June 2020

Past Practice at the Club

In years’ past, private lessons at the Club have been arranged in most instances when a parent contacted a SHSS staff member and arranged a mutually convenient time at the Club for a lesson. This approach will be revised and replaced with this policy to bring the Club in line with the approach taken by other peer organizations, to ensure the safety of both student and staff and to manage the Club’s insurance liability risks. Going forward, we ask that neither families nor instructors arrange private lessons launching from or using Club property except in accordance with this policy.

Arranging for Private Lessons

Private lessons will be managed by SHSS’s Program Director. Initial requests from parents for private lessons will go through the Program Director who will maintain a calendar of available staff and dates/times. If a staff member receives a direct parent request for a private lesson, please direct that request to the Program Director. Once the Program Director has made an initial match between a family and an instructor, future lessons can be arranged directly between the family and instructor but the instructor will be responsible for communicating all such requests with the Program Director and any such private lessons can only take place on dates and at times approved by the Program Director. IN NO EVENT SHALL PRIVATE LESSONS TAKE PLACE ON DAYS OR AT TIMES WHEN THE CLUB IS NOT STAFFED. PRIVATE LESSONS MAY ONLY TAKE PLACE WHEN AT LEAST ONE OTHER STAFF MEMBER IS ON SHORE. This is to ensure everyone’s safety.

Initially for the summer of 2020, the Club will schedule private lessons on Friday afternoons and on Saturdays between 10 AM and 4 PM weather permitting.

Eligibility to Provide Private Lessons

In order for SHSS staff to be eligible to provide private lessons, they must first apply to the Program Director. The Program Director will evaluate the staff member’s readiness to teach private lessons and will, among other things, consider the teaching skills and experience of the staff member. Staff applying to teach private lessons must have satisfactorily completed a boating safety course and have demonstrated to the Program Director strong motor boat handling skills. Staff may not teach private lessons to members without approval of the Program Director and in no case may staff use Club property to teach private lessons without the approval of the Program Director. Volunteer staff and Instructors in Training may not give private lessons. 


Members will be billed for private lessons and will not pay instructors directly. The costs – insurance, boat purchase/maintenance – associated use of Club property are significant and the risk to the Club is material. For these reasons, SHSS will bill families for private lessons at the rates below which may be updated from time to time. All lessons must be for a minimum of 1 hour.

$60 for 60 minutes

$90 for 90 minutes

$120 for 120 minutes

If an additional student participates in the lesson, there will be a $30 per hour charge on top of the base rate (max 2 students).

Cancellations of less than 24 hours or no shows will be billed at the full rate. In the event of a weather-related delay, for easy of administration the fee will be billed and due and the lesson may be re-scheduled. Late pick-ups will be billed on a pro-rated basis at the above hourly rate. In the event of high winds, if the staff member and student/family are in agreement, the lesson can take place on land by working on curriculum and/or land drills (following social distance and other COVID19 protocols). Lessons should be postponed if the wind velocity is 15 mph or higher and under circumstances where a student, parent or coach feel it is not advisable to sail.


All students receiving private lessons must have a current signed waiver on file with the Club before they can receive a private lesson.

Other Details

We discourage members from arranging “off duty” private lessons with Club staff using private boats launched from private property. This is likely to give rise to confusion about the status of the actions of the staff member or student in the event of injury or property damage.

All other applicable Club policies apply to private lessons, including without limitation the Club’s COVID-19 related policies. Students and staff must wear face coverings; remain 6’ apart (except in an emergency); and must screen for COVID symptoms and not participate in the event of any such symptoms. For the summer of 2020, students must be at least 7 years old to participate in a private lesson. Private lessons may have no more than 2 students with any one instructor. Except in an emergency, Instructors may NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES BE IN A BOAT WITH A STUDENT. Students must be comfortable sailing without an instructor in the boat. If they are not yet comfortable with that level of independence, instruction may begin on land until the student is sufficiently comfortable.

The skill level of the student should be evaluated carefully in determining appropriate weather conditions and the specific location within the harbor for any private lesson. IN NO EVENT SHALL A PRIVATE LESSON BE CONDUCTED OUTSIDE OF STAGE HARBOR (I.E., IN NANTUCKET SOUND).

All damage to boats or equipment must be reported to the Club. We understand that damage and loss occur in the process of learning but ask that families reimburse the Club in cases of repeated loss/damage or significant loss/damage.

The Club understands that families sometime wish to try private instruction with different instructors. Please direct any requests for different private instructors to the Program Director.

Students must be brought to the Club by their families and picked up by their families. Instructors may not drive students to or from the Club in cars.