Do I have to know how to sail to rent a boat? What is the Open Sailing Checkout?

Yes, someone in your group, who will be in the boat with you, must pass our Open Sailing Quiz!

Nantucket Community Sailing requires all customers, both members and non-members, of the Jetties Sailing Center, who would like to rent a sailboat for open sailing, pass our Open Sailing Quiz (for all sailboats). The Site Manager may also engage you in a more thorough verbal check, after the Open Sailing Quiz, if they are concerned about the safety of your group. This will include a check of the following skills: understanding of wind direction, leaving/returning to the mooring, ability to sail all 3 points of sail (upwind, reach, downwind), tacking/jibing, safety position (sails luffing, boat stopped). Ultimately, it is at the discretion of the Site Manger, as to who can safely sail in the given conditions. The Open Sailing Quiz must be done by the single individual, in the presence of JSC staff and not more than once per day. We will also talk you through:

  • A discussion of the Open Sailing Area
  • A discussion and review of safety equipment on-board and how to call for help/assistance (review of handheld radio use; safety cards in the boats; and review of 'safety position')
  • A discussion of when the boat is due back to the NCS mooring

If a customer fails to pass an Open Sailing Quiz or verbal checkout, they will be refunded for the rental and required to take a private lesson before re-testing. For members and non-members, the checkout is part of the two-hour rental - and the time used for the checkout will be taken out of the rental time.

Do I have to know how to SUP or Kayak to use this equipment?

Not necessarily. Our instructors are able to offer you quick tips right on the beach to get you feeling comfortable and launched. We also have a resource guide at the site with additional tips for paddling, which you're welcome to review before heading out.

Do you limit rental activities when it's really windy?

Yes. Safety is always our first priority. If it's too windy for us to safely monitor equipment and people on the water, we'll start limiting the type and number of rentals. For example, we may not be renting big sail boats off of moorings (Rhodes 19s, Marshall Cat 15s), but we might still be renting SUPs and kayaks. Or we might rent big sail boats, but require that students put in a reef, or only use the main sail and not the jib. Rental activity on windy days is always at the discretion of our Site Manager Often this is a judgment call, but please remember, we have your and our safety in mind.

I damaged a piece of equipment (NCS or private) – now what?

First off, please let us know! When you return to the beach, please let the JSC Manager know what happened. We'll work with you to fill out an incident report form, so we have a record of what happened and can properly orchestrate repairs and contact the Environmental Police or Harbormaster if-necessary. Per the terms of the NCS waiver, customers accept full responsibility for all losses, costs, and damages incurred as a result of their participation in the activity.

I want to check out Coatue – can I paddle or sail over?

Our Open Sailing Area prohibits sailing and watersports customers from crossing the ferry channel, so no, we do not allow people to visit Coatue.

I want to check out Brant Point – can I paddle or sail over?

Yes, Brant Point is within the boundaries of our Open Sailing Area and customers are welcome to paddle down and beach their SUP or kayak. *You may not ROUND Brant Point, as that would put you in the commercial Ferry channel, which is outside of our Open Sailing* Area. We ask that if people do beach their boards (and remember, you still need to return to the JSC within the allotted time for your rental) that you stay near the board. In other words, when we perform our 'head counts' on the water, we need to be able to see you – with your equipment. So don't beach it and wander off! We also ask that you use great care when walking your equipment up onto the beach. Scratched bottoms are slow for everyone!

How old must a child be to join on equipment?

At NCS, we have life jackets (USCG Type III-approved) for children as young as 5 years old. Children must wear a US Coast Guard-approved Type-III life jacket (PFD) when using our equipment.

Can I bring my pet with me?

NCS has a no pets policy at the Jetties Sailing Center. Service animals are allowed.

What is your Rental / Lesson Cancellation Policy?

