Sail Training

CFSA Summer “Learn To Sail” Programme

Learn to Sail at the Canadian Forces Sailing Association!  We offer courses for Youth and Adults of all ages, from beginner to advanced.  CFSA is a wonderful place to learn to sail, with favourable winds and a protected harbour.  Sharing a harbour with the Naval Dockyard, there are always exciting things happening in the bay.  Our one and two week programmes are a great way for kids, adults and families to enjoy their summer learning on the water!

Our instructors are nationally certified through Sail Canada and trained in how to teach sailing, as well as first aid and boat rescue. We follow the Sail Canada CANSail curriculum of instruction.

CANSail is designed to be a set of progressive learn to sail standards focused on providing sailors with a solid foundation of core skills.  It allows sailors to learn and progress in any type of boat and consolidates key skills and solid experiences before adding complex skills. If a course isn’t running when you want to register for it, please contact us and we will see if there is an equivalent or way to get you sailing that week.

You are not required to work for DND nor be a member of CFSA to take part in our summer Learn To Sail program! But you will probably find that you enjoy sailing so much that you will want to join and benefit from the perks of membership!


Registration is through PSP Recreation:
Phone: 250-363-1009
In Person: 2610 Rosebank Rd (Colwood: Google Map!)
Naden Athletic Centre Kiosk:
Phone: 250-363-5677

CFSA Contact details:
Training Officer:
Phone: 250-385-8873 (leave a message please)

2019 Summer Schedule

Note: course numbers are for scheduling purposes, they are not a graduated system.

Program Descriptions

CANSail Optimist Programs  (Under 11 years old)

Opti Wet Feet  (4-8 years)
A camp designed for little sailors wanting to familiarize themselves with salt water, sea life, and sailing. Focused on fun, and being comfortable, and safe on the water and docks.  
Opti Wet feet is a one week course. Classes run from 8:30am to 4pm Monday to Friday

Opti Basic (7-12 years)

CANSail accredited introduction to Opti sailing. The program introduces children to sailing in a fun, safe environment. With two sailors per boat, children work on the basics of sailing in a comfortable, fun, and enjoyable atmosphere.
Opti Basic is a one week course. Classes run from 8:30am to 4pm Monday to Friday

Opti Advanced (Under 14 years with Opti Basic completed)

CANSail accredited continuation and development of the Opti basic program. Sailors learn to "single hand" and sail by themselves! Young sailors gain independence as their Opti Basic skills develop and more advanced skills are gradually introduced.
Opti Advanced is a one week course. Classes run from 8:30am to 4pm Monday to Friday

CANSail Programs (Over 12 years old)

Youth Basic

Basic sailing course for new sailors or those with limited sailing experience.  Sailors will learn the fundamentals and be introduced to the sport of sailing through on the water games and activities. The course includes safety, crewing, steering, and seamanship.
This is a two week course running Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 4pm.

Youth Advanced (Pre-req: CANSail Basic or White Sail III)

Sailors build on existing skills in all types of conditions and to a higher proficiency. Through on water games and activities sailors are introduced to concepts such as right of way, reading wind and waves, as well as many other skills.
This is a one week course; Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 4pm.

Adult CANSail Programs (over 18 years)

Adult  Basic  

Evening classes for Sail Canada accredited CANSail basic sailing skills. This is an adult class for the beginner sailor or those with limited sailing experience to learn in double handed or single-handed boats.

This is a four week course taught on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6pm to 9pm.

Adult CANSail Advanced (Pre-req: CANSail Basic or White Sail III)

Advanced sailing skills for those who have completed CANSail Basic or the traditional White Sail III courses. Sailors will work on refining skills in heavier winds, work on boat handling, and will be introduced to the concepts of right of way and reading the wind and waves among other skills.

This is a 3 week course to be taught over the weekend: Saturday and Sunday 9am to 4pm.

Family Sailing Course (older than 7)

New this year! A Saturday CanSail Basic class that will focus on getting the family learning together and building fun memories. This is aimed at the less experienced members of the family, but all experience levels are welcome to join.

This is a three week course taught on Saturdays from 9am to 4pm.

Before and After Supervision

We know that summer camps often cause conflicts with work, so we offer a way to drop your kids off early and stay a little while after class. Games and other on-shore activities keep kids busy as well as few small learning opportunities while hanging out with an instructor.

If you are interested in this please email us a week before your course or talk to the Head Instructor on the first morning during registration.

What to Expect

Expect to go sailing on your first day and every day, rain or shine. The weather can be varied on the water so please come prepared with a hat, sunscreen, wind-breaker, change of clothes, towel, lunch, snacks and plenty of drinking water. Only close-toed shoes are allowed on the docks and in the boats. Safety (i.e. bike) helmets are required for all students under 16, unless a waiver is signed by the parent.  We have a few helmets available but you are encouraged to send your child with their own that fits them and they are comfortable with.  PFD’s are supplied, but feel free to bring your own.

A Parent/Guardian must attend the first class to sign necessary waivers.


Q: Do I need to be DND or CF member to take sailing lessons?

A: No, the sailing lessons at CFSA are open to everyone, even the public.  We are however able to offer members of the CFSA some savings.  Members of the CAF, DND, PSP and some other organizations are eligible to be members of the CFSA.

Q: Do I need to bring any food or clothing or life jackets?

A: You will be provided with a lifejacket to wear while sailing but you may bring your own if you like as long as the lifejacket or PFD is approved by the Canadian Coast Guard. You will need to bring a lunch, snack(s) and drinks for every day, the last day of the course we normally have a celebratory potluck BBQ where we will provide hot dogs, buns and basic condiments and sailors and families are encouraged to bring salads, fruits, and other healthy snacks.

Q: What is the helmet policy?

A: We require children under the age of 16 to wear helmets unless a waiver is signed. Opti sailors and first time sailors are especially encouraged to wear a helmet even if they wish to have the waiver signed. 

Q: What helmets are good for sailing?

A: Bicycle, skateboard, climbing, or kayaking hemets are the most commonly used. Expcect the helmet to get wet, and try to avoid helmets with decorative attachments.

Q: Is there some sort of certificate or credential after completing a course?

A: Depending on the specific course you are taking, sailors will be trained to the Sail Canada “CANSail” standard. During the course they will be evaluated on their acquisition of a spectrum of skills by qualified instructors. Upon completion of the course, sailors will receive a CANSail certificate appropriate to their progress. The CANSail program is nationally and internationally accredited. Having CANSail sailing levels can often be a pre-requisite for taking courses at other sailing schools and clubs, chartering and skippering sailing yachts, joining a dinghy race team (such as the CFSA Junior Sailing Team) and taking additional training camps, but also to become volunteer and certified sailing instructors down the road - a pretty sweet summer job!

Learn more about the CANSail program by visiting Sail Canada Learn to Sail web page:


  1. CFSA, as a DND club is also able to offer a 15% discount to Members (and immediate family) of CFSA and DSA. Membership in CFSA is open to CAF, DND, PSP and some other organisations. Please consider joining, getting a discount and all the benefits of full membership in an excellent, family friendly Club. 
  2. Before and After Care - 30min before/45min after class. $40/week additional
  3. Family Sail - A pair is one adult, one child (7yo+)
  4. Not sure what course to take? Check this and ask us: BCSailing CANSail Level Course Selection PDF