Junior Programs

For all classes, sailors must… 

  • Pass the swim test (jump off the dock into the lake, swim approximately 50 yards along the dock and tread water) 
  • Be comfortable in and around the water 
  • Follow school rules 
  • Participate in a group without being disruptive 
  • Respect instructors, fellow sailors and demonstrate good sportsmanship 
  • Have a great attitude and wiliness to learn

​Creek Critters

Creek Critters is a learn-to-sail program for 6-7 year-olds.  There are two separate half-day sessions held Monday through Thursday.  The first session is 9:30 a.m. to noon.  The second session is 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.  A typical week begins with students performing a swim test in their life jacket and concludes with students sailing in Prams. (Typically two students share a boat.) Students must be comfortable around the water and able to swim.

Creek Critters are held at DCSS's facility located at Deep Creek Lake Sailing Association. Students will meet on the patio outside the sailing school classroom.  More details will be sent to parents upon registration.

Junior Weeks

Junior week is a learn-to-sail program for ages 8-17 held Monday through Friday 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., offered throughout the summer. Junior sailors receive both on-the-water and off-the-water instruction, primarily in Optimist Prams, Teras, and Lasers, and may also be instructed in Club 420s and Flying Scots as conditions allow. Sailors are taught as a group, or two groups, but each sailor also receives some individualized coaching to help him or her progress through a sequence of levels (certificates accompanied by pins) at his or her own pace. 

​The week begins with a mandatory swim test followed by an in-the-water capsize drill. Sailors then receive basic sailing and safety instruction and on-the-land and boat rigging instruction. Regardless of experience, and weather permitting, each sailor will sail on the first day. Each of the following days includes a chalk talk and on-the-water instruction. Usually the week includes a long-distance sail to Deep Creek Yacht Club, Inc. located in Thousand Acres and back, and each week concludes with an awards ceremony. 

Junior weeks are held at DCSS's facility located at Deep Creek Lake Sailing Association. More details will be sent to parents upon registration. 

Teen Week

Offered one week each summer, Teen week is an advanced Junior week dedicated to helping juniors age 12 and older improve their sailing and racing skills on Teras, Lasers, and Flying Scots. Sailors need to have earned their red pin (or demonstrate comparable skills) to participate.


Pin System (Junior & Teen Weeks)

DCSS’s curriculum allows sailors to progress through a series of levels at his or her own pace. Each level includes a list of criteria and is accompanied by a certificate and pin. The levels for Optimist Prams and Lasers include yellow (beginner), green (intermediate), red (intermediate-advanced), blue (advanced), silver (racing) and gold (advanced racing). Tera and 420 pins may also be earned. Sailors begin learning basic boat rigging and de-rigging, identification of parts, safety, knot tying and basic boat handling, then move to more advanced drills and racing rules. Seamanship, sportsmanship, and willingness to try are highly valued and encouraged. 


DCSS has a fleet of Optimist Prams, Teras, Lasers, 420s, and Flying Scots. The Lasers have full, radial, and 4.7 rig options. New and smaller (under 90 lb) sailors usually sail Optimists or Teras. Heavier, older, or more experienced sailors usually sail Teras or Lasers with the appropriate size rig and sail. 420s and Flying Scots are larger sailboats sailed with two more sailors. Wind conditions may dictate which boat is most appropriate for each sailor, and the type of boat may vary during a given week. Sailors are welcome and encouraged to bring their own Optimist, Tera, or Laser, and parents receive a discount of $50 per week for providing their own boat. 

Interested in Racing?

DCSS students who are learning to race or advancing their racing skills are invited to participate in Wednesday evening races; however, regular weekend racing requires membership in Deep Creek Yacht Racing Association (DCYRA). ​


The physical location of DCSS is different than our mailing address. The sailing school classroom is located on the first floor of Deep Creek Lake Sailing Association (DCLSA) clubhouse.  

Some classes are held at Deep Creek Yacht Club, Inc. (DCYC) Both clubs are located at the southern end of Deep Creek Lake.

Deep Creek Lake Sailing Association
204 Yacht Club Road
Swanton, MD 21561
(301) 387-4159

Deep Creek Yacht Club
855 Shoreline Drive
Swanton, MD 21561
(301) 387-7890