All bookings, for members and non-members, will require a credit card to secure your reservation and/or pay in advance. If you need to cancel, please contact the NCS Office at (508) 228-6600 or the JSC at (508) 228-5358 (do not leave a message) or email, registration@nantucketsailing.org. A NCS staff member will confirm your cancellation and/or rebooking. Please note our cancellation policy for rentals and lessons:

JSC Members:

If you cancel within 24 hours or are a no show, there is no refund for lessons and for rentals you will be charged in full the published rate. If you cancel within 48 hours, you will be issued a 50% refund of the lesson or will be charged a 50% of the published rate. If you cancel prior to 72 hours, you will receive a full refund for lessons and will not be charged for rentals.

Non Members:

If you cancel within 24 hours or are a no show, there is no refund. If you cancel within 48 hours, you will be issued a 50% refund. If you cancel prior to 72 hours of rental/lesson, you will receive a full refund.

Please note that if NCS needs to cancel your rental or lesson, NCS will attempt to reschedule. If NCS is unable to reschedule, a full refund will be issued.

As for Weather Cancellations -- Nantucket is a "marine location" with a "marine forecast". This means the wind and weather can affect this rental/lesson. If the wind or weather is not conducive to safe operation, Jetties Sailing Center will cancel the rental/lesson. Customers will receive a full refund for rentals/lessons canceled by Jetties Sailing Center for any reason. Customers may reschedule any rental or lesson in the future at no extra cost. Please remember, in a "marine forecast" the weather can change quickly. Please respect Jetties Sailing Center wind and weather judgements for cancellation. JSC will use the cell phone on file at time of registration to contact you.

What are your General Site Safety Rules?

All individuals participating in NCS programs or using NCS equipment at Polpis Harbor or Jetties Beach are expected to follow these general safety rules. These rules will be reviewed with students on the first day of a new session and posted at the Jetties Sailing Center:

  • USCG-approved Type-III PFDs are required at all times when in a motor or sailboat, on a dock, in a kayak or paddleboard, near the water's edge, or in the water. The PFD must be in good condition, properly worn and zipped.
  • Closed-toe shoes must be worn at all times when at an NCS Site or using NCS equipment. If a customer of the Jetties Sailing Center chooses not to wear shoes while paddle-boarding or kayaking, it is at his or her own risk. Shoes are mandatory on sailboats.
  • No knives, drugs, alcohol, or other harmful weapons or substances are permitted.
  • Personal property (except Epi-pens) is the responsibility of the student and not NCS.
  • All sailors will maintain proper etiquette, respect and seamanship at all times: No bullying, pushing, shoving, horseplay, fighting, hitting, and profanity. No disruptive behavior, disrespectful gestures, actions or language. Physical violence and bullying (teasing or derogatory/hurtful comments) are not tolerated.
  • NCS staff, peers, equipment, and the environment must be treated with respect at all times. No littering on land or water.
  • Students must stay in the area designated for class or rentals at all times; all boats must stay within hailing distance of the Head Instructor's boat, or in the case of a rental, within the Open Sailing Area.
  • All students/customers will exercise great care in the use of Nantucket Community Sailing's sailboats, safety boats, and equipment.

Do I have to wear a PFD (Lifejacket) at NCS?

Yes. Personal flotation devices (PFDs or life jackets) must be in good condition, worn, and zipped, at all times when a student is on the docks, in a boat (in a sailboat, kayak, paddle board or motorboat), in the water, or at the water's edge. PFD's must be U. S. Coast Guard Type III-approved vests and must be properly fitted to an individual's size and weight. Nantucket Community Sailing will provide life jackets to every student, and will assist students in finding properly fitting PFDs at the beginning of every class. Students are welcome to bring their personal life jackets from home. If a student elects to bring a personal life jacket, it must be U.S. Coast Guard Type-III approved, in good condition, and must fit properly. A PFD that is ripped, or missing a zipper or straps, is not acceptable. If an instructor feels that a PFD does not fit a student properly, he or she will replace it with a properly fitting NCS-owned PFD for the remainder of the class/class sessions.

