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What is the DSC Summer Camp?

The DSC Summer Camp is a FUN camp where sailing, teamwork, and independence is taught to all of our participants. We are committed to safety, education, and instilling a love for sailing for all. Our staff are focused on creating lifetime memories on the water that your camper will cherish always. We have programming for all levels of sailors, from those joining us for the first time to the seasoned veteran sailor that wants to learn how to get even faster out on the water.

If you ever have any questions about Camp, you can see below for commonly asked questions or reach out directly to josh@downtownsailing.org.

When and Where is Camp?

Our days start at 9 AM each morning. Camp sessions are 1 week per session for Beginner level programming and 2 weeks for Intermediate / Racing programming. Our facility is located on the grounds of the Baltimore Museum of Industry at 1425 Key Highway. Please drive slowly once you enter the parking lot! The day ends at 4 PM. Contact info, map and directions

What level programming should I sign my Camper up for?

Beginner is the most important program that we offer. Creating a strong foundation is by far the most important part of learning how to sail. If in doubt, repeating Beginner is always the best idea.

If your camper feels comfortable with the parts of the boat, general wind awareness, tacking upwind, sailing downwind, and the basics of of being a skipper, Intermediate is the next place to be. We will take all of those skills, polish them, and expand on them with things like spinnaker sets and docking practice.

If your camper feels confident on the helm, then Racing is where we take everything that we've learned so far and start to dial it in to maximizing everything for speed.

If you have any questions about which program is best suited for your camper's needs, please contact josh@downtownsailing.org.

What forms are required? 

These forms are required for each week of camp in which your child is registered before they can participate:

All documents must be submitted at the start of each camp week your child is registered (Monday morning). You may also scan and email these documents to josh@downtownsailing.orgCampers cannot sail until these forms have been completed and received by the DSC staff.

What is an average day at camp like?

You can expect for your child to sail for roughly 5 hours per day, weather and wind permitting. The morning will start with a chalk-talk about the learning objectives for the day for each individual boat group. This is a great way for the whole crew to come together and collectively decide what they want to learn each day. After our land-side lessons are complete, we head down to the water to rig our boats and start the day! Campers and Coaches are on the water by 10 AM (weather permitting), and sail until around noon. Everyone returns to their shaded area for lunch, sunscreen reapplication, and water refills. On particularly hot days, lunch may be extended by 30-60 minutes so that we all have some additional time to cool off in the shade or even sit for lunch in the AC at the break room in the Baltimore Museum of Industry. We also buy frozen treats for campers on the hotter days of the summer! Following lunch, everyone heads back out onto the water! All boats are back on the dock and fully de-rigged by 3:45pm.

On rare occasions, extreme heat or lack of wind may keep us from going sailing. In these instances, we work creatively and actively to keep your camper engaged and focused on fun, sailing, and STEM development. Water quality testing, buoyancy experimentation, knot tying races, sailing jeopardy - we keep the activities age and energy appropriate. If thunder and lightning are present, the BMI is kind enough to offer us a safe, indoor space to watch a movie.

Beginner level campers will have a US Sailing licensed Instructor on their vessel at all times. Intermediate level campers will grow their skills week one with an instructor aboard, and be coached from a nearby power boat in week two. Racing level campers will start day one with instruction from a powerboat. At all times for both Intermediate / Racing programming there is a staff member ready to hop on a boat and take over in case of emergency, or even if just some extra help may be needed. Your camper's safety is our number one priority.

Every final Friday of each session we host a Graduation! All parents/guardians/friends are invited to join us on the docks for a showing of everything we've been working on. All of our J22s will be sailing directly in front of you so our campers can flex all their newly acquired sailing skills! Graduation begins at 2pm, we will have all the boats back on the dock and derigged by 3:15, and our short ceremony will conclude by 3:45.

Fridays are also Pizza Days! Please send your camper with $10 for all-they-care-to-eat Pizza!

How old does my camper need to be for each Summer Camp program?

Our Beginner, Intermediate, and Racing level programs have different age requirements. Beginner is open for anyone 8-16. Intermediate opens at 10,  and is available till 16. Racing opens at 12, and also closes at 16.

What about COVID-19?

