Fair winds for sailing program through partnership with Mass Maritime

The Buzzards Bay Coalition and Massachusetts Maritime Academy have established a partnership that will make it possible to offer a full slate of instructional sailing programs at the Onset Bay Center (OBC) this summer while creating work and learning opportunities in the community for cadets.

“We’re thrilled. This is a real win for the sailing programs at Onset Bay Center, but more importantly for the students and families in our community,” said Katherine Garofoli, director of the Onset Bay Center. “The cadets will bring great experience and energy to our program, and they will be wonderful mentors for the children and teenagers who we serve.”

Under the partnership agreement, the Coalition will hire up to eight qualified cadets participating in the Academy’s sailing program to work as sailing instructors—five full-time positions and three part-time opportunities—during the summer season, which will run from June 28 through August 21. The paid positions also will include access for each cadet to earn Level 1 Small Boat Instructor certification from U.S. Sailing, the nonprofit organization’s highly-sought certification status. In addition to the Academy’s assistance in identifying qualified candidates, it also will provide housing for cadets who need it.

“We’re very pleased to partner with the Buzzards Bay Coalition and the summer sailing program at the Onset Bay Center. This program benefits the community participants, and it provides a great opportunity for our cadets to develop their leadership skills,” said Rear Admiral Francis X. McDonald, USMS, President of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. “We are looking forward to seeing a new generation of sailors out on the water as well as how our cadets learn and develop through this experience.”

The Coalition completed an 18-month, $3.2 million renovation of the Onset Bathhouse in June, and immediately began using it as headquarters for an array of outdoor programs at the Onset Bay Center, which also includes protected lands at Wickets Island, Burgess Point, and Shell Point Marshes.

Four kids and a CBC instructor heading out on a white sailboat with green and white sails.

Kids from the Boys and Girls Club of Wareham on one of the Coalition’s Quest sailboats in Onset Harbor.

In 2020, the OBC served hundreds of children and adults through programs in paddling, shellfishing, virtual boater safety sessions, rowing, yoga sessions on the beach and on Wickets Island, and shoreline ecology. Partnerships with the Boys and Girls Club-Wareham Unit and the Wareham School’s Office of Beyond School Time brought the majority of the children to the OBC programs. However, the center’s fleet of small sailboats remained ashore, due to social distancing measures.

“We are very excited to add a full summer of sailing to our other programs for the community that includes a Family Learn to Sail program along with youth beginner sailing programs,” Garofoli said. “Our fleet of RS Quests, Opti prams, and an O’Day Daysailor are the perfect vessels for our sailors to learn on.”

Before the summer fun begins, the cadets and other incoming staff will complete a comprehensive training program. The training will include in-depth introduction to Onset Bay, getting to know the Onset community through presentations from local leaders, coordinated emergency drills with the Wareham Harbormaster, and Red Cross First Aid and CPR certification.

Category: On the Bay

Working to Save Buzzards Bay

The Buzzards Bay Coalition is a membership-supported organization dedicated to improving the health of the Buzzards Bay ecosystem for all through education, conservation, research, and advocacy.

We work to protect clean water on the Bay and on the land: