Get Out and Have Some Fun—On the Water!

Racing yacht "Marie" from Los Angeles Yacht Club photo

Want to Learn to Sail?
No boat, no problem! No experience, no problem!

Los Angeles Yacht Club is an official American Sailing Association sailing school. And that means it meets rigorous standards that are internationally recognized Bring along your desire to become a good sailor.

And the reasonably-priced lessons are for all skill levels. So if you’re starting out, you’re covered. And if you’ve got some experience, you can become an expert. The courses cover sailing technique, boat handling, and safety.

From the 101 class that will teach to safely skipper a sloop-rigged keelboat in light to moderate winds and sea conditions to the 105 class that teaches you about navigation—and the two great intermediate classes—you’ll learn what you need to become quite the able sailor.

Women On Water—a Supportive Environment
If you’re a woman and you’d like to learn to sail in a supportive environment with other women, Women on Water (WoW) is the place for you. WoW was founded within the Los Angeles Yacht Club to help women club members and guests to form bonds with one another as well as to enjoy sailing in an encouraging environment.

WoW meets several times a year for participants to learn sailing skills and about yachting. The sessions are paced and informative, so there is no pressure to learn quickly or to master these skills right away. WoW’s goal is to not only teach sailing skills, but to provide women with a relaxing, fulfilling experience in the world of yachting. One of the greatest pleasures of sailing is gaining knowledge and confidence, and WoW wants to provide support and knowledge for just that.

Past sessions have celebrated with a Soul Food Sail, St. Patrick’s Day Sail, and Sail & Tea. WoW has several events coming up, including a cruise to Howland’s Landing on Catalina Island from June 28 to 30. So mark your calendars for this experience and check out all the WoW events on the LAYC website.

Learn All About the Ocean World at Cabrillo Marine Aquarium
Cabrillo Marine Aquarium has a spectacular setting, right next to Cabrillo Beach. And that, according to the Aquarium, makes it uniquely suited for the leadership role it has taken on in marine science, education, aquaculture research, and community recreation.

The Aquarium facility is historic, having been designed by noted architect Frank Gehry. But it’s the work going on inside that is important and makes this a great day at the water.
It’s home to a fun and informative series about grunion, little silver fish that spawn on the beaches of Southern California with predictable regularity.
You’ll learn all about the fish and their habitat in the presentation that precedes the “run” (when the grunion come ashore) and then go out to see them. During a couple of the runs you’ll be able to take some home (the experts will tell you when and how).

The Aquarium has been exhibiting Southern California’s richly diverse local sea life since 1935. And today it takes the complex subjects of marine science to everyone with understandable and innovative exhibits.

Ever wonder where sand dollars or sea urchins come from and how they live? Want to know all about sharks? Cabrillo Marine Aquarium can tell you all that and much more.

The Aquarium is open Tuesday through Friday from noon to 5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and closed on Mondays.

Take a Harbor Cruise
Head over to Shoreline Village in Long Beach and get the best harbor cruise in the region on Spirit Cruises.

The hour-long cruise, which currently sails on Saturdays and Sundays, will take you up close with all the interesting features of Long Beach Harbor, including right by the Queen Mary.

You’ll learn what those beautiful mysterious islands are in the harbor, and a lot more. And Spirit offers special evening dinner cruises regularly.

Plus, Spirit has boats available for group charters. Check the website for the most up-to-date cruising schedule.

Marine Mammal Care Center: Hospital for Sea Life
It’s not on the water, but it’s on a hill overlooking the water. The Marine Mammal Care Center at Fort MacArthur is a hospital for ill, injured, and orphaned marine mammals. These include California sea lions, northern elephant seals, harbor seals, and northern fur seals. The animals are treated and when possible released back into the ocean. You’ll get to see these great creatures up close (but through a fence) as they progress in their recoveries. Helpful volunteers are on hand to explain the work and answer questions about the animals.

SS Lane Victory Is Real, Living Patriotic History
Did you know that Merchant Mariners suffered the greatest percentage of losses during World War II? You’ll learn about real patriotism of these brave sailors at the SS Lane Victory. It’s a real World War II era steamship that tells the Merchant Marine story and lots more history. It includes two outstanding museums in the ship’s holds, with an impressive collection of ship models, including big builders’ models, and the history of Los Angeles Harbor. If you want to learn about what it was really like to work on a merchant ship, this is one of the few places it's possible. And it’s a great place to learn about the real patriotism, men who saw a lot of action.

Sail on a Tall Ship
Los Angeles Maritime Institute (LAMI) operates the only twin brigantines in the world, the Irving Johnson and the Exy Johnson, the official tall ships and maritime ambassadors of the City of Los Angeles, as well as the Swift of Ipswich. LAMI also is home to the Topsail youth leadership program. The vessels go out on family adventure, sunset, and pot luck sunset sails and participants get a chance to pull lines. This month there’s a Fathers’ Appreciation Sail on June 15. And the ships will be out for the Fourth of July Fireworks, which you can experience on the deck of a sailing ship. Check its web site for the rest of the sailing calendar.

See the View at Pt. Fermin Lighthouse Historic Site and Museum
The lighthouse was built in 1874 and served as a warning to mariners about the cliffs and rocks around it as they made their way in, out, and past the growing Los Angeles Harbor. This Victorian Stick Style building, which housed the light keepers’ families as well as the large light and lens, is beautifully restored and preserved with artifacts showing the way of life. The lighthouse is open Tuesday through Sunday from 1-4 p.m. It is closed on major holidays and when there are special events in Pt. Fermin Park, where it is located. Admission is free, but a donation is requested. Tours are offered at 1, 2, and 3 p.m. Children shorter than 40 inches are not admitted into the lighthouse’s tower.

Walk the White Point Tidepools
The shoreline teems with life and the tidepools at White Point Beach are a great place to see it up close. You’re on your own with this activity, but it’s close to the shore and can be lots of fun. Be careful of the waves, though. You’ll want to park at the bottom of the bluffs in the parking. The charges range from $2 to $10.
Resources for Your Fun on the Water
Cabrillo Beach
3720 Stephen M. White Drive, Cabrillo Beach, Waterfront

Cabrillo Marine Aquarium
3720 Stephen M. White Drive, Waterfront

SS Lane Victory
Berth 49, Waterfront

Los Angeles Maritime Institute
Berth 73, Suite 2, Waterfront

Los Angeles Yacht Club
Women on Water and ASA Sailing classes
285 Whalers Walk, Waterfront

Marine Mammal Care Center at Ft. MacArthur
3601 S. Gaffey Street, Angels Gate Park, Peninsula

Point Fermin Lighthouse Historic Site and Museum
807 W. Paseo Del Mar, Peninsula

Spirit Cruises
Dock 9, Shoreline Village, Long Beach

White Point Beach
1955 South Paseo Del Mar
San Pedro, CA 90731