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George Stevens

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Boating in DC

Posted by George Stevens on Sun, Feb 19, 2017 @ 12:16 PM

There are many places to rent a boat in the DC area. You need to know where to go for sailing vs. kayaking or paddleboards. There are no powerboat rentals out of the major marinas at this time though there are private boats that can be available.

For the Sailors;

Belle Haven Marina

Washington Sailing Marina

Gangplank Marina


For kayaks & paddleboards;

Belle Haven Marina

Fletchers boat house

Key Bridge kayaks

National Harbor

Thompson Boat House


Tags: Belle Haven Marina, Flying Scot, Learn to Sail, Potomac River, Dyke Marsh, US Sailing, Boating in DC

Smiles Bloom with the Cherry Trees Aboard Washington DC Yacht Charters

Posted by George Stevens on Fri, Feb 10, 2017 @ 03:53 PM


cherry b.jpg 

Members of the Prunus genus are among the most loved trees in America and perhaps no city adores them more than Washington, DC. The DC locals and outsiders alike are thrilled by the trees’ blossoms. As such, many people set up watch parties, parades and Washington DC yacht charters around the time the trees are expected to be in full bloom.

Admittedly, the area around the city’s many cherry trees can get a bit crowded. So oftentimes, one of the best ways to view the blossoms is to board a Washington DC yacht charter. Washington DC yacht charters are available while the city’s vegetation is at the height of seasonal color and beyond. And the one that offers the best views of the city is the lovely Potomac Belle.

She’s a custom, bi-level gem that seats 35 tops and boasts several important features. Among them are catering prep and service areas meant to provide refreshments for blossom watchers.  Because all refreshments aboard the Potomac Belle are brought in, there’s ample opportunity to customize the menu to highlight any event.

For example, groups visiting Washington during cherry blossom time may want to ask their respective caterers to serve dishes like roast duck with cherries or Shirley Temple cocktails. Of course with the great taste and acidity cherries provide, the area’s best caterers can make the menu possibilities seem virtually endless.

Although the gorgeous flowers may be seen from both decks, the best views are obviously captured from the upper level. It accommodates 25 cherry blossom fans at a time. We’d suggest bringing one’s digital camera to the top deck because trust us, most camera phones won’t do the spectacular view justice. And don’t forget those shades! Washington DC yacht charters are best enjoyed on the sunniest of days.

To learn more about booking one before cherry blossom season ends, please contact the Potomac Belle Yacht’s crew today.

Private Boat Charters Help Enrich Mercy Street Fans’ Experiences in 2017

Posted by George Stevens on Fri, Dec 23, 2016 @ 07:38 AM

PBS’ Mercy Street Series burst on to the scene last year and took TV viewers by surprise. Many expected it to be the same, Civil War pabulum they had seen show up on the small screen time and time again. However, the smartly written storyline proved to be anything but. It also inspired a series of special events and renewed interest in Alexandria based activities, including private boat charters.

During the Civil War Era, private boat charters were pretty much confined to supply operations. They weren’t seen as the entertaining, river cruises as they are now. But, that hasn’t stopped fans of Mercy Street from enjoying them during their visits of our historic city. Many choose to meet on King Street first, which is home to the Alexandria Visitor’s Center.

The visitor’s center has information on guided tours that take Mercy Street fans to significant spots throughout Old Towne and beyond. Afterward, they make the short drive or walk to the Torpedo Factory Art Center and the Old Towne waterfront where they catch a ride about the Potomac Belle. And yes, she’s real southern lady. So, she’s reluctant to show her real age.

The Potomac Belle is kept in immaculate condition, much like the historic landmarks that dot the river’s shoreline and churn the creative juices of series writers. As such, many passengers mistake her for a brand, new vessel. But rest assured, our lady has her share of stories to tell. The only difference is they date back to the late 90s not the 1800s, when belles wore hoop skirts and lace.

Mercy Street fans headed to Old Towne in March 2017 should book their private boat charters now, to coincide with the city’s scheduled events. To learn more about those Mercy Street events and how private boat charters may fit into visitors’ plans, please contact us today.

