The future of Oyster Bay is in good hands with The WaterFront Center, a nonprofit U.S. Sailing–accredited facility that teaches both youths and adults to conserve their local environment. In addition to demonstrating the importance of environmental responsibility, the center also instills sailing skills in people of all ages, from their Lil’ Luffers class for third and fourth graders to US Sailing certification for those ready to take the boat out on their own. For corporate groups, they teach a different kind of lesson out on the water with outings designed to teach team development or effective communication. The WaterFront Center also rents sailboats and kayaks to veteran boaters or trustworthy gusts of wind.
Since 2004, the first-aid- and CPR-trained crew at Port Sailing School has ferried passengers over Manhasset Bay for sailing lessons, charters, camps, and certification courses aboard the school's fleet. The outfit's nine noble vessels include such seafaring specimens as the J 24 keelboat, the two-cabin Beneteau 36, and the Sonar 23, designated as the fleet?s primary lesson boat for its roomy cockpit and no-mutinies record. Aboard the Sonar 23, students learn sailing skills and marine laws through instructional courses that range from private introductory sailing lessons to state safety certifications. Based on the course topic, lessons may focus on such boating aspects as docking, mooring pickup, anchoring, or advanced racing techniques, each dictated by the desires of the student and the daily attitude of the sea.
Atlantic Outfitters facilitates maritime excursions with its stable of paddle-propelled vessels. From the fiberglass-ensconced safety of two sleek kayaks, or from the commanding view afforded by two standup paddleboards, seafaring friends can spend two hours exploring the watery expanses, tributaries, and wooded shorelines of the pristine Manhasset Bay. During the journey, paddlers can picnic on the open water, use their feet as anchors in the shallows along sandy beaches, or reenact favorite scenes from a documentary about waterfowl. Numerous kayak launch sites along the coast provide easy access to the bay.
Captain Frank Rizzo and his crew draw on 35 years of navigation experience to pilot the Freeport Princess along the placid waters of Freeport’s Nautical Mile. On the night of their dinner cruise, passengers stroll up the gangplank of the 105-foot Coast Guard–certified yacht to wave kerchiefs at land-bound friends or don mermaid costumes and clamber onto the prow for luck. Once at sail, patrons can settle into plush stools and couches lining the main deck’s sumptuous windowed lounge, and slide past the cash bar for libations (not included in the dinner cruise) to toast the luxurious evening. The steaming buffet tempts diners with four gourmet appetizers and entrees in the formal dining area on the lower deck ringed with clear lucite tables to protect guests from having their shoelaces tied together while eating. Passengers can mount the elegant glassed-in stairs to the upper level, where DJs spin tunes on a large dance floor sparkling with disco lights and an outer deck lets passengers relish ocean breezes and peaceful views of the Nautical Mile’s cozy harbors.
Captain Lou gives his guests two ways to explore the South Bay, but both are by boat. For the outdoorsman, he and his staff lead fishing tours out on the bay. Each boat is equipped with contemporary fish-tracking and navigational equipment, so it's easy to locate the best spots to anchor. Social butterflies, however, might opt for moonlight party cruises across the water in cruising yachts, which can each hold up to 149 guests.
With a shared exuberance for the sport of rowing, Yan and Olga Vengerovskiy founded the Maritime Rowing Club in 1996. Yan honed his skills with the Ukrainian National Rowing Team, and Olga sharpened her oars with the Russian National Team, where she won a championship. After achieving their individual and team goals in the sport, Yan took to coaching the Soviet Union Junior Women's National Team from 1973 to 1991 and Olga shared her knowledge with students at the Specialized School of Olympic Reserves in the Ukraine. To bring the Maritime Rowing Club to fruition, the couple gathered a team of experienced rowers to help them share the experience of recreational and competitive rowing with their new community in Norwalk. The squad trains interested parties of all ages through programs covering both rowing styles of sweep and sculling along the dark blue waters of the Norwalk River. In recognition of their excellence in promoting the sport, USRowing honored Yan and Olga with the John J. Carlin service award in December of 2011.