To complement my feature about my all-women’s motoryacht education experience, Lady Ship Lessons (page 72), I decided to do some additional research to see what other all-women boating education opportunities exist in the Puget Sound area. NW Explorations did a great job with my experience, but they aren’t the only show in town! There are a few opportunities to learn on the water with an all-female crew throughout the Salish Sea for those seeking that experience.
Additionally, most charters will offer training if there is a request for a “just girls” expedition. Other opportunities include the Seattle Boat Show, which often offers a one-day Women’s University to learn about boating, and the Vancouver International Boat Show’s Women’s Day for boating education. Generally, the sailing world has a generous amount of experiences for just women, with the powerboating arena being more limited.
Listed below are a few companies that offer powerboat training for both women only and mixed crews. As always, this is not a complete list but rather a tool to get you started. We encourage you to learn and have fun!
Anacortes Yacht Charters
anacortesyachtcharters.com / Phone: (800) 233-3004
AYC offers charters and training for powerboats. They can arrange an exclusive training cruise for women if there is enough demand, but do not guarantee a female instructor. “Female instructors are in demand and short supply,” says Christine Chinchin, charter manager and president of the Pacific Northwest Charter Association. “We would love to get more women, more people, engaged,” Chinchin says. “Once they get involved, they find boating so much more enjoyable.” She adds that the most popular event at the owner’s rendezvous is a women’s docking course.
nwexplorations.com / Phone: (800) 826-1430
This company is showcased in our feature on page 72. They also offer charters as well as training. The all-women trainings bookended the summer, one is held during Memorial Day weekend and the other over Labor Day Weekend. Once you are trained, the possibility of chartering and joining a Mother Goose flotilla up to Alaska can become reality. A Mother Goose trip is very tempting as it allows you to be captain of your own boat but have the help and support of other boaters and a trained captain who leads the flotilla.
shearwateruniversity.com / Phone: (425) 772-1344
Shearwater University in Anacortes, Washington, is owned by Phyllis Woolwine, an experienced mariner and instructor. She takes a slightly different tack in her business—students bring their own boat or charter one, then she comes aboard to train the crew. “I do all-women training on an as-needed basis,” she says, noting that the exclusively women trainings are usually when a woman invites a few friends and they have a girls’ weekend on the water. “The reasons why more women don’t have boating skills are mostly cultural,” Woolwine says. “Women have been told too long that ‘you can’t, you shouldn’t.’ It’s time to change that. We need more women in boating leadership.”