Master the strong currents, high tidal ranges, and ever-changing weather conditions of B.C..
Learn in some of the best, most challenging waters anywhere in the world.
Let us teach, coach, and guide you by matching you with the right instructors and certifications to meet your goals.
Check Back on July 23 for Our Complete List of Dates & Pricing
Our boating and yachting school’s certification programs range from basic to advanced and include a Yachtmaster Offshore course with Celestial Navigation that circumnavigates Vancouver Island~ Our school teaches Canadian Recreational Yachting Association, (CRYA) and International Yacht Training (IYT) courses.
Nanaimo Yacht Charters & Sailing School offers a range of sailing course accredited by the main industry sailing bodies, the bodies we work with are:
Canadian Recreational Yachting Association is dedicated to the training of both sail and power operators on the water with an emphasis on safe boat handling and the skillful use of pleasure craft while having fun.
Canadian Recreational Yachting Association Courses Focus On Safety and Fun Canadian Recreational Yachting Association (CRYA) trains students interested in sail and power boating from Competent Crew to Coastal Advanced. CRYA courses are designed to teach competence and safety, whether your goal is weekend sailing with family and friends or offshore cruising to far off lands.
Our most popular offering from CRYA is our Coastal Navigation Course, which allows students to learn at their own pace with a self-directed workbook and local chart for students seeking certification to bareboat charter as a bareboat skipper.
IYT sets the standard for maritime training and certification. We teach sail and power courses from International Crew to Yachtmaster Ocean in group and private course settings.
IYT yachting courses are recognized by 25 different Governments worldwide for commercial use including the British Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA). From International Crew to Yachtmaster Ocean. IYT courses will take you anywhere you want to go around the globe.
Our highly-skilled instructional skippers specialize in teaching each student to the highest standards, preparing each one attain competence and skill in some of the most challenging and beautiful cruising grounds in the world. Whether it’s your first time on a boat, you wish to charter internationally, or you wish to embrace the challenges of circumnavigating Vancouver Island, we can help you gain the skill and confidence necessary to take the helm wherever the wind blows.
Perfect for those at the beginning of their sail or power boat career. Let us help you gain skill and confidence.
Our 5-day/5-night ‘Cruise and Learn’ courses teach you alongside other students for an all-inclusive price. Or create your own 7-day/7-night Custom Courses and enjoy private instruction or an educational holiday with your family and friends.
Learn to bareboat charter a sailboat or simply gain greater skills to improve your confidence as a skipper.
Our 5- to 7- day courses take you through the Gulf Island or the Sunshine Coast on courses that will help you achieve Flotilla, Bareboat Skipper or Advanced Coastal Skipper Advanced courses.
Our ‘Cruise and Learn’ courses teach you alongside other students for an all-inclusive price. Or create your own 7-day/7-night Custom Courses and enjoy private instruction or an educational holiday with your family and friends.
Are you an experienced sailor who wants to take things to the next level or gain advanced certifications? These courses are for you. Choose one one of our 7-day Coastal Skipper Advanced courses or join us on a 14-day circumnavigation of Vancouver Island. Prices vary depending on duration and format. Contact us for availability and dates.
Here at Nanaimo Yacht Charters & Sailing School, we are honoured to work with a team of fantastic, experienced and fun instructional skippers for our Sailing Season!
Ian MacPherson’s life at sea, as a worldwide yacht delivery skipper and the manager of one of the largest charter companies in the world, began when he as a boy. While still in his 20’s, he launched ‘Baraka’, a 40′ Endurance Ketch he built in Durban, and set sail with his wife Shari for a ten-year world cruising adventure they shared with their four young daughters. Over the course of his career, Ian managed charter operations in the Caribbean, Greece, the Eastern Mediterranean, and now British Columbia – expertise he shares with every client and yacht charter owner at Nanaimo Yacht Charters & Sailing School. He rates B.C. as one of the finest cruising grounds in the world. He shares his offshore sailing and Celestial Navigation expertise annually during our Fall Circumnavigation of Vancouver Island.
Andy Den Otter is one of our most passionate, fun, and enthusiastic instructional skippers. Many students appreciate his calm demeanor while instructing, docking in tight marinas, setting in challenging anchorages, and handling exciting sea conditions. Andy is a skilled monohull and catamaran sailing skipper and instructor. He teaches introductory courses up to Yachtmaster Offshore and Ocean plus Celestial Navigation. Andy has sailed everything from windsurfers up to 55 foot ocean cruisers on the Caribbean, Pacific, Mediterranean, and Atlantic for the last 30+ years. He truly appreciates the varied cruising grounds along the beautiful British Columbian coastline. Often chartering with friends and family, Andy loves introducing new sailors to the excitement and energy of the sea.
Marla Hedman grew up on the lakes surrounding Hudson’s Bay and has been boating her whole life. Upon moving to Vancouver, Marla found a drop-in recreational racing club and started working with a charter company to build upon her skills. Marla charters monohulls and catamarans all over the world and taught sailing on the West Coast of Canada for over 20 years. She formed a tribe of sailors who follow her on flotilla sailing events to Turkey, Croatia, Sardinia, Corsica, the British Virginia Islands, and the Sea of Cortes as well as several long ocean passages. Marla’s extensive charter experience informs her teaching, which she describes as a focus on creating a “conscientious skipper” who is a happy and safe charter client. Marla shares endless gratitude for the work she does and the boating industry. Her passion for sailing is evident in all she does. Marla also enjoys sailing on catamarans and is certified to teach cat courses with her IYT catamaran instructor endorsement.
