General Questions & Memberships
The boathouse does not have any onsite parking, but limited parking is available at the LAZ lot next to Mass Eye and Ear Infirmary and the Charles/MGH Red Line stop, a five-minute walk from CBI.
More parking info here
Check out our membership options here.
Ratings will transfer over to your new membership, as long as you renew within five years of your prior membership’s expiration. If it has been more than five years, your ratings may not transfer automatically, but we can usually administer a quick on-the-water test and restore your ratings quickly.
CBI welcomes sailors of all levels. If you have significant previous sailing experience, ask to speak to the dockmaster on duty. We’ll introduce you to CBI’s rigging procedures, administer a quick on-the-water test, and “fast-track” you to an appropriate rating.
Check out our hours of operation.
On The Water
Community Boating operates on the Charles River Basin, between the Longfellow and Massachusetts Avenue Bridges.
CBI uses a color-coded flag system to communicate current conditions. These flags correspond with the rating level required for sailing, and the testing level that is available.
Check the upper-left corner of our website for the current flag color. Note that this will change as conditions do.
Green-rated members can usually sail on a yellow flag day if they take a Keel Mercury or go with a yellow rated sailor. This policy is at the dockmaster’s discretion, and extra restrictions may apply.
Community Boating does not shut down due to rain, and all of our classes are offered rain or shine. However, if there is a risk of thunderstorms or other dangerous weather, we will bring everyone off the water and under protection*. Most classes continue on land during weather closures.
*In 2021, our maximum student capacity will allow for social distancing when a protected environment is required. We will use all of the (well ventilated) spaces within the building to continue our activities while mitigating risk.
We recommend leaving phones, wallets and other valuables in a locker on land. Members can either rent a locker for the entire season or use a free locker for the day; you’ll need to bring your own lock or buy one from the front office for $10. The dockhouse and front office cannot hold any personal possessions.
First, add guests privileges to your membership for $35. You can purchase this add-on at any time, and there is no limit to the number of guest signouts per season.
Once you have passed your Mercury yellow test (or earned a higher rating), you can sail with non-members. The number of guests is limited by boat capacity — Mercuries can accommodate one member plus up to three guests. Alternatively, you can sign out a double kayak with one guest regardless of your rating.
When your guests arrive at CBI, they should register at a kiosk in the Main Bay. The kiosk will then print out a receipt that guests should present to the dockhouse staff before heading out onto the water.
Yes! Kids can sail or paddle with Adult Program members, as long as their parent or guardian has signed a waiver at the front office. Guests under the age of 10 are restricted to keelboats or kayaks.
Well-behaved dogs can accompany their guardians on a keelboat, kayak or SUP. Dogs are required to wear life jackets while onboard (CBI does not provide dog life jackets), and pets must be leashed and accompanied on the dock at all times.
Classes & Tests
You’re eligible to sign up for classes once we receive a completed membership form. Class schedules are posted on our website, and you can register for classes online or at the front office.
Laser/420/Keelboat Green: Just take a Laser, 420 or Keelboat class, and a green rating is awarded if you successfully complete it. You’ll need to earn a Mercury Red rating before signing up.
Windsurf Green: Rating is awarded after taking Windsurf Intro. Once you complete Shore School, one of our introductory Mercury classes, you can sign up for this class.
Laser/420/Keelboat/Windsurf Yellow & Red: No additional classes are needed. Just stop by on a yellow or red flag day and we’ll administer a test. 420 and Keelboat tests require crew.
Green Test (Mercury): Whenever the program is open.
Yellow Test (all boats): On a yellow or red flag day.
Red Test (all boats): On a red flag day.
Green Test (high-performance or windsurf): Awarded upon completion of class.