Recommendations for a DSC Juniors Camp 2022 COVID-19 policy:

  • Vaccine requirement for all paid DSC staff 

  • Vaccine strongly recommended all campers, but no proof is required

  • This year, we have the opportunity to use the BMI during inclement weather. We will require campers to wear a mask, and we can provide masks for the campers to wear if needed.

  • No refunds to parents if campers are sent home because of infectious outbreak or illness, or if camp is closed due to infection 

  • Children presenting with symptoms concerning for Covid-19 infections will be sent home. They may return following a negative PCR or rapid test result. Rapid tests are available upon request free of charge.

Our camp is entirely outdoors which has a low risk of COVID-19 transmission. By this time, our campers have had the opportunity to get vaccinated and boosted. We follow all CDC guidelines, and are in constant contact with our volunteer camp Doctor concerning Covid related protocol.

Check in:

Camp check-in begins no earlier than 8:45 AM. Our check-in procedure will be conducted on the first morning of each session by the Camp Manager. You will find Josh under the pavilion at his desk, ready to collect paperwork and assign all campers to their boat groups. After assigned to a boat group, all pick-up and drop-off will be conducted by your camper's instructor! Make sure to introduce yourself, and to ask them daily about your camper's successes from their lessons!

Boat Teams:

Campers are placed into boat teams of 4:1 (camper:staff), and this placement remains the same for the entire session. For Beginner level programming, the counselor will remain on the boat at all times. Intermediate / Racing programming will still have a 4:1 ration of Campers / Staff, but the Instructors will sometimes be on a nearby powerboat.

Lunch:
Your camper must bring a lunch that can be safely stored in a cooler. If you would like to discuss meal provision assistance, please email josh@downtownsailing.org

Port-a-John use:
Port-a-Johns are available for camper use at any time. These are kept locked at all times when not in use, so as to prevent public access. Port-a-Johns are locked at 5:00 pm each day and cleaned by Bobby's Pottys each week.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding this protocol, please don't hesitate to email josh@downtownsailing.org.

What should my child bring? 

  • A 3-ply face covering, for use indoors
  • Neck gaiter (or "buff"), optional
  • Light-soled Closed Toed Shoes
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Lunch (cooler safe)
  • Hat or visor (highly recommended)
  • Polarized Sunglasses 
  • High SPF sunscreen to self-apply
  • Jacket (in case it gets chilly or drizzly)
  • Change of clothes
  • Backpack/bookbag to put the above items in


The DSC will provide lifejackets and plenty of cold water to fill your child's water bottle each day. Please make sure your child has a water container that is adequate for their thirst on a 3+ hour sail!

Please make sure your child can self-apply their own sunscreen and self-administer any medications they may need to take at camp. Our counselors are trained to encourage positive behavior and prevent dangers such as sunburn, heat-related illness, and injuries; however, campers must self-apply their own sunscreen and self-administer their own medications. 

What should my child NOT bring?

  • Sharp tools of any kind
  • Electronics (including games, iPods, iPads, Kindles, Tablets, and mobile phones)
  • Valuables that could be damaged by or lost to water
  • Water guns

Who are the instructors for the camp, and what are their qualifications?

All of our instructors are certified by US SAILING in Level 1 Basic Keelboat or higher. Every instructor is fingerprinted and are subject to criminal background checks. They are also Red Cross certified in first aid and CPR. Please meet your instructors when you drop off your child — they love to brag about your camper's successes!

What happens when it isn’t a good sailing day?

In case of rain or no wind, activities will take place under the large pavilion and tents on the docks. Children will participate in sailing-related games and activities and will learn useful sailor skills like knot-tying. We also offer STEM activities to further share our love of not only sailing, but also the waterways we traverse. If there's no wind, and it's not too hot, campers love participating in a "Rocking Race" on the boats!

We like to have fun and our instructors know it is easier to keep everyone engaged when everyone is actively participating. Relay races, team activities, water quality testing, board games, buoyancy experiments, card games, Four Square, songs and sing-a-longs... The DSC actively strives to provide your child with a memorable camp experience at all times! On the particularly hot, windless days of the summer you can also expect to find us enjoying a movie in the AC of the BMI's theater.

