Featured School: Narragansett Sailing School

By: Destinations, Instructors, Schools

“We suggest you only need to know five things to make a sailboat go. We can teach you those five things in an hour, and by the afternoon you are sailing the boat around the harbor knowing what you are doing. This doesn’t mean you know how to make it stop, or what the buoys mean, or which way you need to pass another boat… Those are the things we teach on day two and three of ASA 101. Some schools say they can teach you the sailing standards in two days. I think you can be exposed to it; but not learn it in two days.”

If there is a better way to describe what they do at Narragansett Sailing School I am hard-pressed to find it. Their approach to sailing and a sailing education comes from experience as well as a passion for wanting to be out on the water.  ASA spoke to the school owner, Mary Goff about the school and its programs.

We hire our instructors based on whether they are likable, experienced, and professional. You can teach skills, but you can’t teach personality. Another thing: a lot of times when you do something you love ALL the time, you can tend to lose the passion for it. We don’t ever want it to be a J.O.B. Therefore, most of our instructors are part-time, with most teaching three times a week.  The school is woman-owned. This lends itself to a great connection to women. Many women don’t want to learn from their significant other. We have five amazing women instructors that not only connect well with the women, but the men don’t seem to mind, too!” – Mary Goff, Owner, USCG Captain, ASA Instructor

Get to Know Narragansett Sailing School

Where They Sail:

We sail Narraganset Bay, out to Vineyard Sound and even down the East Coast for offshore experiences.

Our ASA 101 classes are held in a beautiful area at the start of the Providence River. There’s some traffic, yet not enough to make it worrisome to new learners. In ASA 103, students sail past the lighthouse and navigate to a very popular anchorage, “Potter’s Cove”. We drop the anchor, serve lunch, and jump in for a swim in this beautiful and secluded cove.

As students round out their education in ASA 104, we continue to expand our boundaries, exploring popular destinations like Wickford, Bristol, and Newport, RI. Adventuring further, ASA 106 students navigate to Martha’s Vineyard and the Elizabeth Islands. Stunning places to visit!

It isn’t a mistake that we’re located in Bullocks Cove. Part of the joy of sailing is the beautiful views on the water. Plus, we have reliably excellent weather with light wind in the morning, stronger in the afternoons, and easing winds in the evening. Perfect for learning.

What They Teach:

We teach several courses through the year-round, including most ASA course. We also offer seamanship skill courses, such as Diesel Engine, Boat Systems, Marine Electrical, Navigation, and Canvas Sewing.

It’s also important to mention: we have women-only sessions! These are for ASA and non-ASA courses and are also arranged throughout the year. Many of our women sailors, even if they come to us to sail with a male partner or friend, enjoy learning from a female sailor and alongside other women.

Newly offered at our school this season is the RPBA courses (Recreational Powerboat Association). 

We expand our course offerings each year and recently, there has been a large demand for powerboat training.

Meet Their Instructors:  We are fortunate to have many instructors, including male, female, young and seasoned individuals. The unifying character of our instructors is that they are passionate about being on the water and they want to share that experience with others.


Their Programs 

We are the Seamanship School of New England. Our goal is to equip sailors and boaters alike with all the skills that they need to sail the seas with confidence and knowledge of diesel engines, marine electrical, and boat systems. This allows them to also know what they can fix and when to call in a professional. These two-day courses are long enough to give you the necessary skills to help you in many situations.

Each year we hold Instructor Qualification Clinics for both Sailors and Powerboaters. If you, like our instructions, have a deep passion for sailing and boating, and enjoy helping others experience this as well, you may want to consider qualifying as an instructor. It can be the most fun side job you can find.

Learning to Sail

  • ASA 101: What You’ll Learn ASA 101 is your introduction to Basic Keelboat Sailboat and is your key to a lifetime of sailing.
  • How To Sail Sailing a boat is part art and part skill but few activities offer such a variety of pleasures as sailing. Something special occurs when you cast off the lines and leave your cares at the dock.
  • 7 Tips For The Beginning Sailor There are the obvious things you need when you go sailing, sunscreen, a hat, a windbreaker, non-skid shoes, and wind. However, what do you really need to be ready to head out on the water?
  • How To Learn To Sail You won’t have to buy a boat or learn a new language or buy a new wardrobe to get a taste for sailing. You can dictate how much you want to experience.
  • Learning To Sail Is Just The Beginning Sailing means different things to different people. At ASA we understand that learning to sail is just the beginning of a relationship with a lifestyle that is infectious. Where will sailing take you? We have a few ideas but how you view sailing is the most important.
  • What Is Your Role on a Boat? What type of sailor are you and what role do you take on the boat? Your ASA sailing education will prepare you to be a skipper on a sailing vessel and with that comes the responsibility of keeping your crew safe and ensuring the safety of the vessel you are sailing.