How Much Do Sailing Lessons Cost?

How Much Do Sailing Lessons Cost? | Life of Sailing

Last Updated by

Daniel Wade

August 30, 2022

Learning how to sail is a rewarding experience, especially if you have a professional to teach you. You might be thinking, how much do sailing lessons cost?

The costs of sailing lessons are going to vary depending on a variety of factors, such as your location or the school of choice. So what are the ranges in price for sailing lessons?

You should expect to pay anywhere between $20 to $30 an hour on the east coast, with the national average at $24 an hour for sailing lessons. Schools in California recorded one the highest average prices for sailing lessons at $24 an hour, while schools in Florida average out to $20 an hour.

Depending on where you plan to take sailing lessons can make a big difference in price. Even though California might have a higher cost of living, schools in Florida or New York potentially have more expensive schools.

According to sailing experts, the prices will also vary based on what you are trying to achieve from the class. Some might want the basics covered, while others might attempt to learn more hands-on experiences.


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Price Ranges to Expect for Sailing Lessons

Most sailing schools will just charge you a flat rate and then you divide that over how many hours it takes to complete the course. While most of the content is the same, there are going to be major differences in price and what is being taught depending on the class type you choose.

Looking at the cost of living between California and Florida, you can see plenty of price differences. This is the same scenario for sailing schools, especially in those locations.

U.S Averages to $24 per hour

The average sailing lessons in the U.S. average around $24 an hour. Depending on the area, you could see fairly higher or lower numbers.

You also need to contact different schools within the same state. They might charge higher due to their location or for the sailboat they use.

For example, if you check out classes in north and south California these will be different price ranges. Northern California has shown to have averages around $24 per hour with sailing lessons, while Southern California averages around $18 per hour.

Some schools offer basic packages and maybe one or two more advanced ones. Other schools have a long list of classes you can take to help turn you into a sailor after just one week. At that point, you are looking at several thousand dollars for a week.

East Coast of U.S Around $30 per hour

The East Coast has some of the highest school prices for sailing lessons. This is due to a variety of economic factors and some schools utilizing landmark features to turn it into a beautiful tour while sailing. This is the case in New York, where some schools take you around the Statue of Liberty while sailing.

Looking at Florida schools, they generally average out to be $20 per hour. Florida has the most registered boats in the U.S. so everyone and their dog has a boat. With that being said, there are plenty of sailing schools and it drives the cost of lessons down.

Florida also has some of the best weather year round to help with sailing. If you prefer to sail in warmer climates and have quality prices, then learning in Florida might be a good option.

Tips for Getting Lower Priced Sailing Lessons

Most people do not have the luxury to shop around or travel far to learn about sailing. If you have the opportunity to check out different schools, you should look for one that best fits your situation.

There are opportunities to lower the cost of your sailing lessons. Some of these will apply to those that can ask around, while others might have to deal with what is available to them.

Weekends Cost the Most

Another factor that drives the cost of lessons is the weekend ones. These are generally more expensive and are the most popular sailing lessons to get started.

If you can, look for lessons that are taught during the week. These are oftentimes a few dollars an hour less than the weekend classes.

Join a Group Rate

In addition to weekday classes, you might have an opportunity to cut the costs down even further. If you have a friend or two that wants to learn sailing, you can all split the costs to take lessons.

Depending on the schools policies, most generally offer a group rate or discount for more people that they teach on the water.

If you do not have anyone willing to go with you, ask the school if they pair people up anyway. Some schools offer a group rate, but you will be paired with strangers.

Only Sign Up for What You Need

If one school offers a competitive price for one class while another has a good price for the next class up, it could make sense to go to both schools at different times. Since the schools will not let you on board without the proper prerequisites of other certifications, you have plenty of time to decide if you want to continue your lessons.

While you do not have to learn everything about sailing, it makes sense to be knowledgeable about most things. Look at courses to see if they are geared towards what you need to learn. If all you have is a dinghy and you want to learn the basics, it does not make a ton of sense to join a class about catamaran sailing on the coast.

Ask About Price Matching

If you live in a state that offers plenty of sailing schools, you are likely going to have an easy time finding one with a great price. However, it never hurts to ask one school for a discount if another competitor has similar offers.

While they do not have to give you a deal on anything, some schools might give you a break if you are a potential customer. If you say that you might check out another school on the coast, they might try to appeal to a better price.

As long as you have researched what other schools are offering, you can confidently ask for a lower price for lessons. Just be prepared if they tell you no further discounts, so you can either move onto the other school you had in mind.

What to Look for in a Sailing School

Sailing schools have to be accredited by an approved sailing association, like the American Sailing Association. If a school offers the certificate through someone else, make sure you do your research first to make sure it is legit.

It is important to have a good mindset on what you are getting into beforehand. If you do not know what to expect, watch some videos online that others have posted or simply ask to join along with one of the sailing schools if they offer tours.

Price and Quality

When researching the best sailing schools and their prices, you do not always want to go with the cheapest option. After all, you want someone that is going to be enthusiastic about teaching you how to sail and not offer the cheapest rates.

It is possible to find quality sailing lessons for a good price. The goal here would be to contact the instructor or school to get a feel for who is going to be teaching you how to sail.

For basic sailing, you do not have to have an Olympic sailor teach the basics. This would ultimately increase costs, so see if it is someone that has a good background in sailing.

You want someone teaching you with years of experience. Do not be alarmed if you have someone quite young teaching you how to sail, because they might have grown up in a sailing family or have actively been competing in races for years.

Basics of Sailing

If you are new to sailing and need to learn the basics, simply look for a school that just does that. This introduction is typically a keelboat sailing option and learning the basics of a sailboat.

You will learn what each part of the boat is called, how to operate the boat, and simple maneuvers with the wind. If you want to experience more, then you should check out other lessons to meet your needs.

Keep in mind that you will need to have a certificate in order to go into the next lesson. You might be able to have someone teach you other areas of sailing without a certificate but this will likely not be affiliated with a school. A close friend or relative might have the experience to teach you, but schools do this daily and have the best methods for teaching.

Reputation of Sailing School

Depending on what a sailing school offers in terms of quality and price, you need to make sure it is a reputable option to learn how to sail. While most sailing schools should be great for learning how to sail, it would not hurt to read some reviews or ask around about it.

Schools that have been around for decades or have a strong tie to the community will likely offer the best results. It takes a great deal of continuing success in order to stay in business and build a reputation.

If the school is known to be a tough place to learn sailing techniques, you might want to check out other alternatives as a beginner. Checking out their reputation is a great way to make sure you get your money’s worth when narrowing down your options.

Type of Sailboat Being Used

For each sailing lesson taught, it will obviously have to occur on a sailboat. If you are interested in buying a sailboat, check to see what the schools use in order to get a feel for the same boat you have interest in.

For example, basic keelboat sailing uses a sloop-rigged keelboat that is anywhere between 20 and 30 feet. If you think this is a good fit in relation to your sailing goals, then give this a shot. If not, you can still get the basics down and venture out for another course in a different boat.

How Much Do Sailing Lessons Cost?
Daniel Wade

Daniel Wade

I've personally had thousands of questions about sailing and sailboats over the years. As I learn and experience sailing, and the community, I share the answers that work and make sense to me, here on Life of Sailing.

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