Kayaks glide through the water of Chautauqua Lake, setting a serene pace with nature. Trees sway in the breeze along the banks as small fish peep out of the water in search of food and better shellphone reception. Evergreen Outfitters makes outings like these possible by renting kayaks, canoes, and standup paddleboards and teaching guests how to safely use them. Each rental comes with lifejackets and cartop tie downs so boats can find their way to favorite watery locations. Paddlers looking for new surroundings can enlist Evergreen Outfitters's expert guides, who lead paddle tours on Lake Erie, full-moon trips on Chautauqua Lake, and explorations through the lagoons of Presque Isle State Park.
Currently celebrating its 44th season, the U.S. Sailing Association?accredited Seven Seas Sailing School of Buffalo offers landlubbers a taste of the aquatic life aboard sailboats manned by U.S. Coast Guard?certified captains. The team regularly exercises budding sailors' sea legs with certification courses and a seven-part Basic Sail program, and has also instructed students with multiple sclerosis and worked with the Sea Scouts to construct the world's first brick sailboat as part of a mission to take down rogue lighthouses. Seven Seas' headquarters on the Buffalo Ship Canal, complete with on-shore barbecues, a gazebo, and dockside gardens, hosts regular Friday-night family Sailabration events that combine food and fireworks with lively cruises and contests. When not sailing through their own programs, Seven Seas' captains and boats have been featured as crews in The Sullivans and Bruce Almighty.
For over four decades, Buffalo Harbor Cruises ships have plied the waters of Lake Erie, the Niagara River, and the Black Rock Lock and Canal, inviting tourists and locals alike to take in the rich history of Buffalo's scenic waterways. Party boats ferry revelers past the city skyline with fully licensed bars and pumping music, and chartered cruises and tours send guests sailing on a relaxing lake trip on a double-decker ship.
Sail Buffalo Sailing School's nationally accredited instructors captain a fleet of boats, teaching novices the art of wind wrangling while fostering community for seasoned aqua explorers. During the two-hour picnic sail and lesson, a crew of up to four launch onto Lake Erie for hands-on wind lassoing. Instructors lecture on general ship-savvy and negotiating with 18th-century pirates, before coaching each student through a turn at the helm. As first-timers confront wind gusts, instructors keep the atmosphere relaxed and positive, helping students recover and learn from mistakes. Meanwhile, crewmates soak in secondhand sail know-how and build camaraderie while crunching through BYO picnic fare and determining the best way to build a secret underwater fort.
National One Design Sailing Academy launches its fleet from its four Ontario schools onto the picturesque waters of Toronto Harbour and Lake Ontario, onto Lake Simcoe, or among the majestic Thousand Islands in the St. Lawrence River. Expert sailing instructors and captains are always at their helms, though they often hand control over to their students. That's because these sailing keelboats?which include several models of the sleek Flying Tiger?serve as ideal outdoor classrooms. The Academy's sailing programs provide intensive, hands-on instruction in the art of sailing, whether for recreational cruising, pulse-pounding racing, or chasing after a supervillain on a jet ski.
For example, they run two introductory sailing courses, both of which are designed for first-time sailors and one of which combines basic curricula of the SailCanada Learn to Cruise and Learn to Race programs. During these sessions, they cover basic boat handling and on-water safety and aim to participants into the sailing community. That social setting becomes even more crucial in the introductory and advanced racing courses, which demonstrate how to harness the power of the wind for advanced manoeuvres while introducing team strategy.