Potomac River Cruises Offer a Look at the Beauty of Nature’s Glitter Patterns

Posted by George Stevens on Wed, Apr 20, 2016 @ 07:27 AM

Glitter patterns, they’re something that draws the eye and baffles young children. They are also perfectly natural, thanks to the laws of physics. NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory’s Physical Sciences Division credits the beautiful glitter patterns found duringPotomac River cruises to sun glints. Native to bodies of water, they’re just another way to describe solar reflections. When the happen in mass, cruise passengers are treated to showcase perfect sunrises, sunsets and other river views. That’s the good part. But there is a dark side to sun glints too.

Like any light reflected off of water bodies, it can be very hard on the eyes, hair and skin. So cruise passengers are encouraged to dress with protection in mind. Wearing sunscreen, UV-resistant clothing, footwear and hats will help tremendously. So will adjusting one’s eyes to avoid direct contact with the water’s surface or the sun. Also, passengers should bear in mind that parts of the Potomac Belle feature shelter from the sun. Examples include the lower deck and restrooms, which are enclosed for comfort.

Plus, there is always the option of booking moonlit, Potomac River cruises. Despite what some folks may tell you, nighttime glitter patterns are inherently mild. Scientists blame it on the moonbeams. Unlike there daytime counterparts, moonbeams do not contain copious amounts of harmful, UV rays. As such, they’ll still create glitter patterns but will go easy on a person’s hair, skin and eyes. So people can stare out at the river in comfort from our blue water yacht’s upper deck whether it’s 7 p.m. or 10 p.m., depending on the sunset time of course.

The moon also rises and sets over the Potomac River at different times of the year. Furthermore, there are bound to be variations based on the moon’s phase. For example, third quarter moons generally remain hidden until midnight. To learn more about glitter patterns and how they add to Potomac River cruises, please contact us.

Fall in Love with Alexandria’s Best Boat Tours

Posted by George Stevens on Thu, Jul 23, 2015 @ 07:08 PM


During the month of September 2015, Alexandria will be hosting a very special event that pairs perfectly with boat tours. It’s the annual art festival and it’s slated to take place on the 19th and 20th. The event is a wonderful blip on Virginia’s fun-filled, early fall calendar that shouldn’t be missed. How does it fit in withboat tours? Grab your artist’s apron and have a seat!

The boat tours take place on the Potomac River, one of the most painted bodies of water in all of Virginia. It has been calling creative types to its shores since at least the 1800s. It was then that men like George Beck picked up palate and brush to capture her beauty for celebrated figures, including our Founding Fathers.

Beck’s painting of the Potomac was certainly not created during the Old Towne boat tours of today. However, there have been many artists inspired by an early fall trip up or down the historic waterway. So why not shoot for a little inspiration of one’s own while the festival is in full swing?

Boat tours run at various times of the day and night. Thus, surely there will be something afoot that will catch an artist’s eye. Perhaps it will be sun-dappled trees casting their shadows across the water or the majestic profile of our national monuments.  Why it could even be the food and beverages, which may be arranged through a variety of local caterers.

With that said, artists should gather their friends and tools of trade for a boat tour par excellence. Booking private excursions would be ideal as they provide better opportunities to spread out one’s easel. In addition, it will be possible to have some control over the boat tour’s route too. To learn more about setting one’s creativity free during the area’s fall events, please contact us at the Potomac Belle today.

Private Boat Charters May Help Companies Break Groupthink Gridlock

Posted by George Stevens on Thu, Jul 09, 2015 @ 09:47 PM

Have your office staff members fallen victim to groupthink? It is a common occurrence that has the potential to cause a number of negative outcomes. For example, it could cause creativity in the office to cease and raise the stress levels of all workers. The good news is groupthink doesn’t have to stick around forever. There are ways to bring creativity back to the office and booking private boat charters is one of them.

For years, scientists have looked at ways to boost creativity, reduce stress, alter mood and change behavior. One element that has consistently been effective at helping people complete all four tasks is nature. Let’s take a look at a 2015 issue of Urban Forestry & Urban Greening an example. It featured a study whose results showed exposure to the great outdoors has the potential to bolster creativity and break old patterns of thinking.

