailing Club offers regular free rides to curious community members (including kids 5+)? Each month, interested would-be sailors are welcome to join the fun at the Cal Sailing Club Open Houses.

Thank you to our guest writer, Katie Aftosmis, a mom to two kids who wanted to share her family’s adventure at the Cal Sailing Club Open House.

kid in life vest at the berkeley marina
Ready to set sail at Cal Sailing Club Open House | Photo: Katie Aftosmis

Our family recently took advantage of Cal Sailing Club’s monthly Open House. It was a great afternoon down in the Berkeley Marina, and both our kids, ages 8 and 12, came home eager to go again. Our visit in July was one of the busier Open Houses, and we stood in line for about two hours for a 15-minute ride on a keeler boat.

Though I considered abandoning our boating adventure, the wait became manageable thanks to Adventure Playground, which is right next to the Cal Sailing Club. With two adults, we traded off standing in line and hanging at the playground. Our kids managed to zipline, hammer on nails, eat snacks, and use the bathroom by the time it was our turn to sail.

Our boat ride was brief, but it had enough high sea thrills to put a smile on all our faces (and get us interested in joining CSC).

More places to play with kids who love boats >>

Parent Tips for Enjoying Cal Sailing Club Open House Day with Kids

Arrive early
It can be crowded, especially on sunny days. Also, as it gets later in the day and the tide goes out, it’s harder to get the boats out safely and they may stop giving rides.

Bring a friend and take advantage of Adventure Playground
Adventure Playground is next to the Cal Sailing Club, so if you have two adults, you can trade off having one person stand in line for sailing while the other one supervises hammering and painting at Adventure Playground.

children climb on old boat at Adventure Playground in berkeley
Climb aboard, this boat is open for play at Adventure Playground | Source: Julie Herson

Bring your own life vests (if you have them)
The longest line we stood in was the line for life vests. If you bring your own, you can skip that line and jump right into the line for boat rides.

Decide if you want to get wet
There are two different boats you can ride: a keelboat (large and stable) or a dinghy (fast and zippy but kinda tippy). We saw at least one family come back soaking wet from their ride on a dinghy, so tipping does happen!

Fill your bellies
Sea Breeze Market & Deli is right there in the Marina, but you’re also close to Tacubaya and Vik’s Chaat on Fourth Street, both great kid-friendly spots where you can swap tales of your high seas adventure over tacos or cholle bhatura.

mom and 2 kids looking at the berkeley marina near cal sailing club
Families welcome at Cal Sailing Club Open House | Photo: Dawne L.

Plan Your Visit to Cal Sailing Club Open House Day with Kids

Location: 124 University Avenue at the Berkeley Marina

Parking: There’s free parking at the sailing club, but it can get crowded and you’ll find other lots around the marina. The closest parking is at 100 Seawall Dr. Berkeley.

Registration: The boats are first come, first serve, so be prepared for some lines and waiting. There are four different lines, so check with someone to make sure you’re in the right line. There’s a (hopefully short!) line to get signed up, a line for life vests, a line for the dinghies (small boats), and finally a line for keelboats (larger boats).

Website >

Upcoming Cal Sailing Club Open House Events

Sunday, November 19, 2023

1:00 pm - 3:00 pm: Free Sailboat Rides at Cal Sailing Club Open House @ Cal Sailing Club, Berkeley
two kids hugging, sailboat and water behind them
We loved our 15 minutes on the waters of the Berkeley Marina | Photo: Katie Aftosmis

Thanks so much to Katie for sharing their experiences.

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