Member Handbook

CBI Rules

Community Boating’s rules exist both to keep all who share the lower Charles River basin safe and to ensure smooth operation of our programs. Below is the current version of the Community Boating Member Handbook:

How to sign out a boat

All watercraft must sign out before going onto the river. Sailboat and windsurf sign-outs occur at the dock house, while paddling sign-outs are usually conducted at the end of the hi-per (high performance) dock. You must bring your membership card with you to sign-out.

Where boats can go

All watercraft must remain between the Longfellow and Mass Ave bridges. Mercury traffic must sail around the north side of the islands to enter the main basin, while high performance boats and moored keelboats must sail through the cut in the islands. No sailboats or windsurfs are allowed in the Storrow Lagoon.

Kayaks and stand-up-paddle boards must exit the mooring field through the Storrow Lagoon, or the cut between the second island and the Storrow Lagoon.

Sailing area

Basic traffic flow


Mercury Ratings


Flag Color Who May Sign Out a Boat Conditions
Green Anyone with their green flag rating or above Light Wind
Yellow Any yellow rated sailor may skipper. Green rated sailors may crew or may sign out a keel mercury at the dockmaster’s discretion. Goldilocks Wind
Red Any red rated sailor may skipper. Yellow and green rated sailors may crew. Yellow rated sailor may sign out a keel mercury at the dockmaster’s discretion. Heavy Wind

CBI Rules

Life Jackets

Life Jackets must be worn at all times while onboard any CBI vessel, even while tied to the dock. You are responsible for selection of a properly fitting lifejacket and keeping it correctly buckled while on the water. Staff are available to assist with sizing and buckling of life jackets.

This rule is strictly enforced from the dock and on the water.

Follow Instructions from the Staff

All members must follow any reasonable instruction given by a staff member.


If you disagree with an instruction given to you by a staff member, unless there is a critical safety issue, follow the direction. After. the situation please see the dockmaster to report your concern. We will follow up diligently on the situation but ask that you comply with any reasonable instruction given by staff in order to facilitate safe sailing.

Adverse Weather Conditions

It is the policy of Community Boating to suspend or limit operations during periods of adverse weather conditions in the area to maintain the safety of our members and staff. This includes but is not limited to lightning, fog, extreme heat, and high winds.


Lightning can strike up to 10 miles from a storm. CBI may close even when there are not storms directly overhead, in anticipation of storms in the area, and remain closed for a period after storms pass.

Standard Red Flag Restrictions

When red flag conditions exist, the following restrictions are established.

Keelboats Must Reef

All keelboats (Sonar-23s, Rhodes-19s, Ideal-18s) must reef their sails to reduce their sail-power.

Kayaks and SUPs Restricted to the Lagoon System

Kayaks and SUPs must stay out of the main basin and in the protected lagoon system running from the Second Barrier Island to the Gloucester St. Public Dock.

Be Civil

Community Boating is proud of its tradition of maintaining an environment that encourages respect for the dignity of each individual. We therefore expect members to treat each other with respect, common courtesy, and civility. Offensive conduct, including but not limited to foul language, rude or violent behavior, retaliatory acts, and sexual harassment, may result in suspension or termination of membership.

Treat Equipment As If You Owned It

Maintenance of the boats and sails is expensive. We ask that you treat them as if you owned them. Check your boat and sails before leaving the dock and after returning. If anything needs to be repaired, please report it to Dockhouse. Do not drag sails over the dock or the floor. Do not roll up your sails on the dock. Please use the hooks mounted next to the flagpole or the one in the back of bay five.

Report ALL Incidents and Injuries

If you are involved in any incident in which someone is injured, whether on the water or on the dock, please report it promptly to the dock staff. The staff will assess the situation and decide what action is required. Any accident or collision that results in damage to equipment must be reported also.

Radio Watchkeeping

Community Boating monitors VHF FM Ch. 72, Frequency 156.625. Any station wishing to make contact should hail “CBI” on Ch. 72. During Adult Program Sonar, Ideal, and Rhodes 19s are issued VHF radios to communicate with CBI. Vessels issued a VHF radio are expected to stand watch on Ch. 72 for important broadcasts from CBI regarding safety and operations. This is also how you will request launch pickup at the end of your sail.

Radio Instructions

CBI also monitors VHF FM Ch. 16, for safety information and communication with commercial vessels in the area. CBI members DO NOT HAIL CBI on Ch. 16

No Swimming

There is no swimming allowed from docks or from boats.

No Smoking

Community Boating is a smoke-free environment. Smoking and vaping tobacco or other controlled substances is not permitted in the boathouse, on the dock, or in the boats.

No Littering

There is a state fine for littering in the river. Do not litter in the boathouse, on the dock, or in the boats. Please help us keep the facility clean.

No Alcoholic Beverages

The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) has declared that the entire Esplanade area is an alcohol-free zone and that possession of, or drinking of, alcoholic beverages is forbidden, except when authority has been granted by the DCR in writing.


Service animals are welcome on the dock at all times. Please notify the dockmaster before taking them out on the water. Well-behaved pets are allowed on the dock, but must remain leashed and with their owners at all times. Pets are allowed on sailboats with keels along with kayaks and stand-up paddle boards.  All pets must wear appropriate life jackets when on the water.

Signs and Advertisements

Signs, advertisements, or literature may be posted only on the designated bulletin board in the main bay. Inappropriate postings or postings placed anywhere else will be removed.

Saving Boats

Boats can be saved on the Front of Dock for up to 15 minutes by clipping a lifejacket to the boat. Saved boats should be moved to the appropriate location on the front of dock to accommodate traffic flow. Staff will move saved boats as needed to facilitate the dynamic needs of dock operations. Any boat left for more than 15 minutes can be given away as normal to another member.