People Together-1

A 2015 article in Health & Place provides further scientific proof of the benefits that may be gleaned from being outside, particularly when the environment includes water. We’d also suggest reading articles published in Advanced Materials Research (2013) and the book, New Waterscapes: Planning, Building and Designing with Water. They will provide some perspective on the topic as well.

Now that the benefits of being out on the water are clear, it’s easy to see why private boat charters are often excellent at rejuvenating office staff. They offer people a scenic, relaxing way to soak up all of the benefits that the natural environment has to offer. Plus, they can be a lot of fun. For example, you could treat everyone to mock cocktails and dinner.

Private boat charters don’t have to be all about fun and games though. They are ideal places to hold strategy meetings too. And yes, it is possible to arrange non-alcoholic beverage service for those types of corporate events. To learn more about breaking up groupthink with a mind-altering cruise on the Potomac River, please contact us.

Just Imagine by John A

Posted by George Stevens on Tue, Mar 10, 2015 @ 02:56 PM

Just imagine if if all sailing facilities across North America and beyond threw open their doors and invited the public to experience sailing on the longest day of the year right at the start of summer!  And then publicized it all in their local area - on Craig's List, in the local paper, in a Blog, Facebook and Twitter Feed.  All sailboats, all sailing, all together.  Summer Sailstice is the opportunity for everyone to do this for this year's 15th annual Summer Sailstice.

We always love seeing more sailing organizations coming on board to just do it so it's great to find a post on the Washington DC area Craig's List for Mariner Sailing School in Alexandria, VA.  

Mariner Sailing School is publicizing free one-hour sailing lessons on Craig's List.

The Summer Sailstice events page now has two options for posting your event:  Public Participation events with yellow pins are events open to the public.  Red pins are demonstration events, i.e.  cruises, races and other events which showcase the best of sailing but where public participation isn't available.  

We'd like to see as many events as possible on Summer Sailstice so all of sailing is on display and we especially like seeing US Sailing training centers like Mariner Sailing School offering open houses and other opportunities for uninitiated sailors to get on the water.  

Tags: Belle Haven Marina, Washington Sailing Marina, Clean Marina, adult sailing lessons, Mariner Sailing School, US Sailing, Sunfish, sailing lessons for children, Washington DC sailing marina

Become “Boat Smart”

Posted by George Stevens on Fri, Mar 06, 2015 @ 09:40 PM


education and training

Learning the basics of boat operation and safety is best done before your first trip to the marina or launch ramp. In fact, a number of states require powerboat operators to take a boating education course and carry a license or certificate proving successful course completion any time they're underway.

Resources for You!

The US Coast Guard Auxiliary was established by Congress in 1939, the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary is Semper Paratus(Always Ready).

US Power Squadron was organized in 1914, USPS is a non profit, educational organization dedicated to making boating safer and more enjoyable by teaching classes in seamanship, navigation and related subjects.

Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) has worked to provide quality service, savings, and representation to the boating community since 1966. The BoatUS Foundation is the only FREE online safety course developed specifically for individual states.

Safely Moored is a professional, hands-on boating instruction, safety training, yacht management, dockside services & Yacht Sales in South Florida.

US POWERBOATING™ is the nation's leading, on-the-water organization, offering courses for powerboat operators and is an affiliate of US SAILING, the national governing body for the sport of sailing.

The Recreational Powerboating Association™ (RPBA™) is the leading authority for hands-on powerboat instruction, powerboat certification & powerboat schools in the United States.

The American Sailing Association (ASA) is the oldest and largest keelboat certification authority in the United States, with 300 affiliated sailing schools worldwide.

The United States Sailing Association (US Sailing), the national governing body for sailing, provides leadership, integrity, and growth for the sport in the United States.

The US Sailing Keelboat Certification System is a cooperative effort among sailing schools, charter companies, the sailing industry, and US Sailing volunteers and staff.

Tags: Belle Haven Marina, Potomac River sailing, boating safety, Alexandria Virginia, Boat US, Mariner Sailing School, sailing lessons for children, Sailing Instructors

Peer-to-Peer Boat Rentals: What Do You Need To Know?

Posted by George Stevens on Tue, Feb 24, 2015 @ 03:50 PM


10 Tips From BoatUS for Owners and Renters

ALEXANDRIA, Va., February 24, 2015 – Airbnb may a popular “peer-to-peer” lodging site on the web, but if you want to rent a boat in your local area or away, you’ve got options, too., and are just a few of the new crop of online websites offering a chance to rent a boat for the day or weekend. These services, which connect private boat owners to renters, can help owners recoup some expenses, and can also give non-owners a chance to get on the water with friends without the cost of full-time ownership. So what do you need to know? Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) has some information for both boat owners and renters.

  1. Renters do not want boats that are not safe and or can barely get out of the marina, so these services are often better suited to newer vessels less than 10 years old. Older, larger or faster boats may require a survey or inspection. Rental costs vary widely based on boat size and location, and renters typically are required to have some boating experience as well as a deposit.
  2. These peer-to-peer boat rental websites generally handle every part of the transaction, including taking deposits and payments. They typically take 30%-40% of the rental fee, which covers overhead, profit, as well as insurance and on water towing services (more on both of those in a second…read on).
  3. For boat owners, most boat insurance policies don’t provide coverage during the rental period and some companies may not provide coverage at any time simply if you list your boat with a rental program. If you happen to own and insure your boat but desire to rent another, your insurance company (including BoatUS Marine Insurance) may offer a temporary endorsement for liability coverage while operating the rental boat – but damage to the rental boat still is not covered. That’s why these “peer-to-peer” boat rental companies often provide additional insurance coverage. However, it’s up to owners – and renters – to read the fine print. For owners, know what happens if your boat is damaged, the claims process, how depreciation may figure in, and, in the event of total loss, how the insurance will value your boat. For renters, ensure you are OK with the level of liability coverage being offered during the rental, know how much you would have to pay if you damage the boat, and whether injuries to both you and your passengers would be covered.
  4. TowBoatUS and Vessel Assist towing fleets provide on water towing and assistance service to some peer-to-peer rental services at no additional charge to the renter or owner. For the renter that means simply calling BoatUS’ 24-hour nationwide dispatch (800-391-4869) if there is a breakdown.
  5. Renters need to ask about any other costs or fees, including fuel or other charges like pump-outs. They should also clarify with the owner what happens if the boat breaks down and becomes unusable.
  6. Boat owners have the full right to say “no” to a renter, starting with an initial phone call. BoatUS member Bob Kellet, who has successfully rented his 30-foot sailboat, says owners are in full control of the process, from pricing to vetting renters. After speaking to a potential renter on the phone, if he’s comfortable, Kellet will meet at his boat for a full run-through. He may even take the renter out for a few minutes to show how everything works.
  7. Kellet also suggests having a detailed instruction guide for the boat’s equipment and a step-by-step guide for things like starting the engine. Be sure to include safety gear.
  8. Having a walk-through, pre-rental checklist is good for both parties, as is taking a few date-stamped photos showing the condition of the vessel.
  9. While there is a certain element of trust, owner and renter reviews tend to weed out bad apples quickly, so be sure to check the renter’s history or the owner’s reviews from past renters. “Reviews are the best indicator of whether there will be a positive rental experience,” says BoatUS Consumer Affairs Director Charles Fort, who adds, “These services may also help those looking to buy a certain boat to try it out, if you will, before they purchase.”
  10. One man’s experience: BoatUS Member Kellet said he was apprehensive the first few times he rented his sailboat to a stranger, but after a couple rentals he realized the renters cared about his boat, too, and they were there for the same reason: a love of the water and boating. A couple rentals a month easily pays his Seattle, Washington, area moorage fees. The only downside Kellet reports are scheduling conflicts when he’d like to use the boat himself.

Tags: Belle Haven Marina, Learn to Sail, boating, boating, Potomac River, boating safety, Boat US, Mariner Sailing School, Safety

PRSA Spring Regatta

Posted by George Stevens on Thu, Feb 19, 2015 @ 07:30 PM

PRSA Spring Regatta

Saturday and Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend
Potomac River Sailing Association
Washington Sailing Marina, Alexandria VA

The 2015 PRSA Spring Regatta will be held on May 23-24, 2015.  We will be updating this page continually as the regatta approaches.

