Go to class, listen to a lecture, take notes, and leave…sounds like a typical college class, right? Many first and second year college students are restricted to learning within the boundaries of a classroom. Nassau Community College, however, provides students with a way to escape the mundane limitations of a classroom lecture. Sailing is offered as a class at Nassau Community College—transforming a typical classroom experience to an interactive, hands-on, memorable adventure.

After a few weeks in the classroom learning the terminology and sailing basics, students leave tiled floor behind for West Harbor. During the practical section of the course, they trade in backpacks for lifejackets and desks for Sonars. Nassau Community College and The WaterFront Center team up four times a year to provide this exciting opportunity for the students. Through this course, each student gets twelve hours of sailing instruction. Rigging, tacking, gybing, and mooring pick-up, are just some of the skills covered out on the water. This class provides a great introduction to the sport.

Even with the weather being less than ideal this spring, the students are having a great time. After coming off the water on one particularly cold, gray day, a group of eighteen students walked back into The WaterFront Center to return their lifejackets. Not only was no one in the group complaining about the low temperatures, but everyone was smiling. That was awesome, I can’t wait for tomorrow, my boat is so fun…were just a few of the things overheard from the students’ conversations.

What makes this program great is that it provides students that might have otherwise never had the opportunity to go sailing a chance to get out on the water and enjoy the sport. As an extra added bonus, they get this experience all while earning college credit.