Will my child go swimming in the Inner Harbor?

No. Unlike most sailing centers, we use non-capsizable boats, also known as keelboats. Barring an accident, your camper should never go into the water. If your camper does fall overboard, rest assured that our staff are very experienced in PIW (Person-In-Water) recovery drills. This is a rare but always possible concern.

What are the rules of the camp?

  • Follow the directions of the instructors and other DSC staff
  • Hands to yourself
  • Walk, don’t run
  • ALWAYS wear lifejackets on and near the docks and boats
  • ALWAYS wear sunscreen
  • Respect is for everyone, always  

    What is the discipline policy?

    In order to ensure that everyone can learn and have fun in a safe environment, all sailors must follow the rules and policies in place for our Summer Camp Programming. The DSC uses a “three-strike policy” for our campers:

    • Strike One – The instructor has a conversation with the camper about their concerns and documents the situation in the camp’s logbook. The parent/guardian is notified either at the end of the day or by phone at the time of the incident, depending on the severity of the situation.
    • Strike Two– The instructor asks for the Camp Director to sit in as they have a second conversation with the camper. The situation is again documented in the camp logbook, and parents are immediately contacted and made aware that their camper may lose the privilege of being at camp unless certain behaviors are addressed.
    • Strike Three– The instructor notifies the Camp Director, the camper is taken to the office, and the parent/guardian is notified immediately that their camper has been dismissed from camp and must be picked up at the earliest possible convenience. 
    In addition, there are certain situations for which the DSC has a “zero-tolerance rule.”  Specifically, this policy is designed to avoid any behaviors that jeopardize the safety of the participant, other campers, instructors or other members of the community. Some examples include: deliberately jumping off the boat, refusing to wear a life-jacket, refusing to apply sunscreen, bringing dangerous objects to camp, refusing to follow the directions of the instructors, and fighting. Refunds for dismissed students will be handled on a case-by-case basis.

    My child is being upset by another child’s inappropriate behavior, what can I do?

    We reserve the right to expel any child for inappropriate or dangerous behavior (dangerous to themselves or others) without a refund. If you have a complaint, please speak to our Camp Director, Josh. He can be reached at 443-756-9422, or you may speak to him directly at pick-up or drop-off each day.

    How do I reschedule or cancel?

    If you need to reschedule, please send an email to josh@downtownsailing.org or call the DSC office at 410.727.0722 as soon as possible.

    If you need to cancel, you must let us know  at least 4 weeks in advance of your camp week in order to receive a full refund or credit toward another session. Please note that due to the nature of our payment process, we are only able to process refunds on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of each month. We are always happy to work with you, and we appreciate you working with us.

    What if I can't pay right away?

    We require that you submit payment upon registration in order to hold your spot. If you have any issues submitting payment, please let us know, and we will do our best to accommodate you. If you would like to apply for financial assistance, please see below.

    Does The DSC offer Camp Scholarship / Financial Aid?

    We do offer scholarships to children that have an interest in going to camp, but do not have the means to participate in our Summer Camp program at cost. We believe that sailing is for everyone, so we welcome people with any financial need to fill out the following form: https://forms.gle/UfQFf4VuzTiG9dLe6

    Our Mission at the Downtown Sailing Center is to be a community Sailing Center that promotes access to sailing for everyone. Never hesitate to reach out to us if we can be of assistance in getting your camper onto the water.

    What if my child is ready to be a counselor?

    Excellent question! After completing our programming at age 16 all former campers are able to apply to be a Junior Instructor for the summer wherein they are 17. To grow into a Lead Instructor position all applicants must complete a US Sailing Basic Keelboat Level 1 course, which will be paid for by the Downtown Sailing Center. Anyone completing the Racing level program will be incredibly well qualified for this position.

    Questions?

    If you have any additional questions about DSC Summer Camp, please email josh@downtownsailing.org, or call at 443-756-9422.

    ___________________________________________________________

    The Downtown Sailing Center

    Est 1994
    1425 Key Highway, Suite 110, Baltimore, MD 21230
    (410) 727-0722 • info@downtownsailing.org

    Liability Waiver

    A strong community is a healthy community - if you feel sick, please stay home!