Questions? Contact Regatta Chair Lisa-Marie Lane!

See the Who’s Coming List
Add your name to the Who’s Coming List

Please add your name to the Who’s Coming form to let us know that you are thinking of coming and to help us generate momentum for the regatta.  About one month before the regatta, we will open up the on-line pre-registration and pre-payment form to save you time and money on the day of the event.

Past Results


1.1 These races will be governed by the “rules” as defined in the Racing Rules of Sailing.

2.1 All boats in one-design classes 20’ or under are invited to participate.  Classes of 5 or more boats will be started separately.  Classes of fewer than 5 boats may be combined with another class.
2.2 All competitors must complete an entry form and pay an entry fee to the Potomac River Sailing Association at registration on May 26.

Lower course classes (1 day of racing)
All (e.g. Laser and Penguin) $25

Upper course classes (2 days of racing)
1-person boat (e.g. Isotop) $30
2-person boat (e.g. Hobie 16, Buccaneer, Albacore) $35
3-person boat (e.g. Lightning) $45

These fees include a BBQ on Saturday and light appetizers after racing on Sunday that are provided by the Potomac River Sailing Association.

Lower course classes — as many races as conditions and time allow
1030-1100 Registration
1100 Skipper’s meeting
1200 First warning signal on the lower course; consecutive races follow
BBQ as soon as possible after the races

Upper course classes — as many races as conditions and time allow
0915-1000 Registration
1000 Skipper’s meeting
1130 First warning signal on the upper course; consecutive races follow
BBQ as soon as possible after the races

1130 First warning signal; consecutive races follow.
1500 No race is to be started after this time.
Immediately following: Awards and light appetizers

Sailing instructions will be posted online prior to the regatta and will be available at the registration table on Saturday.

2014 Sailing Instructions (for reference; 2015 SIs will be posted prior to the regatta):
Upper Course Sailing Instructions
Upper Course Course Flags
Lower Course Sailing Instructions

6.1 The Washington Sailing Marina is located just off of the George Washington Parkway about 1.5 miles south of Reagan National Airport and a similar distance north of Old Town Alexandria.  The street address for Internet directions is 1 Marina Drive, Alexandria, Virginia 22314.

6.2 Marina Entry: Participants bringing boats from outside the marina on Saturday morning simply need to tell the guard at the gate that they are sailing in the regatta, and fill in a sign-in sheet. Payment of marina entrance/launch/storage fees at the gate is not required. PRSA will cover the cost of these fees for visiting boats for two launches (Saturday and Sunday) and up to two overnight stays (e.g. Fri-Sat and Sat-Sun).  Be sure to indicate on the sign-in sheet the days that you will be sailing and the nights that you will be leaving your boat at the marina.

6.3 Courses
6.3.1 Upper Course: Classes scheduled to sail for 2 days (e.g. Catamarans, Lightnings, Buccaneers, Albacores) will sail off of Haines Point (with the Capitol and monuments as a backdrop).

6.3.2 Lower course: Classes scheduled to sail for 1 day (e.g. Lasers, Penguins, El Toros) will either sail in the cove or off of the power plant south of the cove and only a short distance from the docks.

7.1 One race is required to be completed to constitute a regatta.
7.2 If 5 or fewer races are completed, a boat’s series score will be the total of her race scores. This changes RRS A2. If 6 races or more are completed, a boat’s series score will be the total of her race scores excluding her worst score.

8.1 Awards will be given to each member of the winning crews.  The depth of awards will be based on the expected number of participants in each class: the first whole number less than half the number of the estimated number of participants up to a maximum of five. The estimate is based on participation in the previous year or as provided by a fleet representative to the regatta chair in time for the awards to be ordered.
8.2 The Len Penso award will be conferred on the skipper age 50 and over who beats the most boats in his or her class.
8.3 The Katherine Hearst award will be conferred on the woman who beats the most boats in her class.

Regatta Chair – Lisa-Marie Lane (