Dave Martin has sailed thousands of Ocean miles and is an experienced power yacht Instructor. Dave holds a Yachtmaster Sail Instructor Evaluator Ocean and Coastal Skipper Power designation. He is the Instructor Coordinator for the Canadian Recreational Yachting Association and has trained numerous instructors in both sail and power categories. As one of our most experienced Instructors in British Columbia, Dave has taught courses for Nanaimo Yacht Charters since 2002. Whether you are wanting to learn to sail, operate a powerboat, master Coastal Navigation or practice Celestial Navigation, Dave can meet every requirement. He creates a safe, comfortable, and skill-testing environment for his students to practice practical skills and learn the essential theory required to skipper a vessel.
Henry Tkachyk has cruised the West Coast for over 20 years in sail and powerboats. He has extensive knowledge of the West Coast and can take you from the most secluded bays and beaches of Desolation Sound to the busy and warm waters of the Gulf Islands. Henry embraces sailing as a lifestyle, approaching his instruction as a balance between learning and cruisin, Henry includes as much focus on the enjoyment and lifestyle of cruising as on learning how to sail safely and effectively. Originally from Alberta, Henry has always been the happiest on the water – racing, sailing, fishing and cruising with family and friends. As a resident of Nanaimo, his local knowledge can to help you plan a sailing adventure that will be remembered for a lifetime. Henry is available as an instructor on monohulls, catamarans, and powerboats, providing instruction for certification as well as learning vacations for families and friends. Meet Henry and learn a little more about him on this Eventureblog interview.
Jack Dale is a seasoned instructional skipper acquiring over 50,000 miles of coastal and blue-water sailing since he began cruising the Salish Sea in 1984. As a delivery skipper, his passages include an Atlantic Crossing from Cape Town to Brazil, Victoria to Maui, the BVIs to Panama, the Northern Atlantic, and Southern England. Jack’s avid racing activities include
many Swiftsure Races, the Van Isle 360 and racing on Galveston Bay. Jack is a qualified sail instructional skipper for CRYA up to the Yachtmaster Ocean Instructional Evaluator level, a Coastal Power Instructional Evaluator. He also instructs with IYT as a Yachtmaster Sail Coastal Instructor.
Mike Nyakas: Mike grew up on the ocean in Prince Rupert, commercial fished as a youth, and spent his adult career in the hospitality industry and Corporate Sales. He holds a Transport Canada SVOP Captains license, Commercial Helicopter License, and CRYA, Sail Canada and America Sailing Association Instructors Certificates.
Mike believes the best environment for learning is allowing nature and the sailboat to present the best platform in a relaxed way while enjoying all aspects of the cruising lifestyles… after all, someone has to snorkel, paddleboard and visit these amazing anchorages. He has taught and sailed in many of the world’s most popular sailing grounds: Greece, Thailand, US Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, San Fransico, USA, and Sea of Cortez, Mexico. We has explored beautiful British Columbia extensively and agrees with us, that these are some of the best sailing grounds in the world.
Edith Eaton has 40 years of experience as a sailing instructor who currently manages the RCN SAIL program and teaches as
its head instructor. Her extensive experience as an instructor and racing coach, including coaching for the Van Isle 360 and Swiftsure races, brings an unparalleled depth of expertise to her instruction. Her cruising experience includes the Bay of Fundy, Broughton Archipelago, Desolation Sound, Barkley Sound, the Sunshine Coast, the Puget Sound, Puerto Montt, Chile, Laguna San Raphael, and Patagonia. Edith appreciates every day at sea and loves sharing her passion for sailing.
Andre Joniec has been sailing for over 10 years on Canada’s west coast. In 2019 he and his wife Naomi and their two kids, Jasper and Mia circumnavigated Central America on their 1985 Stevens 47, DeNovo.
He has experience chartering in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico. He loves to share his passion for adventure and exploring our stunning west coast and especially enjoys taking out newcomers to the sport. He is a CRYA and IYT instructor and is certified to teach up to the Coastal skipper level including Coastal Navigation
Tracy Sarich sails extensively throughout Puget Sound and the Southern Coast of British Columbia, including the West Coast of Vancouver Island on her own cutter sloop. Her nearly 20 years of sailing experience includes offshore boat deliveries between San Francisco and Seattle, the Baja California Peninsula, and South Florida.
Tracy’s teaching focuses on advancing women in the sport and leadership development for building strong teams and confident, capable skippers. You are sure to have a fantastic, fun and meaningful sailing adventure aboard a sailing course with Tracy.
These customer-driven instructional skippers are ready to empower safe boaters and sailors while growing the future of bareboat chartering.
Nanaimo Yacht Charters & Sailing School is privately owned and unaffiliated other charter companies.
Review listing links
Setting Sail While Staying Safe