Customer and Member Terms

  • The NCS Site Manager will make the final call as to whether conditions are safe for sailing. NCS deserves the right to cancel anytime.
  • The customer or member is ultimately responsible for their own safety and for checking weather conditions, tides, and currents prior to rental.
  • Nantucket Community Sailing reserves the right to revoke any membership at any time, without refund, for abuse of the membership, equipment, or violation of NCS policies.
  • All Coast Guard, State, and local laws must be observed at all times when using NCS equipment. If you are unclear about these laws, please ask an NCS staff member.
  • The customer or member is responsible for inspecting boat and safety equipment prior to leaving the beach or mooring and requesting any equipment that might be necessary (such as radio, lines, blocks, etc.)
  • By taking the boat, the customer or member acknowledges that the boat is safe and seaworthy and properly equipped and agrees to the terms of NCS membership and rentals.
  • The customer must stay in the Open Sailing Area unless given explicit permission by the Site Manager, and provided they detail a float plan.
  • Only those individuals who have signed an NCS waiver and agreed to the terms of the rental may participate.
  • PFDs must be worn, and zipped at all times.
  • Alcohol and smoking are not allowed on NCS boats or at NCS sites. Use of alcohol before or onboard the boats will result in suspension of sailing privileges.
  • NCS boats may not be used for any fee-for-service based activity unless it is conducted by NCS staff as part of an NCS program.
  • Skippers must report all accidents, injuries, and collisions to the Site Manager. Failure to report any incidents may result in suspension of privileges. Staff must complete an Accident/Incident Report for documentation purposes.
  • NCS Sailors/Students/Members are responsible for their own and any guest's behavior and safety. Unruly, boisterous, and/or dangerous behavior may result in the suspension of the members' sailing privileges. Respect all safety rules and the rules of the road.
  • No rental sailboat can leave the mooring without a radio onboard. A radio check must be performed before leaving the mooring. The radio must be on, turned to an audible volume for the conditions, and on VHF 67.
  • Swimming is not allowed.
  • Upon return, the customer or member must notify the Jetties Sailing Center shack of any problem that occurred during the rental, including any damage to an NCS boat or another boat.
  • The customer or member is financially and legally responsible for any damage to any boat or equipment, NCS-owned or privately owned.
  • Per the terms of the NCS waiver, customers accept full responsibility for all losses, costs, and damages incurred as a result of their participation in the activity.
  • Pets are not allowed on NCS boats, unless certified as a service animal.

What is the Open Sailing Area?

Nantucket Community Sailing's Open Sailing Area (OSA) at its Jetties Sailing Center is defined by the following boundaries: The west jetty, to the North; the channel to the East; and First Point/Brant Point to the SE/S. Please refer to the laminated map for more detail. Nantucket Community Sailing must be able to see a rental boat on the water at all times from its Jetties Sailing Center, so open sailors are encouraged to follow this mantra: If you can see us, we can see you. The OSA was defined according to NCS safety resources, including the number of safety/rescue/tow boats on site, the number of staff available to assist open sailors, and the range of a handheld radio. Open sailors who do not obey the OSA will be hailed by radio or notified in person by a safety boat, and will be asked to return to the OSA. Open sailors who ignore the boundaries of the OSA more than 3 (three) times in a season will no longer be able to rent NCS boats, at the discretion of the Site Manager and No NCS members will be approved to go beyond the OSA. Additionally, the beaching of large sailboats (Rhodes 19's or Marshall Cats) on Coatue, Monomoy or any other shore within the OSA, is prohibited.

How do I return the equipment?

All customers/members using equipment at the Jetties Sailing Center are required to pay for and/or check the equipment out at the customer service shack prior to using the equipment. All customers/members must check back in with the customer service shack upon the end of their rental.

P.O. Box 2424, Nantucket, MA 02584
NCS Office: 508-228-6600 | Jetties Sailing Center: 508-228-5358
© 2024 Nantucket Community Sailing, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization