By MADDY VITALE, OCNJDAILY
Learning to sail may be a dream for some. But for the many people who have taken lessons from the Ocean City Sailing Foundation (OCSF), it has become a reality.
And now, people who wish to try their skills on a boat and for others who want to continue honing their mariner techniques, classes begin June 20 and go through Aug. 20.
OCSF offers four and five day morning and afternoon weekly classes. In addition, private lessons are available.
Classes are held at the Bayside Center, 520 Bay Ave. Top instructors are US Sailing Certified. They will teach children and adults alike how to navigate the bays, the ocean and develop mariner skills that will last a lifetime.
“We have about 150 campers a summer. Typically, the kids do the sailing in the morning. They have a great time and then they go to the beach with their families,” John Parker, former president and current vice president of OCS, told OCNJDaily.com. “The older kids come in the afternoon.”
While the classes offered varies from private to group, and there are different skill levels and price ranges, Parker said that families who participate in the lessons together find it is money well spent.
“There is some expense to taking sailing lessons, but we provide the boats, the life jackets, all we ask is that the kids are 8 years old or older and know how to swim,” he said, adding that the classes also include swim lessons each Monday morning to sharpen the swimming skills.
Parker said he knows why the program has been around for 15 years and seems to grow each year.
“We have found that many of our youth students return for a second or third year because they enjoyed sailing and being out on the water,” he pointed out.
Many of the students are from Ocean City or the surrounding communities.
“Several of our students and their families have a house here and joined the (Ocean City) yacht club,” he said.
Doug Mroz, the foundation’s Sailing Director for five years now, is a true asset to the organization, Parker added.
“He does an excellent job,” he said.
The OCSF would not be a success if it wasn’t for the generosity of both the city and the people in it for continued support of the non-profit organization.
“We survive with the generous donations of Ocean City and the surrounding area,” Parker said.
The foundation leases the city-owned Bayside Center space for the program.
“The City of Ocean City has been a great supporter of the Sailing Foundation,” he said.
He also pointed out that Daniel Kelchner, director of Ocean City Community Services, has been very supportive of the foundation and is an active member.
Kelchner complimented the foundation’s sailing program and the people who make up the organization.
“The Ocean City Sailing Foundation is an incredible asset for our community. They are a core program at the Bayside Center during the summer months and provide outstanding educational and experiential learning opportunities for people of all ages,” Kelchner said.
He continued, “The Sailing Foundation’s programs complement the City’s environmental science camps at the Bayside Center perfectly and really help to round out a full slate of nautical, science-based learning opportunities that help make the Bayside Center so unique.”
For more information or to register for sailing lessons from the Ocean City Sailing Foundation, visit ocnjsailingfoundation.org or call (609) 418-3356.