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Recent Reviews

Stephanie S.


I would recommend the Mariner Sailing School to anyone who wants to learn to sail, or needs a refresher course.

Mariner Sailing School is located at the Belle Haven Marina, which is just south of Old Town Alexandria. It's very convenient for those who live/work in Old Town or SE Fairfax County. There's plenty of parking.

I took the adult basic course taught by Allen. He was knowledgeable, friendly, and patient and when I "graduated", I felt very confident of my abilities.

One of the best things about Mariner Sailing School (besides its location) is you get a free week of practice sailing, and after that rentals are half price during the week. That's a really reasonable price for sailboat rentals in the area.

Brahma K.

Alexandria, VA


If you're looking for a place near DC to learn sailing, look no further! I did quite a bit of looking around and settled on this place and after taking their 2 day weekend class and am completely satisfied. My instructor, Brian, was very nice and was able to cram as much as possible into the sessions. They typically have just 2 students per boat, which is better than most schools. This means you get a lot more hands-on time. They use 19' Flying Scots which are easy enough to sail solo. I was able to do so myself after the class. Another great benefit is the free sailing time (1 week = 14 hours) after your course that other schools don't seem to offer. Make sure you make good use of this. Yet another great benefit is the lifetime half off weekday rentals you get when you do their course. The waters of the Potomac here offer a good mix of all typical sailing conditions. During our class we were lucky enough to have perfect conditions the first morning, followed by dying winds in the afternoon, which forced us to get every bit out of the sails. The morning of the second day brought strong winds which allowed for great practice. That afternoon brought even stronger winds which required taking the jib sail down and sailing with a reefed main sail, which was a fun experience too. When I went back for my free sailing time (albeit 2 weeks after my class, mind you), the staff was very friendly and let me sail solo without any questions. To my own surprise, I am doing very well - haven't given them a reason to come bail me out while in the water. I was also able to dock perfectly. All perhaps good attestations to the quality of their instruction. There is enough room to keep tacking without having to worry about running into other boats. At the same time, you do encounter canoes, kayaks, power boats (going up and down the channel on the Maryland side), etc., so you can practice avoiding them too, if you wish. Overall, a great place to start sailing and fine tune your skills.

A Google User reviewed 2 months ago

Overall 3 / 3
This marina is fantastic, one of the last places on the river with some real local charm. It is well run and manned by a very helpful group of people. They will keep in the loop on weather and other maritime info. The rental kayaks are great for a quiet tool around the marsh. The sailing school based here is full of good instructors with small classes and great kid's program. Good ramp for launching boats from a trailer for fishing, hunting or general water use.
Megan ‎ - Mar 8, 2012
Learn and have fun! Both of my sons learned to sail at the Mariner Sailing School's summer program. They loved the cool instructors and the "no worries" feel of the marina. The program does a nice job of mixing the fundamentals of sailing with simply having fun on the water. I had confidence that they were safe and it was clear that they learned quite a bit. They went back for two summer programs because it was fun and gave them a sense of accomplishment. 
David ‎ - Aug 11, 2011
Perfect place to learn how to sail. Very laid back atmosphere and great instructors. 
I learned to sail here. The rental fleet is well-maintained. It's quieter and more laid back than some of the bigger marinas in the DC area. The water in this section of the river is a good size for smaller sailboats with a few surprises here and there. 
Gordon ‎ - May 31, 2010
Great marina, great people I had an excellent experience when taking the adult sailing class they offer. The staff was friendly and helpful, and the instructor was competent and patient. I learned a whole lot, and I know that if I have any questions when I go back, they'll be happy to help out and answer them. 
Cousin Vinny ‎ - Jun 14, 2009
Fantastic! Definitely do this! The boats are modern and safe, and renting is very straightforward. They have even pulled us in for free when the wind died out completely on us! Scenery isn't the greatest when it comes to sailing, but they can't do anything about that. Don't go too soon after a rain or the Potomac will not look very pretty with lots of floating debris. Also check the wind out before you go! 

If you want to learn how to sail, check out this local marina, hidden away just south of Alexandria, conveniently located right off the GW parkway.  They have a variety of programs for adults and kids, with Flying Scot, sunfish & canoe/kayak rentals.   It's not as geared towards racing as Wash.Sailing marina, but the surroundings are nicer and the water doesn't smell like jet fuel.  I learned pretty much everything during the 2-day weekend course.  One week of free practice time is included.   It's a treat to head out on the river on warm spring days when the the breeze blows up from Ft. Washington and all you hear is the slap of waves against the boat.

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